Re: Swim Lessons

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We are having a ridiculous back-and-forth with a swim instructor that came to us super highly recommended by a good friend.

ogged strikes again!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:11 PM
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On the one hand, that seems like an intolerable combination of driving, laundry, wet towels, and kid-hair washing. On the other hand, Stroke Technique Clinic.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:24 PM
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Swimming Posts TNG


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:24 PM
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Somehow it's the ten minutes that kills me. Wrestle the kid into the bitty swimming suit, get then showered, hair in ponytail, etc, and then you don't even get to browse Unfogged before you have to wrestle the now-wet swimming suit back off the kid?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:27 PM
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Like, I'm not disputing that it's probably an extremely effective method. The emails are just going completely past each other.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:28 PM
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I have no idea if it is effective or not. Whatever we tried didn't work so great so far as having a swimming kid, but at least it didn't suck for us.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:29 PM
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Is this swim instructor the kind who trains people to be competitive swimmers? That price seems to work out to $120/hr.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:32 PM
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We definitely have decided that group lessons haven't taught our kids jack, and that it's time to pony up for private lessons.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:32 PM
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7: I don't think so - she's the PE teacher at the local baptist academy who does this in the summer.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:34 PM
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And how long are the $120 private lesson packages?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:37 PM
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We were about to start private lessons when Mara broke her ankle. Even though it's a water-friendly cast, I know she's not going to be likely to swim in it. But they're signed up to start swim team this summer and I can totally play the diversity card without having to say I'm doing that and know that even though they're a little under-prepared they'll make it. (It also helps that the head coach is a lesbian foster-adoptive mom we know from various training classes and she's very comfortable with emotional special needs and other stuff that otherwise would have made me hesitant to sign them up, especially after Mara's Mini Bartleby act at the Y last summer.) So maybe at this point I'll skip the lessons and just make them get better at team practices.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:38 PM
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Oh! Jammies just reminded me of this part - there's a BUDS sheet, which stands for Bowel, Urine, Diet, & Sleep, which you're supposed to be tracking closely for your kid on the form for the full six weeks. Sure, that sounds like a blast.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:39 PM
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I didn't know they had teams at that age.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:39 PM
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10: 30 minutes, I think.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:40 PM
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13 to me? Mara is 6 and will be going into first grade. Here, that's old enough.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:42 PM
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7: You could think of it as $20/lesson, which seems less nuts.

The rest is completely crazy. What a horrible nuisance. You know someone who did this and seriously recommended it?! Too bad you actually want the kids to swim. I think I'd give up, but I can barely swim now.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:43 PM
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My Cali niece is 7 and does a swim team type thing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:44 PM
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So this is four times more expensive per hour than the other option. Logistics aside, for that price you should get complementary post-swim truffles.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:45 PM
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16: It took me a while to pin my friend down, but I don't think she was subject to the ISR routine. Her kid had lessons at the same age as Hawaii will be, so I'm not sure why we're getting funneled into CrazyLand while she just signed up for lessons.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:45 PM
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15: It was. I don't know anybody doing that with kids that young, but I do see they have it at the pool up the street.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:45 PM
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12: Holy shit. Do you have to quit your job and have an adult monitoring them 24 hours a day, too?


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:48 PM
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They only poop when you walk them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:48 PM
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20: They're not really interested in soccer and it will give them something to do. Nia's a good swimmer and I think it will be really good for her to excel at something and good for Mara to have to challenge herself. I'm not expecting them to set any records or anything, but many of their friends are a year or two older and are on the team, so it's a good social thing and will keep them busy and means we'll only have to pay for half-day daycare, I think.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:51 PM
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So this is four times more expensive per hour than the other option.

