“At first, I walked her through what I wanted her to do, showed her how to put her face in the water and hold her breath. Eventually, as she moved into the water without me, she used the water pole to hold onto, then lifted her legs and pushed away.
“She learned how to trust the water, a huge feat for her, and I had her in the deep end, a big step for her, by her third or fourth lesson. She’s doing really well, is able to swim freestyle for half the pool, about 20 meters. When she gets tired, she can roll onto her back and swim the backstroke. She’s done that many times back and forth, about 300 meters.”
Now, after two lessons a week for five weeks, her mother is relaxed in the water, can swim, then roll over onto her back in the deep end with just a noodle supporting her. “She’s so relaxed that she looks like she’s sleeping,” says Burns, “but now she’s more focused on endurance.”
“At first, I didn’t want to get my head in the water,” said Dupree. “I’ve always been terrified of the water, and, in our first class, she had to keep reminding me that she was there, while I said ‘I’m going to drown.’”
“I’m thankful she was so patient with me, because she’s taught me how to float, blow bubbles, and now, I’m very comfortable in the water, relaxing instead of fighting.”
Her husband, Daniel, escorts her to Dabney Pool on Princeton Drive in northwest Dayton for her lessons and got in the pool with her a few times, “but I prefer walking, so I usually just walk in the neighborhood while she had her lesson,” he said.
“I’m impressed with her success. She’s always wanted to swim, and tried before, but she was serious this time. I’m happy for her because she does so many things well, but swimming was something that mystified her. I’m really proud of her, that she stuck with it this time.”
According to Burns , the Villages’ pools are only about 4 feet deep, so there’s no fear of her drowning there now, “but she’s been on a boat and needs to swim in case of an accident. Now, she can relax in the water if something happens - it was just a process of building her confidence.”
Her mother agrees. “We made sure both of our daughters got in the water at 2 and learned to swim, but I was terrified,” she said. “Now, I wish I’d been swimming when I was younger, but this was my second chance.”
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