194 Withers Street, #1, Guest Written by Jim:
Last Sunday (Father’s Day) Van and I attended our very first swim class. Along with two other dads and their respective infants, we hopped into the heated pool of a luxury Williamsburg condominium for our first AquaBeba session.
With the focus on allowing children to become comfortable in the water (as opposed to the rather dire sink-or-swim methodology so many of us experienced growing up), the 5-week program is run by Danilo Krvavac, an affable Serbian (and Olympic swimmer) who lives in Williamsburg with his wife and young daughter.
Extremely patient and full of useful techniques to make the experience as easy as possible for children (maintaining parent-to-baby eye contact throughout the class, walking backwards in the pool so your child always feels like they’re moving forward, saying your child’s name to maintain focus while you ‘condition’ them to become more comfortable with water flowing over their head, offering toys to distract and swim to… the list goes on and on), the class provides a tranquil, supportive place for children to develop swimming skills.
Fleeting recollections of swimming lessons I endured years and years ago at a Southern Connecticut YMCA conjure up unpleasant images of aggressive swim coaches dunking my head underwater–the exact kind of trauma Danilo seeks to avoid. In fact, poor Van (who had been having a hard time teething all week) just wasn’t in the mood for the final submersion exercises, something that would have only irked the swimming instructors of my youth and driven them to more aggressive tactics–but Danilo was totally cool, instantly recognizing that my poor baby was stressed enough and that the last thing he needed was to go under water. Maybe next week.
If you live in the area and are thinking about teaching your child to swim one day please take my advice and consider enrolling in this class. In fact, Aqua Beba offers pre-natal classes for pregnant ladies to just float around in so you don’t even have to have a baby (yet) to sign up.
One of the most compelling reasons to do so is safety: the sooner your child is comfortable in the water, the better; but another good reason to start your child early is that very young babies still have breath-holding reflexes from their days in the womb and Danilo can leverage this innate ability in such a way that children have a much, much easier time learning how hold their breath under water.
And besides, it’s hard to imagine a more enjoyable Sunday morning than one spent in a heated pool with your splashy baby.