Per hour of swimming, yes, but when you factor in drive time, shower time, etc., the rates end up similar.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:51 PM
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21: One of my very least favorite baby books ever has you tracking all sorts of stats about your baby's napping times. Buried in the back of the book is a half-page chapter on "Extenuating circumstances - working moms, [I forget what else - maybe adoption, foster care, serious health issues]" which basically says "If at all possible, maybe you shouldn't do that."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:54 PM
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How do you track that when your kid is fairly self-sufficient as far as toilet habits? Does it affect how well they float or something? Avoids kids peeing in the pool? Perhaps someone should slip some ketamine into this instructor's coffee. For the children.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:54 PM
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23: We're still at the stage where he can't go across the pool by himself.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:54 PM
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I learned to swim at about 3 or 4 and was on a team (anyone could join, there were meets but no tryouts and we all competed as individuals) at 6 or so. I know we had private lessons for my sister and I, and my grandmother (I think) did the ferrying us around and I think was in the pool too during my lesson. Either that or there was a rotation, but my grandmother was retired and lived with us so it makes sense that it would have been her. Mostly I remember being very cold in the water even though the water wasn't cold.

I don't know how long the lessons went. My dad swam in high school and college so I think after a certain point when we could just go in the water we ditched lessons outside of whatever was covered in swim practice.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:55 PM
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How do you track that when your kid is fairly self-sufficient as far as toilet habits?

They never flush.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:55 PM
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26: It makes it seem really weird that she's pushing this Infant Safety Rescue so hard on a five year old.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:56 PM
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29 is the truth. Hawaii, "How did you know I didn't wipe?" We're magic, my darling.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 6:57 PM
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27: So are we with Mara, which technically means she isn't team-eligible, but they have an extra coach who focuses on all those kids individually for the first few weeks and they either quit or learn fast. I'm hoping for the latter.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 7:01 PM
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31: If they go in the pool after, wiping is taken care of.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 7:05 PM
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1 hour practices 5 days/week for both girls (mid/late-May through the end of July) plus weekly meets if they get to the level of being able to compete against other kids their age, plus a family membership at the city pool for the summer is going to be $200.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 7:16 PM
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complementary post-swim truffles

Lightly flavored with chlorine?


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 7:24 PM
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You've become dissatisfied with their progress in group lessons, enough to think private, but they're under 6?
Expecting a flood?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 7:28 PM
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Sorry, I don't know why I'm being so braggy about where we live instead of righteously indignant on heebie's behalf. I think I'm just relieved that I won't be throwing away tons of money if this turns out to be a disaster.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 7:31 PM
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36: they can't doggy paddle after two years of summertime group lessons. They can't get back to the side of the pool after jumping in. Call me crazy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 7:36 PM
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37: eh, I'm not actually going to be patronizing this crazy lady, so brag away.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 7:37 PM
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38: my sister. Noser has had *lots* of group lessons and is precisely *nowhere* w/r/t swimming. Rilee is closer, but she's much more the jock than he is. Still, I don't think she's gotten enough out of her lessons, either.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 7:43 PM
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They're great at letting you support their bellies and windmilling their arms with their faces well out of the water. And okay at submerging half their faces and blowing bubbles.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 7:57 PM
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38, 40: Group lessons got my son more or less nowhere as well. Private is definitely the way to go.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 8:06 PM
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We did okay with group lessons, but Sally was a natural and Newt was dogged about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 8:22 PM
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Have you asked the friend who recommended the crazy woman what makes her so great? I can't imagine thinking that process was worth it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 8:25 PM
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44: seems from 19 that that line of inquiry isn't actually bound to make any progress.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 8:33 PM
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Fine with group aussi. Was just discussing ages, 8 and 5, I think, the first year.

We're near a state U that has always been a normal school. So the group lessons may have been better than average, as well as cheap.

My dad was 11, my wife & I 10 when we learned. I was a lifeguard and I've been free diving in coral reefs, but it was all slow and pretty informal progress; probably couldn't crawl properly until after high school sometime.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 8:58 PM
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I learned at about 6, after lessons but really despite them, when grandpa threw me off the boat. Dad was in the water, but seriously people, don't do this.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 9:00 PM
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I read it, and thought: "it's a grift".

I, and everyone I grew up with, went to the Y. Once a week, on Saturdays. I started when I was small enough my mom could pick me up and throw me in, and it seemed to work out fine. That's some grade-A b.s. that teacher's peddlin'.

And sure, "stroke technique". Whatevs. I didn't take a private lesson to get my stroke tecnique down until I was 45. And sure, it helped a lot. But I've been enjoying swimming (as a form of exercise) for decades without the benefit of same.


