I have a budding swimmer on my hands! Henry has been taking swim lessons since early Fall and he immediately took to them like, well a fish to water. Something just clicked this time.
Today he swam about 1/4 of the way across the pool and back without his flotation belt on. No doggy paddling, face in the water, holding his breath the whole way, kicking his legs (relatively straight) and doing straight arm circles. I looked up from coloring with Silas and almost couldn't believe what i was seeing.
He has so much fun that when he's not doing something one-on-one with the teacher he's jumping up and down, doing happy faces, blowing bubbles and generally giddy. Contrast this with two years ago when admittedly his lips were blue, but the lessons actually turned him off the water for awhile. We cut that class short and just enjoyed splashing in the baby pool and spending time at Gran and Nonna's beach. Last fall he took lessons at a highly recommended place. Henry enjoyed them and they did great at getting him happy about swimming again. But the teacher was so gentle that the kid was going to be 30 before he learned that real swimming happens (eventually) without a floatie.
Enter the Chicago Park District. Cheap, no frills, but Koz Park was recommended by another parent friend. The pool and facilities are clean and well-kept and the teachers are really, really good. Fun and good with the kids but also really working on the fundamentals with the kids-- and each at their own level. Swim team is right before his lessons and i asked at the end of class what the requirements for swim team are. The teacher told me they have to be 5 and able to swim the length of the pool on their own. Henry is focused on meeting that goal (before he's 6!) I think i can get away with taking some pictures there (it's a little more relaxed than the uber-strict pool we go to in the summer) so i'll try to capture his little swimming self as soon as possible. But i'm one proud mama (and papa will be as well as soon as he gets home to hear the story!)