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January 6, 2009

Can You Swim?

When I was a kid, the school I attended had a swimming pool and each summer we had swimming lessons as part of our school day. I can swim. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but if I fell into water, I’d have a good chance of saving myself because of those lessons. These days, the education dollar doesn’t stretch as far, and schools have closed their swimming pools, doing away with swimming lessons. Each year the number of children who drown seems to be higher. Officials seem to think there’s a direct connection between the two, and many parents don’t or can’t afford to teach their children to swim.

I’m curious about how things happen in other countries. Can you swim? How did you learn? Can your children swim? If so, how did they learn?


  1. Wylie Kinson

    Hey Shelley – Another great topic! You’re so good at this :)

    I learned to swim so young that I don’t even remember NOT being able to swim. We had a cottage on a lake and I was told an aunt taught me. But i do remember taking swimming lessons at the local YMCA for many years – even ended up getting my Bronze Medallion as a teen.
    We didn’t have a swimming program at school, but I believe it should be part of the curriculum. That would be a very good use of education dollars! There are a few drownings around the Toronto area every year – and it’s almost always a terrible tradegy that involves a child non-swimmer.

  2. Jennifer Shirk

    I can swim. My mom cannot, so she made sure all her kids learned. My mom signed me up for swim lessons at a lake then we got our own pool.
    I enrolled my own child in swim lessons when she turned four. Now she can qualify for the town swim team. :mrgreen:

  3. Crystal-Rain Love

    I’m quite a bit hydrophobic so no, I don’t know how. If I even do get in a pool, it’s the hotel’s kiddie pool with the kids while on vacation or the hot tub ( – :

    If I move away from a pool edge, I panic.

    It makes me nervous to no end to even see my kids near a pool but I would like for them to know how to swim.

    My children’s school offers them a field trip for swimming lessons in second grade but I don’t allow mine to go. I’m sorry, but I’ve been on the field trips before and have seen when they’ve nearly LOST children and would have had I not been there. I’m not sending my child off to learn how to swim with 70 other kids, 2 instructors, 3 teachers and parent volunteers. That’s a too many kids to adults ratio in my opinion.

    I’ll take mine to the YMCA and let them learn one-on-one with an instructer.

  4. Leah Braemel

    I was given swimming lessons when I was about 8. I hated it because you had to put your face under water and open your eyes and the pool was heavily chorinated. I can’t say I learned to swim but I know about a half dozen different types of floats.

    I put my eldest son in swimming lessons, but I wouldn’t say he’s a strong swimmer. (There’s about one month of the year where the water’s warm enough to swim up here, (or at least for my tastes) so most swimming is done in a pool rather than the lakes.) But if he swims in chlorinated water he comes out looking like a racoon with big black circles under his eyes.

    I couldn’t put my youngest in swimming lessons because he had tubes in his ears and we weren’t supposed to let his head get wet (real fun when washing his hair). And there was no way in heck he’d let us put ear plugs in him. He’s not a swimmer and wouldn’t be safe.

    So whenever we’re around water, even though everyone’s full grown, it’s life jackets for all.

  5. Shelley Munro

    My SIL doesn’t swim and since her husband is a keen boatie and fisherman she spends most holidays out on the water. She wears a life jacket most of the time.

    I think the problem is worse here in NZ because we are a small country, surrounded by the sea. No matter where we live it’s not far to go to get to the sea or a river or lake. Our West Coast beaches are very rough and have constant rips. They are patrolled by Life Guards but it’s easy to drift out of the flags or patrolled area if you’re not careful.

    Crystal – One on one with an instructor sounds good to me. We have huge classes here. We did when we were kids, too.

    Leah – I used to hate putting my head under the water. That’s the worst thing about swimming pools, but I guess they need some way of killing bugs. When you think about it, a swimming pool has the potential to house a lot of yucky bugs. I try not to think about it too hard!

    Wylie – hello little fish. :grin:
    Jennifer – you sound like a fish, too. :mrgreen:

  6. Karen Erickson

    I can swim. I had lessons when I was young but not at school. My children can swim too. My oldest learned from us, my daughter I took her to lessons when she was 18 months old and then what I learned at the lessons I taught our youngest.