Posted by: Chet | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 9:16 PM
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My brother and I both learned in the old stupid 70s when you dropped your baby in the pool and sort of paid attention to them and then they could swim. Both my parents couldn't swim, so they believed the method. We're both very competent swimmers now, if unorthodox ones.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 9:50 PM
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I taught swimming lessons for years. You're better off with group lessons than private lessons. Private swimming lessons for kids are basically a waste of time. Kids mostly learn from watching other kids so you gotta have other kids around. If the group lessons aren't working, find another pool, or just try again next year. I come from a family of swimmers and swim teachers, and I don't think I really learned to swim with breathing until I was about 10. There's no rush. Go to the pool once in a while with your kids too, that helps a lot.

That ISR thing seems bonkers.


Posted by: chris mmmmm | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 9:53 PM
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This sounds stupid. Did any great swimmer learn this way? No.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 9:55 PM
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We had the older kid in group lessons, and he was doing great. Kicking, fully submerging his head, even getting toys off the bottom of the pool. Then, one week he decided he absolutely couldn't put his face in the water, and cried when his face got wet. It's very strange, but persists, so I cancelled the lessons and take him swimming myself, and we'll try again in a few months.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 10:04 PM
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I guess I should add that after swimming early and doing regular practices starting at 6*, I quit swimming regularly when I was 13. Last few times I swam were in lakes nearly 20 years ago. I enjoyed swimming just for fun once it was no longer something I did all the time, but I don't think there's been a moment when I've felt like going for a swim since then.

*At some point it started being twice a day during the summer months, but I was probably 9 or 10 before that was routine. It was generally 5 days a week in the evenings year-round except a few weeks in August.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-12-14 10:32 PM
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There's no rush. Go to the pool once in a while with your kids too, that helps a lot.

Perhaps the rush is that we spend the summer in the river, and it'd be nice if they had some basic ability to get around.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 2:08 AM
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Also I have insomnia. I suppose I should get up and get some grading done.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 2:14 AM
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I guess it probably actually works because of the little and often thing? Which is not to say it isn't crazy.

I am not from a distinguished lineage of swimming teachers or anything but we had lessons at around 3 and did the same with our kids. Just being in the water with us one more time a week outside the lessons seemed to make a huge difference. Due to shifting logistics the kids did private lessons in a small group for a while, until they had pretty much both learnt to swim and managed to mutually antagonize the coach to the point he would passively-aggressively cancel at the last minute and then reschedule.

Lessons while young are quite common where I'm from but Swim Team before, I dunno, high school is a very foreign concept which evokes American highschool TV associations rather than something from life. Is it really a thing?


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 6:06 AM
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The details of this program are crazy and probably bullshit, as pointed out. I do always have a weakness for the uncompromising "this is how to optimally achieve excellence in a craft / no minimum viable product for you" attitude in the abstract, though.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 6:25 AM
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Like conflated, I don't actually think it's bullshit - it probably does work extremely well on small children. It's just places laughably insane demands on the parent.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 6:29 AM
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Right, not bullshit in that it wouldn't work, but bullshit in that it presents itself as the one and true way.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 6:36 AM
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Oh right. Of the many sarcastic answers I've restrained, one of them was "I guess we'll just take YEARS then."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 6:45 AM
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What's that received wisdom about sushi chef apprenticeship? You should email the coach back and question the effectiveness of a program that doesn't involve a year of the two year old sweeping up around the pool without being able to get in.


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 6:45 AM
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Don't get rice in the pool.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 7:11 AM
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Is it really a thing?

Yes. Most places have "age group" swim teams that start around 6 or 7 and go through high school. I guess it never occurred to me that it would seem odd.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 7:15 AM
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My mom signed me up for one of those, one summer. For maybe a month, I biked down to the pool. Finished every single lap about twice as slowly as everyone else. Felt embarrassed and wanted to not be there. Eventually this was probably communicated to my mom, because I would have been too embarrassed to explain the situation. It's likely the rest of them were going to meets without me. I'm still a stupidly slow swimmer.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 7:29 AM
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This sounds like the professionalization (if that's the right word) of something that used to be done more or less for fun.

