My son Sam is 4 years old and is very much a beginner swimmer. We introduced Sam to the water at an early age (approximately 7 months old) but last Summer we saw the greatest progress from Sam with the introduction of a bright Neon Lime green SwimFin! Sam was very excited to try out the SwimFin but was also very used to myself or his Daddy being close to him in the water. On his first SwimFin outing, I slowly lowered him into the water and held him close to me as we swirled around in the water, getting used to the temperature and the feel of the SwimFin. Sam would not let go of me however, was very comfortable. I kept my voice very happy and encouraging and watched for his cues that he was getting tired and/or cold. We kept the first session short enough to not wear him out but it was definitely enough to whet his appetite for more.
Each subsequent swimming session, we repeated the same steps, focusing on positive chatter, lots of eye contact, connecting physically and allowing Sam to feel the SwimFin supporting him in the water. SwimFin is different to other swimming aids primarily in the way the child sits in the water. Swimming aids like arm bands, vests or swim rings support your child on top of the water. SwimFin allows your child to sit in the water in a proper upright swimming position. Your child’s chin will rest on top of the water and their arms and legs will be free to move, kick, paddle and splash which allows them a real sense of freedom. Sitting in the water in this way can, initally, be a little unsettling which is why it is important to hold your child and show them how the SwimFin will support them while you are right there. As your child grows to appreciate how the SwimFin will keep them safe and supported, they will relax and begin swimming. For Sam, that happened on swimming session 3 and 4. As he let go of me on our fourth swimming session, the smile on his face was brilliant! Off Sam went!
Last Summer we used our SwimFin exclusively to allow Sam to grow in confidence in the water. Sam was able to paddle about independently, always immediately supervised by adults. He had fun and grew braver over the course of the Summer. Ideally, we should have enrolled Sam in formal swimming lessons last Autumn to capitalise on that confidence, but if you’re a parent, you know that life sometimes gets in the way. Instead, we have just this Summer enrolled Sam in formal swimming lessons at a local leisure centre. Sam’s swimming instructors/school do not use SwimFin (unfortunately) as a part of their instruction so Sam is learning at the Stage 1 level and is gradually becoming more comfortable with the idea of swimming “like the big kids”. We will continue using SwimFin in our outdoor swimming sessions with Sam as a complement to his lessons and see how he progresses. We will share this with you in periodic videos and posts. Here is Sam’s first SwimFin swim of the Summer!