    We have a pool so my kids are in it every summer all summer long. LOL My two older children could fall in a body of water and swim out no problem. My youngest who is 4, I’d worry about a little but after this summer, he’ll be fine I’m sure.

    Drowning is so scary. Our pool is gated and when the lock started to fail in latching, we put a combo lock on it. We don’t take any chances.

  7. Shelli Stevens

    I can swim. But took swimming lessons. My daughter, 5, cannot yet. She’s taken one lesson. But I’ve pulled her out for now since it’s so expensive and there’s a lot of levels she’ll have to go through.

  8. Amy Ruttan

    They were never part of the curriculum here. My parents paid for swimming lessons. I didn’t go to lifeguard or anything, I know enough to survive, but I’m not a strong swimmer.

    I just like to float in a pool.

    I’m paying for my two kids to learn to swim. I want them to know. Boo is loving it, she wants to be a lifeguard. Sumo … not so much. His first swimming lesson entailed him clinging to my head.

    It’s very expensive. $50 a session per kid, luckily I can claim it on my taxes. The Canadian government allots $500 per child for a Fitness tax, so parents can claim any fitness programs that they put their children in. It’s the countries answer to fight obesity, which is unfortunately becoming more commonplace.

  9. Lilly Cain

    I swim about as well as a rock. :cry: Several people tried to teach me, and I did try classes – no go.

    With that in mind I have signed up my two daughters to attend classes her in Nova Scotia, Canada. My eldest asked recently how long she would have to take lessons (sadly she is repeating her level for the third time, much like her mother). I told her until she had completed every level. She said Hmmm…


  10. Gabriele

    I’m part selkie, I always could swim. Or at least I can’ t remember having learned it. :grin: I’m the one the life guard had to pick out of the Baltic Sea not because I can’t swim but because I swam out too far and didn’t heed the warning red balls for rough sea – the current was busy getting me to Danmark. I wasn’t even afraid, somehow I knew if I didn’t fight the current and the waves but went with it, they would get me in time. I think I was the only ‘victim’ who grinned at them and said, ‘thank you, but really, it was fun.’ :mrgreen:

  11. pussreboots

    I can swim. My parents taught me and I also took lessons to improve my techniques. Then in jr. high we had a swimming test requirement as part of our graduation.

    My oldest can swim. I enrolled him in lessons this past summer because I hadn’t had much luck teaching him myself. My youngest will be enrolled this coming summer if she’s potty trained. If not, then it will be in 2010.

  12. Marissa Alwin

    I live in a lake community and spend alot of my time at the Jersey shore. So knowing how to handle still waters as well as tides was a must. Our lake offers swim lessons. I took them and now my kids do. We are summer water rats.

  13. Dayanna

    I cannot swim at all. It seems when i was very little i had a bit of an accident while at the ocean with my parents….yeah i do not recall it at all…but my mom remembers. Anyway although i love the ocean i can never go any further than where i can see the bottom, otherwise i just freak out. I tried taking lessons a couple times in a pool, but did not work since i kept panicking when i got to the “adult” section. I blame my parents for not paying close attention on that incident.

  14. Jenyfer Matthews

    I can swim – I took lessons at the YMCA when I was 6 and it was easy to learn because I loved the water. None of the schools I ever attended had pools or swimming as part of the curriculum. I’m not going to claim to be a great swimmer today – I could save myself and swim a short distance but that’s about it.

    My own children taught themselves how to swim just by going to the pool so frequently – what else are you going to do in the summer when you live in the desert?? The school they attend has an indoor pool and weekly lessons. They are great swimmers. My 8 year old daughter just brought home a certificate saying she had achieved 900m in a continuous swim. It still boggles my mind she could swim so far – maybe she could save me! ;)

  15. Amy W.

    Let’s see… yes, I can swim. My mom was a pool manager when I was born so I was in the pool as soon as the doctor said it was ok. I joined the swim team at age 4. I was a lifeguard and a swim coach in the past. My Emma who’s now 4 is a fish as well. SHe’s been in the pool for lessons every summer since she was 6 months old. Her technique isn’t great yet but she can really move through that water. Our local city pool offers very affordable lessons for $20 for ten lessons and also offers a 2 week free session to all the second graders at the public schools. It’s not great but it’s better than nothing.
    -Amy the Fish