That is, it would appropriate if your goal was to turn your child into the next Olympic swimming medalist. If you don't learn proper "stroke technique" it's tough to unlearn it later, or something. You'll never gain back that tenth of a second per lap, and will have to settle for a silver or a bronze.

I'd go for the less-stressful option.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 7:31 AM
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From what little I know about ISR, this is appropriate for a kid Ace's age if your goal is to have the baby survive falling I to a pool while unattended. It doesn't have jack to do with learning how to swim.

As a Florida kid, I did baby swim lessons with my mom in a group class, then group swim lessons at the community center for a handful of years. My swimming has never been pretty, but I get from point A to point B.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 7:48 AM
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I to s/b into


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 7:48 AM
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66.1 is exactly my suspicion.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 7:51 AM
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This makes it look like for 1-6 year olds, it's teaching them to swim underwater.

My memory is that as soon as I got over the sink-to-the-bottom-of-the-pool phenomenon, swimming underwater was pretty obvious. I just want our kids to stop sinking.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 7:53 AM
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||
So, the little netbook I use to comment here is still going fine, but it runs Windows xp, which is no longer supported. Should I make it into a Linux machine or something?
||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 8:12 AM
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ISR is the drownproofing school of swimming -- so it's about teaching a baby to kick to the surface and float. Beyond that, I'm the wrong person to ask for advice, as I didn't learn how to swim comfortably until three years ago. (Neither did my sister, and now she's training for masters' events, where we expect she will place last, but be happy.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 8:16 AM
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70. Probably. This guy thinks you might as well. Upgrading is a mug's game.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 8:18 AM
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70: yes!

Let me be the first to recommend Ubuntu: http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/install-desktop-latest

The installation process will allow you to partition your hard drive and keep the Windows XP installation as one of the partitions (when you boot up, you just choose whether to boot into Ubuntu or Windows). Those installation instructions cover how all that works, iirc.

The only major headache in using Ubuntu (or any other Linux distribution) out of the box for web browsing are content streaming services like Netflix that use proprietary code that interacts with the operating system for DRM . There are usually workarounds, but a lot of the them are buggy and subject to failure each time the DRM-enforcement mechanism changes and needs to be reverse-engineered.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 8:24 AM
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52: I couldn't say I remember how old your eldest is, but my father reported a similar phenomenon that happened with me. Apparently I was just fine in the water as an infant, toddler, and young kid, aged ~2 to 5, but I suddenly developed a novel fear of water at ~6. (Which, growing up in the land of 10,000 lakes and belonging to an extended family of lake cabin-owners and water skiers, was promptly extinguished.)

I recall reading that this is a common situation, that toddlers supposedly have no natural fear of water, and that such a fear is actually developed/acquired in later childhood. A little googling gives me nothing on the matter, so maybe it's just a family myth I've heard and forgot the source of.

A technique my father used to make me comfortable with putting my face near/in the water was to play with ping-pong balls in the pool, launching them out of our mouths and hoovering them up from the pool's surface. A form of playing catch in the water and using the mouth, I guess. Good luck with your little swimmers, all!


Posted by: lurking aquatic ape | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 11:03 AM
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The next "long term support" edition of Ubuntu is going to drop this week. Get that.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 11:24 AM
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My kid's swimming problems were fixed pretty much as soon as we moved to an apartment complex with a pool that featured other kids his age who were having fun swimming.

I guess moving is unlikely, but maybe go spend a few days a hotel that features one of them new-fangled indoor water parks.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 11:26 AM
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Why indoors?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 11:32 AM
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BECAUSE I'M GLOATING on the dubious prize of living somewhere hot.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 11:32 AM
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Whatevs. Its 85 degrees where I am right now. And I'll be heading for the pool in a little while.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 1:12 PM
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If I were in your shoes, heebie, I would worry about ISR leaving the kids scared of (or skittish around) water. It seems like the program teaches them (appropriate) fear of water, but that might not be compatible with fun-filled family days on the river.

