Swimming Lessons: What to Expect

This is the last post in a series about everything you’ve ever wanted to know about swimming. I have to say, I’m feeling rather well versed in all things aquatic, for that’s where we’ve been spending most of our free time this month. Here are the last few questions I asked Javier Urias, Aquatics Director at the Ft. Benjamin Harrison YMCA.

What to Expect from Your Child’s First Set of Swim Lessons: When I asked Javier about what to expect during your child’s first set of swim lesssons, he told me the #1 thing they will focus on is the bob. As in, bobbing up and down in the water.

Bobs! We always start with bobs in the water. A bob is when you submerge your face in the water and blow bubbles. This is such an importance skill to learn and is the foundation of swimming. If a child can put their face in the water and feels comfortable with water getting in their face, ears and is relaxed then this opens up the opportunity for you to start teaching them to float. Once we are able to teach a child to float on their stomach and back then we are in business! Swimming is nothing more that pushing your floating body through the water. Bobs, floating and basic water orientation are the goals for a child in their first ever swim lessons.
In hindsight, the next question  I asked is like the question I was asked the most when I was teaching, just substitute the word “reading” for “swimming” — When Will My Child REALLY Be Swimming? Just as I always diplomatically answered that question, Javier responded:

It really depends on the child and the frequency of lessons. I’ve trained 4 year old kids to swim in kid triathlons! I try to tell parents all the time to think about swimming the same way you think about teaching your child to walk. I always say, “you don’t teach your child to walk in 7, 30min sessions” the more you send your child to swim lessons the faster they will learn. The more they take lessons the more refined their strokes become.

MaM has really improved her swimming technique during her three week session at the Ft. Ben YMCA. She’s learned the names of several swimming terms, she’s learned how to tread water efficiently, and she’s been introduced to three swimming strokes. I have a feeling she’ll be swimming laps in no time.

It’s not too late to swim this summer! There are still classes forming at YMCAs around town! Check out the list of Youth Swim classes (hit the back button for different age groups) and sign up for some end of summer fun!

Thanks again to Javier for answering all of my questions, to Brian at the Ft. Ben Y for teaching MaM this summer, and the Greater YMCA of Indianapolis for sponsoring this series. It’s been fun reporting on this classic summer activity!