Friday, February 20, 2015

Day 1962 - The Swimming Carnival

Jumping in the deep end.

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Today is the school swimming carnival and my boy has entered the 50 metre freestyle race.  This is pretty standard stuff of course.  Schools all over Australia are having their swimming carnivals and thousands of kids are diving in the deep end.  The thing is, my boy isn't much into lap swimming.  In fact, he's not sure he can get to the other end.

So how did my boy get to year six without being able to swim 50 metres?

We're not quite sure.

We did everything the same as we did with his sister.  Swimming lessons from 18 months of age and then once they hit kindergarten we let the school swimming lessons take over.

His sister has been diving in the deep end at swimming carnivals since she was 8.  Without any squad training or carnival preparation of any kind she'd enter the freestyle and breast stroke events and end up representing the school at a regional level.  I've always credited her ability to swim fast on her calisthenics and cheerleading training.  Broad shoulders and strong arms.

Our boy on the other hand has never been encouraged to dive in the deep end at the swimming carnival and complete a lap. Where his sister wanted to do it, he's never shown any interest.  So we haven't pushed him.  It's just not his thing.

It's never concerned us because he's fantastic in the water! He's very confident in the pool and in the ocean. He'll dive off the 5 metre tower at Civic Pool and sink to its depths, plus he'll hang out in the waves and surf at the coast all summer long. He's just never had to swim any great distance.

Which is troubling me.  If he got caught in a rip at the beach, how long could he swim to survive?

We've been going to the pool recently to swim laps.  We've encouraged him to do at least four laps each visit (which is about once a fortnight).  And he does them, but he needs to stop and dog paddle for a while before he continues down the lane.  He takes after me in that regard. Lap swimming doesn't come easily for us.

Yet he still signed on for a 50 metre race today.

Who are we kidding? I think you know me well enough by now to realise he didn't sign up for anything.  I am the one that is pushing him in the deep end.

Not to win races, but to challenge himself to get to the other end.

But there's such a fine line between challenging our kids to believe in themselves and pushing them.

With all those people watching and cheering him on, I am hoping the adrenalin will kick in and he can prove to himself what I already know.  That he is stronger than he realises.

He's nervous.

I'm nervous for him.

Have I done the right thing?

Have you ever pushed your kids in the deep end?

How well can your kids swim? 


  1. It's hard, isn't it? A constant question of applying the right level of pressure. I think it's ok to encourage kids to find their boundaries- I think you've done the right thing!

  2. Swimming carnivals - do my head in. Kids can swim the length but slowly - they go in it and I cheer as if they're close to the podium...then there's a whole lot of waiting going on....

  3. I love that Leanne. It's so about challenging them and not pushing them absolutely! We've tried swim lessons and the kids aren't overly interested. This morning I woke up in a panic after having a dream that my toddlers had drowned which was a subtle reminder to get them back into swimming lessons. Living in Australia, we have a duty of care to teach our kids to swim. Wishing your boy a great race today. He'll nail it and yep you made the right decision. x

  4. What a great little boy you have... He has taken the challenge by the horns and swimming with it. Good on you for encouraging him

  5. It is such a hard decision to know when to push your kids and when to leave them be to find their own way. I hope he does it and it boosts his confidence.

  6. We had ours last week, and Taylah was nervous for the first time. In Darwin we did a lot more swimming, because we had a pool, but here, our swimming is pretty much chasing waves at the beach. It's different.
    I hope he does well. You never know, it might spark a whole new desire for him!

  7. All my three can swim unaided but haven't put my oldest to the 50m test, we'll see how she goes at school! It's tough on kids those carnivals though as not everyone is a strong swimmer. Although I am an advocate that everyone learns to be, especially in Australia!

  8. I think kids are all clever at something, maybe even a couple of somethings, and it's ok to not be so good at other things. It's a fine line, knowing how hard and when to push and when to say "that's not your thing, and that's fine." I always hated school swimming carnivals. My son is doing soccer and tennis, I'm not adding swimming to it too. He can swim in a pool, and he's fine with waves at the beach. And you know, it's ok if that's it. x

  9. I think it's great that he's going to give it a go. You will have to let us know how he goes. :)

  10. Good on him for having a go, Leanne. It's so hard to know how hard to push them, isn't it?

  11. I think the important thing is he isn't complete against the idea. Maybe he has quietly wanted to but just needed that extra push. I hope it all goes well!! good luck!


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