Swimming with my dad from the earliest age – baby swimming
Hypothetically speaking, if about 250 babies are born in the world at this very minute, do you know how many potential new swimmers there are among them? My calculation says it’s over 130 million a year! Imagine, what a CHALLENGE that would be for us who are engaged in swimming, to MOTIVATE PARENTS to jump into the water with their baby, swim and enjoy it, and feel safe in the water environment!
This is not a lesson about PARENTING and swimming! This is my "water" story of growing up and swimming from the earliest age that I have experienced during three thousand days of working with a number of babies in and around the water, as well as with my children. Also, this is not only my swimming tale, but also a story about my family. This is my personal challenge, both as parent and as a swim professional.
Baby swimming as a “gift”
Exactly 1460 days ago, she swam her first race in her life. From the moment the whistle blew the "start", she was swimming until she saw the daylight. At the end of the race, she literally flew out of the water ring. Looking at the pictures of her just five minutes after the race, I expected her to feel tired, exhausted… No, quite the opposite, that Monday after swimming she was so fresh, rested, that she even managed to wink at the world and her PARENTS. On this very day, she is turning four, and things are still the same… Ever since she was born, she’s been swimming, playing in the water and winking.
Just by chance, this little fish happens to be my daughter.
On the day when my Little Fish swam into this world, a total of 17 future "swimmers" were born in our city on the same day. We are friends with some of them. When I am thinking of all of them, I can openly say that it was only my Little Fish who learnt to swim before the age of 4. It has nothing to do with the fact that I am swim coach, but the attitude of the PARENTS regarding the life skill that gives every child the opportunity to play and be safe in the biggest playground in the world. Imagine that all those 17 babies had had the opportunity to get to know swimming and its diversity from their early age, before they even started making their first steps on the dry!
Every child should learn to swim
Back in 2016, in the land of top champions and sport stories, when I became a dad for the second time, 64,734 babies were born. Although the statistics claim that this has been the lowest number of new-born children in the last 100 years, and experts confirm that they don’t remember such a bad birth rate in my homeland, Serbia, since the First World War, if we look at these numbers from the swimming point of view, they are not just the black ink on the paper, nor are they small, quite the opposite. Imagine that these numbers are future swimmers from Serbia, the generation born in 2016.
If we observe the numbers on the global level, do you know how many babies were born exactly on this day four years ago, the babies who are potential "swimmers" and who had the chance, like my daughter, to gain TRUST in swimming, and have their first positive contact with water together with their PARENTS while playing in the water and enjoying it?
It’s a huge number!
However, have the water and swimming become a "friend" to all those babies from 2016 until today? This is a question for every PARENT whose little "swimmers" came into this world that year, but also for all other parents as well.
Regardless of the fact that the neighbour’s little boy has been a "swimmer" since he was four months old, and that the profession recommends enjoying the water with a six-month-old baby, it is up to the PARENTS to decide what the right time is for them to introduce swimming to the baby.
My children knew how to swim before they learnt how to walk
My children have been in the water since the age of four months. That does not mean they had trainings every day… but that they got relaxed enough to enjoy the water. They learnt how to swim with a smile on their face, while playing in the water and around it. Little Shark learnt how to swim when he was two and a half, while Little Fish made her first swimming
strokes when she was three.
Every child should learn to swim, but above all to enjoy, play, be satisfied and relaxed in and around the water, from their very first contact with the water.
I believe that parents who can give their babies swimming as a “gift”, and who can enjoy the water with their children from the first day, provide themselves and the child with unique moments in the process of growing up. My wish is to encourage parents to give their baby as many such warm and colourful moments in the water as possible. That is why the ROLE of PARENTS and their MOTIVATION are vital in baby swimming!
If there were no small "artists" - our small baby swimmers, for parents, coaches and even children, swimming from the earliest age would be boring. They are “the artists” who give the colour and warmth to swimming, even on those grey and rainy days!
Life is better when you are swimming!