Ever since I was a little girl, swimming was always something that was part of my weekly, and then eventually, almost daily routine. My own Mum used to take me to mother and baby swimming classes, before enrolling me into a local swim school, where I became quite the little fish and enjoyed earning my distance and grading badges, before going to compete for both my school and a swimming club.
I enjoyed swimming so much, and by the time I was about 10, I was probably swimming about 4 or 5 days a week, whether it was on a weekend, during school (our school was lucky enough to have its own swimming pool) or after school, so it never crossed my mind that when I had children of my own that they wouldn’t start their own swimming journey.
When Freddie arrived, followed 15 months later by Sasha, I was keen to take them to use the baby pool at my local gym (aided by Adam or my mother in law, it’s hard to juggle two small children!), and get them used to the water and to do what my Mum did with me. Both Adam and I always said that swimming is one activity that our children MUST do, as we both think it’s such an important life skill, and of course being able to swim can literally save your life in any number of situations. So it’s always been really important to us that our children enjoy it.
As a parent you want to enjoy taking your children too, and I can’t be alone in finding swimming one of the activities that the children participate in that can be, er, more ‘challenging’ at times (hands up who finds coordinating more than one child’s swimming lesson, showering, drying etc at a time quite stressful!). Booking their swimming lessons one after the other and having them on a weekend morning so Adam is there too, has helped a lot with making things easier for us (especially with having a new baby in tow soon), as well as finding a lovely, clean pool with great facilities. I’m ALL about the adjoining cafe, haha! This has meant that Adam and I really look forward to watching them both swim first thing on a Saturday morning, and it really sets us up for the weekend.
When Swim England approached our family, asking us to work with them over the coming year, I pretty much bit their hand off! Swim England is the national governing body for swimming in England. They help people learn how to swim, enjoy the water safely, and compete in all water sports. They want to get the nation swimming, and they strive to inspire everyone to enjoy the water in the way that suits them, and remain active, have fun, and stay healthy through swimming. There is SO much I could say and have already chatted to them about when it comes to our own swimming experiences so far- what’s great, what’s not so great, the barriers when it comes to family swimming, and also why, despite some of the negatives, we still believe that swimming is a brilliant, essential and fun activity to do. We’re also excited (all going well) to start our new baby boy swimming from an early age to get him used to the water, so we can wait to get him involved.
What I’d love to know from readers is your experiences of children’s swimming so far. Do your kids have lessons? What do they/you like about them? What do you dislike about the whole swimming experience? Is there anything that could improve time spent at the pool and the whole swimming ‘journey’?
What do you think? I’d love to hear your views, and you’ll be able to follow our family’s swimming progress throughout the course of the year, both here on the blog and over on YouTube!
*In collaboration with Swim England who we’ll be working with over the coming year, all thoughts and opinions as a swimming mum my own!