Then again, everything I know about ISR is what I learnt on the internet. A little googling taught me that pro-ISR threads are banned on m0ther1ng.com because it is cruel. Point for or against? Not sure.


Posted by: parodie | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 1:28 PM
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Wow. The internet sure does hate ISR. Or at least parts of it do. I hadn't checked out the message boards.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 1:38 PM
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Super, thanks everyone!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 1:39 PM
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Good luck with your little swimmers, all!

Laydeez. Or, rather, gemmunz.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 2:01 PM
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I wonder if it's just pointless to have swimming lessons for kids under six or so. Putting together the stories I've heard about, there are kids who aren't afraid of the water at all, who learn pretty easily either from playing around or lessons, but don't really need lessons other than to teach proper swimming form, and then most kids who are scared to a certain extent by swimming. If your kid is scared, they're not going to learn until they manage to sort of be consciously brave about it, and that's not something a preschooler is likely to do.

Mostly, I'm thinking I know an awful lot of "We tried this lesson and that lesson and then we found these great lessons that did wonders" and I wonder if it's just that the kids got old enough to work through the fear the way you have to in order to swim.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 2:07 PM
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I wonder if it's just pointless to have swimming lessons for kids under six or so.

I learned when I was four, with little parental input. My siblings and I (ages 4-8) walked to the pool together, and beginning a couple of years later we spent much of summer at the country club pool, competing on the swim team and otherwise just hanging out. Swimming is great! Just steer clear of control-freakish twits like this swimming instructor.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 2:30 PM
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I know plenty of 4-5 year olds who can swim, mostly from private lessons.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 2:49 PM
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Also 4-5 year olds are often dealing with being brave and overcoming fear constantly - there's a monster, I'm feeling shy, things are not as I expected, etc. Its an easy thing to discuss head on, at least the discussion part.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 2:52 PM
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I don't mean to be dogmatic about the exact age. Just that for a kid who's frightened by the water, there's some developmental point where they've got enough going on to work through the fear, and nothing's going to make much of a difference before that point.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 3:08 PM
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But "frightened of the water" - every kid is frightened of some water situations, and no kid is frightened of every water situation. I'm pretty sure that most kids who feel safe in the learning environment could learn to swim in pre-k. I'm talking about doggy paddling and squirming around underwater, but at least being able to get around ok.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 3:29 PM
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I'm surmising that feet-off-the-ground and not immediately back to standing on solid ground in water is pretty seriously scary for most kids. Some kids, it's not like that -- Sally was one of those. But for a kid who's scared by it, it's the kind of scary that really interferes with functioning; where the subjective experience is that you physically can't do the scary thing. An older kid can make themselves do what's necessary to float despite the fear, but for a lot of preschoolers, it looks like they're just not developmentally ready to do that kind of thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 3:38 PM
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And I disagree - in these group classes, they spend significant time trying to get the kids to float unassisted. Mostly unsuccessful, but not because the 2-4 year olds were scared shitless. Lots of kids momentarily unassisted, without panicking because they knew perfectly well the hand would resupport them if they were sinking.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 3:54 PM
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The question is why do they keep on sinking? Floating isn't terribly difficult -- it's not like a complicated skill to learn -- as long as you relax with your head back in the water. If you try to lift your head out of the water, you sink. A kid who doesn't feel uncertain in the water can do it, or an older kid with a lot of self control can do it. But it takes a whole lot of self control, and I think many little kids just don't have it.

