This post has nothing to do with food, but instead focuses on swimming. It’s one of our favorite summer activities, and we’re supporters of USA Swimming’s Swim Today program, encouraging parents to enroll their children in lessons to keep them safe and keep your family active. Plus, it’s great fun.
When I was young there was a pool outside my apartment building in East St. Paul. It was closed more than it was open, but at every possible chance, my mom would drag me in the pool with my sister. When we moved out of the apartment, we visited the beach daily during the summer. My mom would read on a large blanket, and us kids would play in the sand and water.
One day when I was about five I decided to take our beach ball for a ride. Now, I could swim and doggy paddle, and my mom had taught me how to front crawl, but I’d never really tested them out in the middle of a pool before, where I couldn’t put my feet down easily or my mom wasn’t there to help. After a few hours of swimming and playing, I was a bit tired, too, and the beach ball carried me out beyond the buoys to where I could no longer touch, and then, the beach ball was gone.
For what seemed like ages I sat kicking, keeping my head above water, and then I got tired, and my head started to bob, and I remember kicking harder and harder and not being able to get my head up, swallowing the water as I tried to hit the surface, until a nice man who was out swimming laps back and forth across the front of the swimming beach grabbed me and asked if I was okay. Just strong enough to not look like I was drowning, the lifeguards hadn’t even noticed me yet, and who knows if they would have, as drowning is a rather silent affair.
I was soon enrolled in lessons, which I aced easily, and then continued on and on and on, soon earning lifeguard certification and swim instructor certification by the time I was 14 and 15.
As a mom, I’m committed to teaching my kids how to swim. It makes me sad when someone goes from childhood to adulthood (especially in the Land of 10,000 Lakes) without hitting the water and learning to stay afloat. To me it seems like a basic human survival skill that we should put as a priority for our kids’ safety. You never know when they may need those skills later in life. Besides, swimming with the family is fun.
Why Should You Swim?
Drowning is the 2nd leading cause of accidental death in kids aged 1-14. To me, this means that teaching them how to swim will greatly reduce that risk to my own children, and in fact, swimming lessons have been shown to reduce the risk of drowning by 80%. Think about the safety and survival techniques they add in there: bobbing, survival float, how to tread water, and even rescue breathing when your child is older.
I used to run, but after I started to see cartilage build-up in my knee, I soon gave it up. Swimming is a whole body, low-impact exercise option that is great for cardiovascular health.
Swimming teaches work ethic and goal setting as you strive towards learning new strokes or getting better times if you swim competitively. Then it also teaches teamwork and social skills when you swim together as a family, at the pool, or as part of a team.
If you’re looking to get your kids swimming, check out USA Swimming’s Swim Today site, where they’ll help connect you to areas for swimming lessons, competitive information and teams, as well as fitness swimming resources.
This is Kiera’s first year of high school swimming for Roseville Area High School. She’s pumped, and we’re excited to see her doing something she loves. More fun: The boys’ team head coach, Michael Richards, is headed to U.S. Olympic Team Trials, which start June 25th. They’ll be airing live on NBC, and you can follow along by tweeting using #SwimToday and following @USA_Swimming on Twitter. Want to host a party? Splash Bash resources can be found on USA Swimming.
This post is part of a partnership with USA Swimming and The Motherhood. All thoughts and opinions came from my own brain. My kids love to swim, and I love to swim with them. I hope you’ll join us in the water!