Hooray for Mitchie the shark

We took Mitchell to the pool this morning for a bit of a paddle. As an Aussie who’s a pretty good swimmer, I feel it’s my duty to ensure Mitchie learns to swim at a young age. Water safety is vital, and swimming is so much a part of the Australian way of life that even if we’re in Lebanon I think he should be a bit of a water baby.

Unfortunately however I’ve yet to come across a decent swimming instructor here, so have been teaching him myself as a stop-gap measure (with the assistance of some online teach-the-teacher videos). We go to the pool occasionally, but not as often as I’d like so Mitchell is perhaps not quite as confident in the water as some Aussie kids his age.

Last time we went for a swim he had no dramas putting his head under water without sucking in a lung-full of chlorine, and didn’t cling to me for dear life. Developing the confidence to put his mouth under water has been a bit of a key stage I think.

Today however it was like the little guy was channeling Ian Thorpe. He initially clung to daddy as we did a few laps and practiced kicking at the pool’s edge. Then we popped his swimming vest on and had another go. He’s generally not been that fond of the vest, as it’s getting a bit tight on his fat tummy. But we made him wear it and what a difference it made to his confidence.

With the vest giving him a bit of extra bouyancy he was happy to hang on to a kickboard and kick away without any support from me. (There was another kid in the pool and Mitchell was trying to run him down with the board…). He then tried letting go of the kickboard, and found that with some vigorous kicking and a bit of a dog paddle he could not only tread water, but was able to swim about the pool! Naturally I hovered next to him throughout. We were so stoked that Mitchie’s made this step, and he was sure loving it!

I’m very mindful that he doesn’t get a false sense of confidence near water, and will make sure he also spends time in the water without the vest. One of the best features of this vest is that you can gradually remove the foam inserts so that it becomes progressively less bouyant. Hopefully I’ll be able to get him treading water on his own in no time.

Sadly though there’s no photos – like most pools this one forbids photography, so you’ll have to accept my prose instead!

3 Replies to “Hooray for Mitchie the shark”

  1. What’s the world coming to? In my day we had to wear knitted woolly togs and were chucked in the deep end to sink or swim. It’s why we oldies are so good at the side stroke since we spent early days clutching onto the ballooning trunks for decency sake while attempting to prevent drowning for life. Oh what jolly times.

    Congrats to the little man for his first solo. Grandad will have to take him out in the bay amongst the sharks to test his speed and stamina!

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