Talking about it as scary may be the wrong way of putting it -- it's not that the kid is panicking, it's that they are refusing to do the things that are necessary to swim because it would require overcoming fear. So they don't get unpleasantly scared, but the reason they're not getting unpleasantly scared is that they're not doing the scary parts.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 4:08 PM
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I think floating is a pretty hard skill - little kids are just so wiggly and constantly want to see what's going on - but that they could easily master doggy paddling. None of the classes we've taken have ever tackled doggy paddling or swimming underwater (both understandably, but still). It's floating, windmill arms, and kicking. And blowing bubbles.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 4:15 PM
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Also floating is easy or hard depending on the composition of the person. I still don't float very well, but I've seen people who could probably fall asleep floating.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 4:17 PM
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94 is right. I float very well, because belly. My son doesn't float nearly as well.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 4:27 PM
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We try to make him fatter and pediatrician gets all up in our face.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 4:31 PM
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I've got belly. But somehow my surface area ratio still is unfavorable.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 4:40 PM
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Its possible kids achieve buoyancy at different ages. Floating and swimming are going to be tough to learn as long as a kid's body is denser than water.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 4:41 PM
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I'd even grant LB's point regarding floating, because floating requires zen and calm and trust in physics. But floating does not equal swimming.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 4:45 PM
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Put enough salt in the pool and those kids will bob like corks.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 5:03 PM
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My kids could all swim a bit before they started lessons, which was around 4/5. They all started swimming underwater, because it's easier than worrying about breathing. (e.g. Kid C could swim 2m down to the bottom to grab something before he could swim 2m along the surface.) Group lessons once a week, me taking them swimming once a week (I tried as much as possible to get these on the same day for convenience - ten minutes every day sounds horrendous).

Having them vaguely competent in the river sounds nice, but wouldn't they have flotation devices anyway, even if they could swim a bit?


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 5:12 PM
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Put enough salt in the pool and those kids will bob like corks.

Dead Sea vacation!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 5:15 PM
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Since I bragged about how cheap the swim team was, I can add the footnote that mandatory competition suits were $53 each.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 5:22 PM
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101.2: for a year or so, but it's really a very lazy, mostly waist-high clear river. At the end of our stretch there's a chute which is definitely dangerous unless you're a very strong swimmer, and even then you could easily tumble out of your tube and hit your head on a rock in the churning of the rapids. So they will be wearing life jackets on that portion until they're old enough to sneak out and do the chute behind my back.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 5:38 PM
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My early memories of swim lessons are that the pool was cold and I was skinny (age 5 or 6), and I was put in the water with one of those foam bubbles strapped to my back. I hated it, and my mom started changing up the driving route so that I wouldn't figure out where we were going as quickly. I did not learn much if any swimming.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 5:44 PM
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But "frightened of the water" - every kid is frightened of some water situations, and no kid is frightened of every water situation.

There are still pretty noticable individual differences. A friend of mine in California had a kid (F) just a month or two older than Jane, and during the period when F and J were about 1.5 to 2.5, they lived in a place with a shared pool and we would go hang out there often. F was 100% happy as could be to splash around and swim in the pool, while Jane was like NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE (and is to this day, though she's been getting more okay with water on her head in the bath--maybe this summer swimming lessons will stick).


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 5:45 PM
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Oh, sure. Did not mean to imply uniformity.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 5:54 PM
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There are still pretty noticable individual differences

True. I have an early memory, maybe my earliest, of falling backwards into a pool where I was sitting with my mother and my great-aunts when I was three. It's really vivid—I remember liking the filtered light and the quiet and hearing my mother's scream muffled through the water—and I was never freaked out about being under water. So, children, be like me and chill out about the water.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 6:00 PM
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I was put in the water with one of those foam bubbles strapped to my back

I don't know what you mean by the foam bubbles, but strapped to your back wouldn't that make you float with your face down in the water? I'm sure it couldn't have been this, but my first thought was, "That can't have been helpful"


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 6:08 PM
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Bubbles on the back, lead on the feet. Everything works out.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 6:17 PM
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Kids are like a complicated fishing lure that doesn't attract many fish.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 6:23 PM
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Bubbles on the back, lead on the feet.

Weirdest mullet ever.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 6:23 PM
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We did lessons for several years at a hard core racing place- banner next to the pool: "Swimming- not just a sport, a way of life"- but recently switched to a semiprivate lesson at the Y because we cared more about survival stuff than flip turns and dolphin kicks, the racing school has nothing about water safety or survival strokes. It halso hlps having enough kids to make the private lesson cheaper than three enrollment a in group lessons.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 7:25 PM
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Save money by having more children!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 7:27 PM
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#slatepitch...or is that #voxpitch?


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 7:30 PM
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I thought sterilization is required to be hired at any new media or tech firms.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-13-14 7:40 PM
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None of the classes we've taken have ever tackled doggy paddling or swimming underwater (both understandably, but still).

