Bonita Springs — Water. We flock to it, especially here in Southwest Florida where we have beautiful beaches and ready access to swimming pools at our homes and in our communities. But for those with small children, water can be frightening.
When we bought our house, with a pool, the first thing we did was to install an industrial pool fence with out-of-reach latches to keep our then 2-year-old daughter out.
We kept her wrapped up in lifejackets and water wings whenever we were near water. And after watching that episode of Oprah on dry drowning, we watched her with eagle eyes anytime she got water into her mouth.
But, with our work schedules and summer travel schedule, we had only done the most basic swim lessons when she was a baby.
This spring we decided to give the swim lessons at the Bonita Community Pool a try. My husband and daughter set out for the Community Pool not knowing what to expect. We had just been in t-ball and it wasn’t going well. She wouldn’t ride her bike. You see how this is going.
When they returned home, my husband said to me, “you have to see this.”
We went out to the pool and our daughter went under water and swam all the way across the pool. I was in shock. All of this time I had been fearful of her falling into the pool, instantly sinking when her water wings were removed and had played a million scenarios in my mind that all involved the dangers of the pool.
So now, I was amazed.
Each week we went to lessons, and each week she excelled. When June came, we began going four times each week. After each lesson our daughter came home and practiced her new skills ranging from diving for objects to the backstroke. Is it strange that I’m amazed at a 4-year-old doing the backstroke?
I love going to the Community Pool and watching her interact with her teachers, first Bill Wood and then Jesse Felger. As I watch the different classes, all of the instructors are so talented and the kids adore them. They laugh and joke, while teaching the fundamentals of swimming and building skills that prepare them for a life-long love of the water. I know they have made a huge impact on her, not only because of her swimming skills, but because she is talking about becoming a swimming teacher when she grows up. She’s never seemed interested in jobs that grownups do before this.
The class is so good, that the first time I went to pay the bill, I thought there had been a mistake. The 8-session class was only $35. It wasn’t a mistake. That is the cost. So we register for each session and begin our days at the pool. The sessions run all summer with two more sessions in July. It’s fun to watch the mix of kids, ranging from infant and up, and to see how their skills grow with each session.