We went to the pool on Sunday and my daughter got to show off her new mad swimming skillz. She is just learning to swim at camp this summer and seems to be progressing very quickly. She just figured out how to swim underwater this past week and can already manage lots of fancy tricks and can hold her breath for vast time periods (12+ seconds)! We all had a great time at the pool. It was wonderful to see her really enjoying herself. She has learned so much in such a short time. It was only last summer that she was clinging to us in the pool and still afraid of getting her face wet. I am looking forward to our upcoming trip out to the Island where she can try swimming in the salty bay.
I am very excited for her. I distinctly remember when I started to learn to swim underwater and what a big deal it was for me. My parents were not swimmers. My mother doesn’t know how to swim and barely goes in the water above her knees. My father was always full of excuses when you asked him to come in the water. He would tell you how he didn’t want to get his hair or ears wet. Getting them to play with you in a pool was like herding cats. When I started to swim underwater I could entertain myself in the pool for a long time. Even though we only swim in places staffed with Lifeguards we don’t let Piper “swim” by herself in even the shallowest of water. It’s amazing to me how much the times have changed. If I had to wait for one of my parents to take me in the water every time I never would have learned to swim at all. No one taught me to formally swim and I never learned to do any strokes. But when I was underwater I could swim really well. When I started to go to sleep-away camp I found that I had to bump up my swimming skills. We all swam in a lake and you needed to prove yourself before you could go any further than the first two roped off sections. There was a floating dock out in the deep water (about 12 feet probably) that was the ultimate destination for campers and counselors alike. However, you had to pass swimming tests in the two shallower sections before you were allowed to even attempt the rigorous test for the dock section. The final test involved an exhaustive swim (for me) in open water to get to the dock and back and then several minutes of treading water. I wanted to be able to swim out to the dock so badly but didn’t pass the test until my second summer at camp. This was a great accomplishment for me. Having access to the dock also meant that you could take canoes out on the lake for tipping. My friends and I enjoyed this particular activity immensely. I especially liked the echo-y sound your voice made when you were inside the space created by the overturned canoe on the surface of the water.
We tried to go to the pool two weeks ago but when we got there we found that it was closed for a swim meet. Mr. Awesome cleverly suggested that we try to see if there was still room in the parking lot at Lake Minnewaska. Lake Minnewaska is part of the Minnewaska State Park Preserve and is a gorgeous lake surrounded by cliffs and miles of hiking trails. Luckily we got there just as they were opening the lake for swimming and didn’t have to park too far away. We didn’t expect to have to do any hiking and were all wearing flip flops. It was so wonderful to get to swim in a lake again. The water was so clean and felt so soft and light as you moved your hands through it. It smelled good. It has been so hot around here lately that it wasn’t too cold either, just cool enough to be delightfully refreshing. Piper got to swim and really enjoyed it but was a little nervous about putting her head under the water in the darker-than-the-pool lake water. It was such a special treat and one I hope we get to do again before the summer ends.
I told my daughter that this was going to be her best summer ever and I think I was right.