As a mother of two girls I’ve been to my fair share of swimming pools, gymnasiums, soccer fields, dance studios, and ski lessons. You name it- we’ve probably tried it. As a child, I had parents who had me in every activity and sport that they could think of. Sports kept me busy, they gave me discipline and they kept me out of trouble.
I am instilling these same values in my children. I would love for them to find a sport that they love and stick with it through high school. Since they are only 4 and 7 we are still trying to figure out which sports and activities each girl loves the most. Right now, it is swimming and gymnastics.
I had my girls begin swimming lessons when they were 1 ½ and 4. We tried a local swim school and the girls seemed to like it. The weekly lessons were pricey and they were based on a ratio of 4:1 student to instructor ratio.
My girls spent more time sitting on the side of the pool watching their peers than they did in the water. Since the lessons were only 30 minutes long, I calculated that each child was only in the water for a total of about 7 minutes. So basically, I was paying about $23 per lesson for my child to have 7 minutes of broken up instruction. The girls only swam halfway across the width of the pool because there were so many children in the water. At any given time, I would say there were 10 moms, 10 babies, 8 instructors and 30 kids swimming simultaneously in the water. It was really hard to pay attention to where my children were. They rotated around, taking turns swimming about 30 seconds at a time.
Then there was the shower situation.
After the lessons were finished, it was a mad race to get girls from the pool to the shower. I feel like people took their sweet time in the shower while we would wait in the freezing cold for our turn.
The experience for me wasn’t pleasant, but my girls liked it so I toughed it out. Finally, as the weather began to cool off, I told the girls that we were going to take a break from swimming for the winter months. Our insanely long contract expired so we were off the hook.
Fast forward a few months and my friend invited us to join her for an open swim at a new swim academy called Bridgewater Swim Academy. The pool is conveniently located in these adorable office buildings off of West Huffaker and Country Estates Circle.
You would never know that there was an oasis hidden inside. I immediately fell in love with the place. It is clean and bright with beautiful geometric art work and amazing energy.
My girls jumped right into the 90-degree water and had a blast. The owner, Holly Sprague, greeted us with open arms and a big smile on her face. She got in the water with the girls and began giving them suggestions on proper swim technique and blowing bubbles. She was shocked when the girls didn’t know what “streamline” was, or how to blow bubbles. As a former University of Oregon swimmer, Holly’s emphasis is on safety skills and excellent swimming technique and her passion is swimming and instruction. The girls fell in love with Holly and with the pool so I asked to schedule some lessons.
At Bridgewater, the lessons are $360 for 8 private lessons which is about $45 per lesson (1:1 ratio). For children who have mastered self-rescue techniques the cost is $220 for 8 semi-private lessons which ends up being $27.50 (I was paying $23.00 per lesson at the other swim school, I was on a contract, and they were only in the water about 7 minutes per lesson).
Because the children are in the water for the entire 30 minutes, they are advancing and excelling at lightning speed. Within the course of just a few lessons, my daughters had mastered the safety techniques and technical skills necessary to self-rescue and swim with excellent technique. I could literally throw my 4-year-old in a 10-foot-deep pool and she could turn to her back and self-rescue over to the wall without fear. This skill is so important!
Childhood drowning is a serious issue and as a mother it is important to me that my children are excellent swimmers and are not fearful of the water. A child can learn to swim very quickly at Bridgewater. Hannah, my 7-year-old, previously had poor technique. After 4 lessons, she is swimming almost perfect freestyle stroke and knows when to breath and how to blow bubbles and self-rescue. She will be swim-team ready after her final session. I’ve never had to wait in line to get the girls showered. Having private instruction, I saved us a tremendous amount of time and money in the long run.
I love the family feeling of Bridgewater Swim Academy and I invite my fellow moms to see what Bridgewater is all about.
Sarah Herndon is a mother to two girls, Hannah, age 7 and Holly, age 4 an a soon-to-be wife. She was born and raised in Reno and attended UNR. She loves skiing, snowboarding and Lake Tahoe. Sarah is a cancer survivor and advocate for healthy nutrition especially for those with chronic illness.