Tuesday, June 24, 2008

God Knew What He Was Doing When He Didn't Make Me a Salmon

Zak and Taryn had their weekly swimming lesson today. We have plans to go to Hawaii for a vacation in December, and we really want them to be fairly comfortable in the water by then. Fortunately one of our neighbors used to swim competitively and teaches kids in the pool at a local health club called Club USA, who graciously allows non-members in for the lessons.

Danelle's a much better swimmer than I am. She had a big in-ground pool at her house growing up and spent a lot of time in it. We had an above-ground pool for a while when I was growing up that was more for just cooling off on a hot summer night than actually swimming. I started wearing glasses in third grade, and since I obviously couldn't wear them in the water I couldn't see very well and that made me sort of uncomfortable. Or I just suck at swimming and my vision makes for a convenient excuse.

I'm proud of both of the kids for their progress so far. Taryn's not doing as much as Zak since she's a couple years younger, but she's still putting her whole face in the water and blowing bubbles, floating on her back and so on. I think her favorite part is soaking in the hot tub. Poor kid slipped on the wet concrete last week and cracked her head pretty good, too. But after a few minutes of TLC she got back in the water and finished her lesson.

Zak's doing actual swimming -- well, he's moving his arms and legs in the water anyway. He's still reluctant to look down at the bottom of the pool when he swims. He wants to pick his face up and try to look ahead as he's swimming, which makes his legs point down to the bottom. Reminds me of me when I was learning, which makes no sense since as I said I couldn't see anyway.

He started jumping in the water today, too. His instructor wanted him to jump in "like a pencil" -- straight up and down -- then bob up, take a breath and swim to her. He thought it seemed like a much better plan to jump out as far as he could towards her. Made sense to me -- less distance to actually swim. So she tried to move him straight to diving, but he was reluctant again to put his chin down and not see where he was going. But his belly-flop technique is pretty solid.

Danelle's been swimming a lot lately as training for her triathlon in August, knocking out a half-mile swim two or three times a week. She challenged me to a race, which seemed like a lose-lose proposition for me considering she's still also rehabbing from her ACL surgery in February. But I did a lap up and back against her in the pool a few weeks ago, and let's just say it's a good thing we didn't go one more length.

One thing I don't get about swimming is all the different strokes. They just seem like someone arbitrarily decided that there needed to be more water events. Seriously, why would anyone ever do the butterfly or breaststroke if they had to swim from Point A to Point B? And the backstroke? Can you imagine a 100-yard dash where everyone was required to run backwards? Then again, I suppose race walking doesn't exactly make much sense either.

Frankly, I'll be happy if Zak and Taryn master the dog paddle in the next few months. I've never been to Hawaii, and I'm not too proud to go as the fourth-best swimmer in the family.

They make adult-size arm floats, right?

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