Oliver Learns to Swim

Learning to swim is one of my earliest memories. I can’t even remember where it was, but I remember going with Mike to an outdoor pool somewhere in Burlington — must have been the early 1970s — to take swimming lessons. “Motor boat, motor boat, moves so slow…”

Tonight Oliver went to his first night of swimming lessons, so another torch has passed to the next generation.

The CARI Pool uses the new Red Cross set of programs; in this regime, Oliver ends up a sea turtle: “3 years of age or older, and just starting out, previous lessons not necessary.”

There are two other kids in Oliver’s group, both a little younger but somewhat more “put my face in the water” comfortable, so it all seems to balance out. Tonight’s session contained a lot of “aimless wandering down the pool” activity by Oliver, but then again it was “assess their skills” night, and the mere fact that he was in the water and not clutching on to Catherine or I for dear life was a big achievement.

On first blush Oliver appears to have a “relaxed hep cat” approach to in-water movement; imagine Joe Camel, but in the water.

The biggest shock of the evening came when I realized that my presence was not, in fact, required and that I was to retire to the sidelines to watch the lesson play out. First of many, many hours on the sidelines, I imagine.

We’re back in the water on Thursday. Or at least Oliver is.


Peter's dad's picture
Peter's dad on November 2, 2005 - 05:54 Permalink

Peter went swimming for the first time on July 22, 1967 at Brewer Park in Ottawa. I found a note about this in some work files I was keeping at the time.

Ann's picture
Ann on November 2, 2005 - 16:12 Permalink

Just wait until the point when your presence is not only not required, but actively discouraged. Then you will join the hordes of parents who wander around aimlessly trying to fill up the hour between dropping off and picking up at any number of activities. This is a huge, untapped market — though I’m not sure for what.

oliver's picture
oliver on November 2, 2005 - 16:41 Permalink

This is a huge, untapped market — though I’m not sure for what.

In wildlife biology it’s called predation.

Lori's picture
Lori on November 2, 2005 - 17:18 Permalink

My then 4 yeear old son, Benjamin, refused to get in the water during his first round of swimming lessons, and generally spent time strolling around the perimeter of the pool. He did win points for humour, however, when he responded to my increasingly strident pleas for him to jump in with a sly grin and: “I know, Mommy, you’re mad because these are SWIMMING lessons, not WALKING LESSONS.”

He is 8 now. He can swim. And walk.