My baby can SWIM!

I’ve mentioned (here & like all the time on Twitter) how we’ve been poolrats this summer. We go at least once a week after work (provided the “funder” doesn’t have other plans) and usually on the weekend, mooching off of my parents’ neighborhood pool or one of the awesome Raleigh city pools that are crazy cheap. (LOVE Ridge Road, $2/per person!) That alone has been awesome time for me and Margo, and some bonus time with my parents!

We did swim lessons with Margo last spring, when she was 15 months old. It was fun for both of us and acclimated me to how and what to teach her, and I think got her comfortable with the water (though she was never, ever scared or fussy about it). I grew up a swimmer, both for fun and competitively so I wanted to share this with my daughter early on. BUT, having been a competitive swimmer, I know the crazies, ok? I know that not all swimmer parents are laid back and “do whatever makes you happy” types (shout out to Missy Franklin’s parents! You rock!) I refuse to let myself be all “living through my kid” or “forcing her to do what I did.”

(Note: My parents were very cool and non-crazy. Just had to put that out there.)

Honestly, when I think of the commitment that year round swimming was, I can’t say I’d be broken hearted if we DIDN’T go down that path. So just to affirm: not forcing swimming on anyone.

This summer, I debated lessons… we were happy with them through the City of Raleigh last year and I was sort of doing a wait and see approach. I browsed the times/days and they all seemed either impossible based on working or, if they were in the evening, like they’d throw off our entire month by wiping out 2 nights a week.

I thought, hell, let’s just see how it goes. I’ve been sort of catalouging skills I want her to have, what might come next as she tries something new and it’s been working out well. I’m not a naturally laid back person, but I think I’ve done pretty well, if I may say so, at letting Margo drive the boat on this. Some days she doesn’t want to jump in, or go under, and I don’t force it. Pool time is fun time, and that’s rule number one of baby-lead swimming lessons.

Jumping in

At the beginning of the summer, she was timid jumping in and she gradually eased into that, and now she’s almost bored with it. Sometimes she jumps in on the noodle (or TWO if she’s in a hilarious mood) and that makes her happy. We were at my friend Cara’s pool and some older kids were running and jumping in and she tried to copy that. Hil.Arious. She would run up to the edge & stop, then say 1-2-3 and jump like normal.

Back floating

She’s recently gotten really good at this. Last night, in the baby pool at Ridge Road, she was doing it all by herself. I think she liked doing it in the shallow water bc she had more control. Often, when we’re floating around she’ll just “bust” into some back floating, as in flail out of my arms without warning and float. So unpredictable.

Getting out

I taught her to hold on to the side of the pool and scootch to the ladder. An important skill! She’s in a very independent stage, and I think being able to do it herself is a confidence boost to her. I rarely hoist her out of the pool, which is a win for my shoulders 🙂

Bubbles/holding breath

We’ve done bubbles since last year’s swim lessons, I think that helped with her “getting” the hold your breath while underwater thing.


The past two months I’ve been trying to do the holding her in a swimming position maneuver that we did in the swim lesson, which she’s in the mood for sometimes and not really other days. I always tell her to pull with her arms and kick hard… the pulling didn’t seem to click. Sometimes we do it with the noodle under her belly, and she can be semi-independent then & a little more bouyant.

Then, this.

Last weekend, she all of the suddent wanted to go underwater and kick. And I think it just clicked for her that moving your arms helps you go farther. The video was the beginning of that pool session… by the end, she swam diagonally across the pool with me walking beside her. She’d go under and swim, and pop her head up when she needed a breath (and me to grab her.) It was amazing, and my friend Amy & I had to drag her out of the pool bc we were tired; she would have stayed & done it again I’m sure!

Now, I will say that we went last night and she didn’t want to swim like that. I take it as it comes. Baby-lead swimming lessons.

So, what’s next? Anyone who HAS done swim lessons with a 2 year old wanna share any skills I should branch out to, or games or anything? I feel like we need to have a primer on the “Respect for the Water” aspect of swimming (ie: it’s all fun when I’m here beside you, but this can get real fast, etc.) I am still debating doing lessons, maybe it’d be a fun winter thing to keep swimming after summer is over and we’re not such poolrats.


2 thoughts on “My baby can SWIM!

  1. My boys were also early swimmers and it was SO EXCITING. A couple of other things you could try:

    * kickboard if she doesn’t want to put her face in the water
    * hanging out on a pool noodle in the deep end
    * more jumping skills
    * diving down for sticks and toys

    We did lessons in winter just to keep the boys comfortable in water, but nothing was ever as helpful as us being in the water with them and keeping it fun.

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