Sunday, July 5, 2009

Our summer of fun

We started Nick in swim class this year. We have a fantastic facility only a few miles from our house, Brandon Swim and Aquatics Center. It is more than just the YMCA, more of a training center for Olympic athletes. They have several diving boards and a huge lap pool.

(Nick in his Level 1 class with only one other little boy)

They also have a little "training" pool for the smaller children. Nick started a few months ago in the level 1 class. He has swam since he was a baby but never gone through any kind of training before.

(Nick swimming at Lithia Springs after only a few days of lessons he was able to swim under water, for the most part)

He has done really great since the beginning. I am so glad we waited to do his classes as he is catching on very quickly and has no fear of the water. He has never been the most graceful child or extremely coordinated so we are happy to see a sport he may excel in (pending his upper body strength can increase).

(This is at Lithia Springs, the water is beautiful!)

Nick just finished his level 2 course. The class was scheduled 4 days a week for two weeks solid. I am amazed at how quickly the children can learn and really pick up the concept of swimming. By the end of this class Nick has learned how to float on his back, do arm strokes and really "look" like a swimmer. He is not quite ready to graduate yet but I have seen some real improvement. Starting next week he begins Level 2 for the second time, only this time it is only on Saturdays so it will last for a full 8 weeks, much better for the money as the course will last throughout the summer.

(Lithia Springs, if you look closely, you can see the crystal blue water in the back, this was before a lot of our rains and the water was Extremely low. After a few large rains, the springs were closed as they became a popular gator hang out. Once the water cleared up and cooled off a bit more the springs were opened again, they have to be able to see to the bottom in order to verify no gators are lurking below the surface, how exciting! You can see the storm clouds in this picture, it rains like clockwork every day at about 3:00 and is over usually within an hour.)

Since we don't have a pool he doesn't get a lot of chances to practice in a similar setting. We frequently will go to a local fresh water spring (Lithia Springs) that is similar to a pool but very different since there is no edge to swim to or chlorine to get in your eyes. At only a dollar a person we really enjoy it and so do the boys, even though the water is a cool 70 degrees year round. There are a good number of fish in the spring and it can be really fun to try to catch them or just snorkel and see what you can find.

We love the large number of places we can swim in Florida, we have a huge variety of natural springs, the beach in Tampa Bay, the beach in the Atlantic Ocean, swimming pools (yuck), and rivers. Not all rivers can be swam in, the one closest to us can no longer have swimming as the pollution levels are too high. It is really sad and is helping to push me into the conservation of our waterways. Most rivers in Tampa are too polluted to swim in but we pull our drinking water from them. It has a huge negative impact on the wildlife and eventually the public won't be able to ignore it any longer. We always bring garbage bags with us when kayaking and camping and try to do our part to clean up as much as possible.

(Alex is also learning how to swim. He isn't old enough for the class yet but I think he will catch on extremely fast, he is so athletic for such a young child!)