My girls took a three-day refresher swim course this past week at the YMCA.
Initially, my husband and I signed them up and picked their classes based on what we know about their swimming abilities. They are both strong swimmers but need work on their various strokes.
After the first day in swim camp, both girls were sort of "demoted" and put into classes with much younger kids.
On the third day, both girls were promoted into the higher classes again. It turns out that the real problem was not ever with their swimming ability but instead, with their understanding of what the various strokes were CALLED. In the North, what we Southerners call "Freestyle" is called "Front Crawl." And what we call "Backstroke" is called "Back Crawl." Once we got the language issue worked out, both girls were fine. (Jane, 9, said that her instructor asked her to do a "back float," but Jane heard "back FLIP," so she did one. The teacher said, "Well, I said, 'back FLOAT,' but that was really impressive!") I think maybe I could have helped facilitate this issue but, as seems to be the case any time anyone is teaching my children anything in New York, parents were not allowed in the lessons.
Until the third day, when we were allowed to come in and watch. It was at least 800 degrees in that pool area. (At one point, the woman next to me turned to me and said, "Okay, I have to wash my bra now." I knew EXACTLY what she meant.) Also in the pool area, this sign was posted: