Baby swimming up to pre-school years:
Baby swimming or water safety is one of the most important life skills any mother could give their child. We would have loved to teach Monica to swim before she could walk, but due to her condition and our battle with it, she only did water safety and learn to swim from the age of 19 months.
Monica Botha was born on 6 March 2007 in Amanzimtoti Kwazulu Natal South Africa. Her love for the water was clear from a very young age. Growing up in a tropical climate, meant heat and humidity. When she was a baby, we did not have a pool, so we made a plan and this video clip now serves as her first swim in the baby pool. Note how dad is encouraging her to kick!!
Swimming from 18 months (Baby) to Pre-school:
The first 5 years were not easy for us as little Monica was quite ill – she suffered from chronic pneumonia and went to the hospital a lot (talking about at least once a month or two months for 4 days due to chest infections overnight developing into pneumonia). Regardless of this battle, we soldiered on and baby swimming was a huge part of her treatment as we tried to strengthen her lungs.
Monica walked at 9 months and mom started running after her….We moved from a one bedroom flat into a house with a netted pool. The one day, mom was busy in the house and saw how Monica monkey walked on hands and feet across the netted pool. Nearly having a heart attack, we decided that we should teach her to swim as it is clear that we are not going to keep this child from the water. As soon as the water was warm enough, dad took Monica for her first water safety and baby swimming lesson. Her love for the water was confirmed.
In 2009 (aged 2 years), Monica started with some swimming lessons but due to illness, we had to take a break. We thought that it might be better to find an indoor heated pool and tried water safety classes at a local swim pool but being indoors did not make much difference – she still took ill very quickly. This did not break her, neither our spirit and when the weather was good and Monica healthy, she enjoyed her swimming.
The indoor swimming pool where Monica did some baby swimming and water safety.
We were battling so much to keep her healthy with healthy eating habits and exercise, that we did not notice how fast she learned and grew confident in the water. It is only now, in hindsight that we realize how early she developed this incredible love for water.
At the age of 3, Monica was exposed for the first time to a swim meet at one of the local schools. She completed her first 25 meters with the aid of an a friend and experienced level swimmer.
We will always remember that evening. Summer, aged 3 and a very happy and confident Monica.