Huh, I think the lessons I got were: float, doggy paddle, swim underwater to pick things off the pool. I think there was also keep-your-head-up-above-the-water-breaststroke. I don't actually remember when or how I learned actual part-of-the-IM strokes. Never really got butterfly worked out. I do remember learning and practicing turns.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 12:25 AM
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there's a BUDS sheet, which stands for Bowel, Urine, Diet, & Sleep, which you're supposed to be tracking closely for your kid on the form for the full six weeks.

The lesson schedule as described made me think of the other BUDS, i.e. "Basic Underwater Demolition/ SEAL".



Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 1:46 AM
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Alex had swimming lessons from about 12 weeks until about 8 months. We stopped because we moved house, and now, with J' back at work, neither of us have a free day to get him to lessons. He enjoyed it. He was quite happy to jump off the side of the pool, submerging under the water, and play the other games they had to get small kids familiar with being underwater. He still quite likes getting his head wet in the bath, and getting his head showered. Temperamentally he runs much more to 'brave/foolhardy/oblivious-to-danger' than 'wary/nervous/timid'.

I expect we'll take him to the pool again soon.

I didn't learn to swim until I was about 6 or 7. My Dad used to take me once a week. I don't remember it taking long to learn to swim at all -- maybe a month or two? I was never a brilliant swimmer as a kid, but I could splash around happily and swim a few lengths with no trouble. I liked being underwater, more than just swimming up and down.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 3:25 AM
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Was just reminded of being on holiday with Kid A aged about 21 months. We were in a small outdoor pool, and she couldn't swim, refused to wear arm bands or have a ring, and kept running round the pool to jump in where there was no one to catch her. She's so easy-going now that I generally forget what a fucking nutcase she was as a child. (My *mum* - very experienced with children, very laidback and tolerant, very doting on her first grandchild - bought me that 'how to raise a spirited child' book. Although perhaps she just thought I was crap.)


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 4:14 AM
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Alex's thing at the moment is climbing. He discovered in the past couple of days that he can climb on stuff. Bearing in mind he only turned 1 about 3 weeks ago, and he can only walk a bit. But now he's learned he can drag himself up on top of, say, a cardboard box* and then precariously teeter on the top of it, there's no stopping him. He also likes dragging and moving things around. I reckon we have at most another 2 weeks before he puts two-and-two together, and then our 1 year old will have access to the kitchen counter tops, and knives, and things.

* we have some in the hall, still packed, form when we moved**


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 4:36 AM
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I was always glad that mine weren't climbers. Friend of mine found her small daughter at the top of the bookcase, having climbed up it like a ladder, and that was a real hassle to prevent.

Dragging around useful steps is cute though. And then you realise the implications.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 4:57 AM
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(6 foot bookcase)


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 4:57 AM
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re: 122

Yeah, our place is rented. The landlord is OK in principle with us adding fixing screws to stop bookcases toppling, but if I have to fix every piece of climbable furniture to the walls, his walls are going to be riddled with metal rawlplug fixings.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 5:36 AM
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I sort of remember swim lessons at the Y as a kid. My high school swim coach nevertheless confessed that she spent my entire freshman season in fear that I was going to drown on her watch. Some kids just take a very long time to learn.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 5:53 AM
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124: We have two kids. We just decided we can spare one if it makes poor climbing decisions.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 6:06 AM
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re: 125

We did a 'swim 20 lengths' swimming test at high school, which I passed without any problems. But I must have had a very unconvincing 'almost drowning' swimming style, because only a few weeks later, the life guard at our local municipal pool made me leave the deep end of the pool as a 'non-swimmer'. I think, being pissed off, I then swam the entire length of the pool underwater, and surfaced at the shallow end, just to 'show him'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 6:18 AM
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is OK in principle with us adding fixing screws to stop bookcases toppling

awfully big of her.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 6:19 AM
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re: 128

