14 July, 2006

Aparna had her first swimming lesson today

We have been wanting to get Appu in for swimming lessons. Did not work out last summer. This summer, once school closed for the summer hols, she too has been wanting to learn to swim.

One of my friends sent me the brochure of a swimming class being conducted in a nearby location. She had already checked out the place and told me that it was neat and the pool too very clean. And she had already enrolled her daughter for a three week session.

Day before yesterday, I too went and got Aparna enrolled.

Today was her first day at swimming.

Knowing Appu, I could see all signs of a building excitement and yet, at the same time, the feeling of apprehension that comes when one knows one is getting into something new - something so often seen yet unknown at such close quarters.

Once there, the kids changed into their swimwear and off to the pool.

Their instructor got them to do basic stretch exercises before getting into the pool.

Once in, the instructor first started off by teaching Appu to breathe - breathe - hold your breath - when underwater start exhaling, blowing bubbles through a closed mouth.

He first got her comfortable floating in the water with just her hands (upto her elbows) still on the side of the pool and then slowly moved on to having her whole body floating in the water with just her fingers holding onto the sides of the pool.

Then came the tougher part - breathing - or rather learning to "keep her mouth shut" underwater. First couple of times, she ended up opening her mouth fully underwater (basic reflex reaction) and took in a whole lot of water and was coughing wildly.

Slowly but steadily, he then asked her to dip her nose into the water, then her face. With her face underwater, he was asking her to exhale by blowing bubbles in the water. Then he was actually holding her face in the water while counting upto five.

It was a one hour session and I could see the increasing confidence. Gone was the initial repeated "I can't I can't" that she kept saying to her instructor. Even when he was attending to another child, I could see her voluntarily putting her face underwater and blowing bubbles underneath.

She did that five times in a row without swallowing water and then looked at me (I was sitting in the parents' enclosure by the pool) and there was a wide grin on her face and then she waved and went back to practicing her breathing.

All in all, she enjoyed being in the water and was having a nice time.

Once the session was up, I gave her a shower there and we all got back home.

There were the normal bunch of Appu questions "When am I going to be really good at swimming" "When am I going to be able to swim laps" etc.

The next session is on Monday and she's already looking forward to it.

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