First in a Series: Kids Swimming Lessons
“Lessons were all about making the babies and the parents comfortable by playing games, gentle splashing, and getting used to being immersed in the water. We learned about water safety and how to safely play with our child in the water.” —Haydee Lopez, Chicago, IL
Inspired by Her Own Inexperience
Like many adults, Haydee Lopez of Chicago never learned to swim as a child. In fact, swimming was a pastime she never really tried until she was married.
“My husband and I were horribly embarrassed being adults and never having had any swim lessons,” Haydee says. “When we got married, we both wanted to learn, so we joined Chicago Blue Dolphins for swim lessons. We liked the personal attention the coaches provided. When we met Coach Fitz, we had great interaction, and he made us feel very comfortable in the water. We both took lessons for several years and now love being in the water.”
So when it came to her son, she knew she wanted him to learn to swim early on.
Baby Swim Lessons Become a Family Affair
Haydee enrolled Eneko, who is now 6 years old, in our Infant-Toddler Swim Classes when he was 6 months old. These group classes are designed for parents to participate with their children between the ages of six months and 4 years. Parents and children bond and learn together in the water, and parents learn techniques to keep their children safe. At the age of 4, the kids are old enough to advance to preschool-level swim classes, and their parents are no longer in the water with them.
Having been a Chicago Blue Dolphins swimming success story, Haydee trusted the approach, the coaches and the environment. She also found that she preferred the limited class size and smaller pool size for parent and baby swimmers. “Some of the other places that I visited had large pools and loads of families and noise,” Haydee explains. “I thought that was very distracting. The smaller group and personal attention [at CBD] really stood out.”
Eneko Takes To the Water
Haydee had no idea how Eneko would react to the water or the coaches. She only knew she didn’t want him to go through the first half of his life not knowing how to swim. She was pleasantly surprised when he immediately took to the coach and to the water during their first lesson together .
“I was always afraid of getting water on Eneko’s face,” she says. “The coaches did not force floating or immersing the children in the water. At first, it was just a lot of play and mild splashing to acclimate us both. Eventually, the coach would take the kids and glide them in the pool for comfort and get them used to being immersed in the water. When he got water on his face, he was fine.”
Family Swim, A Favorite Pastime
Today, Eneko continues with lessons and has advanced to the Intermediate 1 level class, where he learns freestyle, breaststroke and the dolphin kick. He has a sense of confidence in the water that Haydee never had as a child. “My husband and I always wanted Eneko to be a strong swimmer,” she says. “The coaches work with him on strokes and exercises to build endurance. They are extremely kind and patient.”
Swimming is now a favorite family pastime. “We love going to the beach as a family and being in the water,” Haydee says, with a sense of newfound pride. “Eneko works hard on his lessons, even at the beach. Watching him reminds me to practice as well. We are learning and gaining confidence together.”