By Alison Murtagh, Swimming World College Intern
Summer—a time for kids to return to the local community pool or a friend’s backyard pool for the next three months, and a time for toddlers to experience chlorine for the first time. Swimming lessons, a common summertime activity, offer a break from parenting as well as a time for kids to learn the skills of water safety.
With swimming lesson sign-ups coming out throughout the country, parents are eagerly putting their children’s names down for one, or multiple, sessions. While some children love going to lessons, others need to be dragged into the pool at the start of every class. The following are the six types of swimmers instructors are certain to encounter throughout the summer.
1. The Nervous Newcomer
Every lesson has a nervous newcomer. No matter where you teach, there will be at least one child who is so nervous to get into the water it takes almost half the class for him or her to put a toe in. However, once in the pool, the nerves start to subside and are replaced with feelings of excitement and fun.
2. The Seasoned Pro
Whether it’s because they love swimming, or their parents want a break, the seasoned pros have been to multiple sessions of lessons. They know which instructors will let them get away with playing with the toys on the edge of the pool, and which will force them to swim a full lap instead of stopping half way. The seasoned pro loves to swim, but knows the ins-and-outs of the program and which games are the most fun to play.
3. The Bribed
“Joey, if you do well in lessons today, I’ll buy you a donut!” is just one example of the many bribes heard while teaching lessons. Parents will do almost anything to get their child to swim and pay attention to the teacher for a whole 30 minutes, or maybe even an hour. The bribed usually do as their told, and make sure to tell the instructor about the doll they’re getting after class, or the piece of chocolate cake waiting for them at home. As long as they listen, bribes are usually a great thing for the instructor, who secretly benefits as well.
4. The Splasher
Every lesson has a splasher. The one kid that will not stay still when it’s not his or her turn and proceeds to splash everyone in the class—instructor included. You can tell the splasher to keep two hands on the wall as many times as you want, but usually to no avail. When one kid splashes another, and the other proceeds to fight back, you know you are in for the long haul.
5. The Chatter
While swim instructors are at the pool to teach people how to swim, they also tend to double as a listening ear. Swim instructors hear stories ranging from the birthday party a child went to, to the new baby in a family. There’s always at least one kid that constantly has a new fun fact to share with the group, or an outrageous story to tell. While the chatter keeps the lesson entertaining, he or she can also make it hard to get anything done.
6. The Screamer
We’ve all seen them. These types of kids act like the pool is full of a toxic substance and if they enter it, they are sure to die. Screamers usually have to be dragged onto the pool deck by a parent who is quickly losing his or her patience, or sometimes even a babysitter who is ready to hand the shrieking child off to anyone who will take him or her. The screamers are usually given to the newest member of the staff, who already has a fake smile plastered on his or her face, and a noodle in hand, ready to do anything to get the swimmer into the pool.