You'd be surprised at the restrictions landlords will impose. In fact, I think this landlord may only be the second one I've ever had who is OK with me drilling holes anywhere.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 6:25 AM
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129: Not so much surprised as depressed at the douchiness that implies.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 6:29 AM
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Sounds like time for Unfogged swim lessons!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 6:42 AM
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Does everybody know the baby-dunking trick? You hold them in the water, then blow really hard in their face and dunk them for a second. The blowing makes them instinctively close their eyes and mouth. Φ loves it. Her grandparents live 30m away and have a pool, so we get to dunk her a lot.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 9:51 AM
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It sounds like ISR is basically that trick applied to older kids who are not necessarily game with the game.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 9:56 AM
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IT SOUNDS LIKE PROGRESS IS BASICALLY THAT TRICK APPLIED TO THE BANKSTERS, MINUS "FOR A SECOND"


Posted by: OPINIONATED OCCUPY WALL STREET | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 10:02 AM
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Late to a dying thread, but despite having taught swimming for years (including some private lessons which had a more salutary effect on my meager lifeguard wages than on anyone's swimming ability) I have nothing really to offer. My own kids were able to handle water situation to my satisfaction from an early age with me providing the basic "blow bubbles, float, etc." stuff, and took formal lessons at ages 6 or older (youngest may have been younger due to considerations of parental convenience--plus he was fairly physically precocious so was almost at a level with his 2 years older sister for things like swimming. Also residual societal and parental sexism).

I suspect the response to group vs. private depends on the child. And similar to at least one person up thread, the best motivator I have seen (for a pretty big n, given a number of years of observation as a lifeguard/swim coach) is for the kid to want to keep up with more accomplished friends/sibs.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 12:36 PM
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I bet I would have hated swimming lessons less if it was a smaller class/group. Looking back, a big problem was that it was just so exhausting, the cacophony of all the noises, voices and splashes echoing inside the tiled room. I had so many negative sensory associations with the swimming pool, not to mention the chlorine.

Going in and out of the water every half second to breathe is already chaotic enough to the senses.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 12:46 PM
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Along the lines of JMcQ in 108 and asilon in 120, I have a vivid memory of an early season (so late spring) practice I was coaching. It was cold and wet and just a few kids were there. Suddenly one of their younger sibs bolted across the deck and plunged in headfirst and for a moment was floating there head down/feet up. I was nearby on the deck in street clothes and the expedient of pulling her out by her ankle flashed through my mind. Despite it probably being the quickest removal method, the optics seemed wrong, so I jumped in next to her and lifted her out.

And I probably made $5 for that practice...


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 1:05 PM
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136.1: I believe I have earlier mentioned the one stint of YMCA lessons where all of the kids swam naked. I did not mind so much*, but many dreaded it, and it was objectively a nightmarish hell of chlorine, steam, naked, mostly inner-city boys, depression-era tiles and showers, all under the watchful gaze of our not-one-bit-creepy-ha! YMCA swim instructor. I was recently recalling this for my mom and sister who refused to believe me.

*It certainly wasn't great but I recall winning the treading water without hands contest.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 1:17 PM
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138 is really something.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 1:36 PM
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When I lifeguarded at my high school pool we'd open the pool on Saturdays to kids from the surrounding community. The standard was to swim naked or only in underwear (no top), which was great considering that some of the girls were well developed and quite free of inhibition. I enjoyed those afternoons. Yessir.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 1:47 PM
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My dad's all boys secondary school had an indoor pool and they swam naked.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 1:49 PM
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141: I almost added something snarky about my mother and sister's refusal to believe. It was a brief but frustrating conversation with them in which they clearly brought today's standards to bear against something that occurred half a century ago (as close to WWI as it is to today). It seemed a bit odd, but not hugely so.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 5:42 PM
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My dad has memories of definitely creepy adults trying to grope swimming naked boys at a Y in the 1950s. But it was a simpler, more moral time then.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 6:56 PM
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Nothing to do with naked swimming (which, whoa! I had no idea that was thing), but swimming-wise: my mom tells the story of her treading water in the deep end, while I crawled off the diving board to splash near her waiting arms. I was supposedly around two at the time. She's an excellent swimmer (synchronized team in college!), but I'm still sort of surprised the lifeguards let her do this, if it did really happen. (I suspect she might be exaggerating my age, but she always insists on the crawling part.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 8:12 PM
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