Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Swimming days: from overcoming fears to the pure joy!

As a kid, I never learnt to swim. I still swim like an axe, i.e. I'd go down to the bottom of the pool if I didn't use swimming aids.
Yes, I confess, I am much less competent than my son Sasha. He loves swimming. His Dad takes him to the swimming pool once a week, and I am trying to convince myself that it is a good time to teach Eddie the joys of swimming too.
I always felt bad about my lack of swimming skills.
Sasha is also lucky that they have a swimming pool at school, and he has a class every Tuesday. Just today he arrived home all tired and happy, with his hair still damp from the class.
But he wasn't always a happy swimmer. To start with, he was quite terrified of the big expanse of water.
I think the first times we were trying to go to the pool was when we stayed with my husband's Nonna in Viareggio.
Sasha would hold onto my neck for his life, and didn't want to let me go.

At first, we just sat by the pool, watching the other happy swimmers of all ages.
Slowly, he would allow his Dad to carry him around the pool, again holding onto his neck.

Here he is, my very reluctant child, looking wistfully at the pool.

His father was very patient, swimming with Sasha, helping him to overcome the fears. I would join in, using the swimming pool floating aids, to the merriment of the Italian kids who all swam without any. I didn't care. I was very proud of myself, when I managed to get from one side of the pool to the other. I'm sure we provided the locals with much amusement.
By the end of that stay, Sasha was getting used to the pool, and would enjoy our jumping sessions.

The next time we visited Viareggio, Sasha was a much happier swimmer. School classes helped a lot. He gained confidence, and did not need any help to get in the water.
Here he is, swimming on his own.

This is one of my most cherished photos: my beautiful boy, having fun in the pool and smiling with so much pride at his achievement.

Sasha is a confident swimmer now, and I am very proud of my boy. Having autism, he is not able to do many things, but he excels at swimming.

Families all over Britain will be hitting the water this summer with the British Gas Free Swims programme. (If you haven’t already, claim your free swim now.)

This post is my entry for the BritMums Joy of Swimming Competition, sponsored by British Gas



  1. I learnt to swim when I was at primary school and loved it. I still swim once a week now. My dad learnt to swim at school so was always good but my mum didn't learn until she was in her late thirties. My brother doesn't like swimming. My son is 7 and swims with a float but not on his own yet.

  2. i have recently been having problems with my little one and water weve been taking him to the pool once a week to get him ready for our holiday in june hes getting there hes gone from screaming at the site of it 2 not wanting 2 get out! x

  3. Thanks for sharing your swimming story.

  4. glad he is getting more confidant. we take the 9mo swimming every week