Thursday, March 15, 2018

Swimming With Akiko

Summer is just around the corner and the best way to beat the heat is by hitting the water. I think many people will agree with this. Once upon a time, my little girl was not one of those people. She was terrified of the pool. Like mother, like daughter! I was once afraid to be left by myself in a pool.

But I believe that swimming is a very important life skill, one that can save your life. So when Akiko Thomson Guevara, a dear friend to us who happens to be an Olympic swimmer, opened up a class for babies and toddlers in the summer of 2017, we jumped at the opportunity and enrolled our little girl. Akiko taught me to swim while carrying her less than a year old baby when I was already 32 years old, so I had extreme confidence that she would at least be able to teach my then one year old to be friends with the water. Along with Teacher Carol Karthe, their swimming pool magic took place. It was like watching Jesus raise the man, Lazarus, from the dead.
Afraid on the first day

That class took place at 9:00 in the morning for 30 minutes at the Guevara home every Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for 10 days. So it felt like going to a swimming party every other day. It required one parent to be in the pool with the child. My husband took on that role so I could take the photos of our little girl’s first swimming class.

On the very first day, it took around 15 minutes for our daughter to let go of her fear and finally enter and enjoy the water that we ended up staying into the next class to let her get the hang of it. Teacher Akiko and Teacher Carol were very patient with her. Along with the rest of the class, they sang songs and played games. Little did our toddler know that she was slowly being eased into the inner part of the pool and soon was having the time of her life. That first day was not really about learning how to swim but all about becoming confident and knowing that being in the water could be so much fun.

By the next session, we arrived early and our little girl couldn’t wait to get in the pool that she was ready to jump in by herself. Talk about a complete turnaround. This time, after warming with songs and games, the kids (with the help of their parents), were already taught to submerge themselves. It’s amazing how it is second nature for them to hold their breath and not swallow any water. They were also taught to float from parent to teacher and back in small distances. From sitting on the ledge of the pool, they were even encouraged to jump in while holding their parent’s hands and come back up for air.

That priceless expression of a swimming convert!
My little girl enjoyed the classes so much that by the end of the 10 days she was itching to go for a swim. As Akiko’s husband would say, she was “the most improved swimmer”. And if Akiko were to offer classes for toddlers again this year, I would reserve a slot in a heart beat. I hope she does. (Akiko, if you are reading this, *hint, hint*!)

For older kids, Akiko Thomson Swim School is offering classes for four years old and up in Colegio de San Agustin, Dasmariñas Village, Makati. You may check her schedule at her website or her Facebook page

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