My First Year At Floaties Swim School

Avalon was born on the first day of Spring, 2012. Since we live in coastal San Diego, own a boat, and are generally around water year-round, I was naturally worried about how this new little person would fit into our lifestyle, that seems to involve water on a regular basis. We spent her first summer at beaches and pools, trying to introduce her to water in a calm and nurturing environment. In early Fall, Avalon was beginning to crawl and pull herself up. We knew it wouldn’t be long before she was mobile. Among lots of other things, we worried about how to keep our daughter safe around the water. A friend had her 6-month old enrolled in ISR (Infant Swimming Resource), a program that teaches infants as young as 6 months to “rescue” themselves if they were to ever fall in to a pool, lake, pond, etc. After watching an amazing video, I was enthralled. Amazing! Incredible! My first thought was, “How do I get Avalon in that program?” My second thought was, “Wait, those kids aren’t swimming.” After some research, I learned that ISR does not actually teach the basics of swimming, at least not at this early age. Infants learn how to float on their backs until someone can retrieve them from the water. A valuable and life-saving skill? Absolutely! But I had a nagging something in the back of my mind.

Enter Floaties Swim School

I went to observe at the Eastlake location and meet owner Karyn and manager Rachel. I expressed my sense of awe regarding ISR, and sheepishly admitted that it seemed pretty drastic. Throwing 6-month olds into a pool, fully clothed, and expecting them to float seemed like it might be scary and traumatizing, both for the kids and the parents! Karyn and Rachel explained that the instructors at Floaties utilize some of the same techniques, but in a calmer setting. Not that the pool at Floaties isn’t hectic! They also assured me that Avalon would begin to learn the basics of swimming and water safety, at a pace that she set herself. She would be in a class with other babies and toddlers at various skill levels, and the instructor would tailor the instruction to her. I related my desire to have Avalon be comfortable with the water for the following summer. Karyn and Rachel explained the Floaties philosophy that swimming is year-round sport and in fact applauded our wanting to get started when we did.

Avalon’s First Lesson

We started swim lessons with Mr. Mike on November 6, 2012. Avalon was 7 ½ months old. She was a little fish almost immediately. It was so amazing to watch her glide through the water! After about 6 months of lessons twice a week, she didn’t need us in the pool with her any more. A relief in some ways for me…it felt a bit like High School swim team with the showering and the changing and the wet hair! But my husband loved getting in with her, and still does every so often. It is their special time together.

This year, we have taken two trips, one to Playa del Carmen, Mexico and one to Hawaii. We spent Avalon’s second summer either at the beach or the pool and there has not been a single time that she was afraid. Even when the surf is big, or she’s been knocked down by a wave, she just gets right back up. At 20 months, she’s so comfortable around water that she doesn’t realize she can’t actually swim quite yet. I’m sure by next Spring/Summer this will change!

Avalon at Baby Beach Kauai

It’s been just over one year since Avalon started swim lessons at Floaties. She is now pushing off the wall, propelling herself through the water using her “Polar Bear arms” and can make it nearly the whole width of the pool holding her breath. Mr. Tim is her instructor now, whom she loves. We could not be happier with our choice to enroll our daughter in swim lessons at Floaties. We have chosen to continue twice a week, and minus a few weeks off here and there, we’ve been able to be consistent.

Thank you to Karyn, Mike, and the whole Floaties staff for the encouragement and support you’ve shown Avalon. A super-shout-out to Mr. Tim, who doesn’t put up with toddler shenanigans, and is loving and supportive too!

~The Mejia Family