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British Swim School- Mastering the Starfish

We’ve now had our daughter, Caroline, enrolled with British Swim School for just over a year. She started last summer at the Tadpole level, when she was 2.5 years old. She’s now 3.5 years old, and she’s finally mastered her starfish. Mama couldn’t me more proud, and we can’t wait to see her next steps here at British Swim School!

British Swim School- Caroline masters the starfish (back float)



In exchange for an honest review on this blog, British Swim School of Central MD has provided my family with free swim lessons. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

**See below for an enrollment special!

British Swim School- Caroline has mastered her starfish!

We are currently in transition between houses. As that happens, we are in an apartment, and are lucky to have access to a pool every single day. I knew full well we’d be wanting to take advantage of this, to help Caroline succeed to the best of her ability with her classes at British Swim School.

We have a rule when we go to the pool…

We have to practice swim class before she gets playtime in the pool. We continue the practice until she does her best. If she’s not focused, or not listening well, or being silly about it, we stop. We have left the pool and gone home without playtime for this reason. I hate being that mom, but when we have access to a pool so frequently as we do right now, I know I can be. And…the number one thing is safety, not fun. And so, we practice, practice, practice. 


British Swim School- Caroline masters the starfish (back float)

For the most part, Caroline really enjoys practicing swim class. She even practices swim class when she’s in the bath. She is the instructor, of course, and she finds a bunch of bath toys to sit on the edge of the tub to represent the children in her class. In the pool she does very well with me.

I channel my inner Ms. Kimmie and try to mimic the class and techniques that she uses as exact as I can. I always pay attention during class- one, to see how well Caroline is doing, and two, so I can learn more instructor moves! Check out the video below to see one of our home practice sessions in action!

After practicing her starfish and doing her best, Caroline gets free play. She always loves the freedom of her puddle jumper.

We are the only ones at the pool having any sort of non-playtime, so I always feel a little bad about it, but I know that this time is valuable practice for our daughter.

The Month of August with British Swim School

We got super unlucky with classes during the month of August. It just so happened that on both of Caroline’s class days this month, there was an issue with the pool. This rarely happens, but when it does class is cancelled. We live in Frederick, so by the time we are notified of the cancellation, we are either there or well on our way.

No big deal, and British Swim School always offers class makeups for random cancellations like this. For a 3 year old, however, that is all ready to go and in her swimsuit, it’s a major disappointment. Caroline was such a trooper this month and went with the flow.

No tears, no frustration. Just an amazing acceptance of the situation at hand. I was so impressed with her reaction to the circumstance, that I decided we’d make the trek home and use the apartment pool, since she was ready to go. My Mama heart didn’t want to let her down.

On the second week of missed class this week, I decided to really do a good swim lesson at home as a replacement.

Caroline has known how to float for quite some time. She just won’t. You let go, and the minute she feels it she drops her belly down and starts kicking. She wasn’t doing her best, and I knew she was getting away with it. I decided to do a VERY focused lesson. There was going to be no playtime, and no giving in, if she didn’t give it a really good shot this time.

We did the starfish over and over and over. We were the only ones at the pool and we took full advantage.

British Swim School- Caroline masters the starfish (back float)

I reminded Caroline to trust me. I reminded her that she had the capability to do this float. I reminded her to keep her belly up, and to stay still like a frozen popsicle. We worked hard. Her at her float, and me at my ability to be consistent and keep her focused.

She was pumped and ready to do her float. Before class she’d told me that “this was the day”. So when class was cancelled, I tried to keep that spirit alive.

I can’t tell you how many floats she did. I can tell you that she did her absolute best on this day, however. Her hard work paid off, and she succeeded at doing her float. Multiple times!

She doesn’t like songs or silly fun when she’s practicing- this girl likes to count and know how good she’s going. And so, I counted. I made it to 10. Then I made it to 20. Then 30. Then 60! Not only was she floating on her own, she was able to save her floats from going under. If her belly starts to drop, she can get it back up.

We celebrated so hard! We screamed excited screams, and we high fived, and hugged, and laughed. We went out to ice cream that night to celebrate! We took Daddy the next day to show him, and we went again a few days after that. She takes a couple of tries to warm up, but she then does amazing floats. She has the confidence now of succeeding, and she does it so well. I’ve been able to count to 70!

British Swim School- Caroline masters the starfish (back float)- ice cream celebration

As a reward, I’ve let her attempt to swim back to the wall, and from the wall to me. She’s been practicing her torpedo’s as well. She has  hard time doing that completely independently, as she isn’t quite getting her legs up out from under her yet. But boy is she trying hard.

The last time I took her, she didn’t even want to use her puddle jumper. She wanted to do more and more and more- PRACTICE! Caroline wants to swim so badly, and she knows that she is SO close to being able to do so.

This week in swim class, she was a bit too excited about showing Ms. Kimmie her new skills. For now she’s apparently keeping this achievement in the family LOL!

Video of One of Our Home Practice Swim Lessons


My Mama Lesson

Guys, here’s the brutally honest portion of my post: I am pretty confident that, had we been full paying customers for these lessons… I may have stopped at some point over the last year.

I might have been inclined to stop when Caroline was in her fearful stage. I might have been inclined to stop when she was in her silly unfocused phase and seemingly wasting the class time away. I might have been inclined to stop when we weren’t seeing progression through the levels. I can’t say for sure what I would have done.

I know I value the concept of not giving up. I know I value the determination, the focus, and all of the mental skills that Caroline has gained through these swim lessons. I’m also human and value seeing results if I’m paying for something, however. LOL! So, I know that I might have been inclined to stop at one or any of those points.

I am so glad we kept Caroline in for this past year. I am so glad that I didn’t give up- on her, or on the program itself. This program isn’t like any other. Your child doesn’t graduate a level just because it’s the end of a session. Your child doesn’t just keep moving up because of their age.

No. Progress is the responsibility of your child. Progress is achieved by hard work, a lot of focus, and actually learning the skills. For some children that’s going to happen faster than others. And for the others, they WILL get there. They will rise to the challenge when they are ready. They will. And in the meantime, they are learning such valuable lessons about themselves and what it means to really try their best.

So, for the parents out there that might be inclined to stop soon- I encourage you to have confidence in the program. Have confidence in your child. It is NOT money wasted. The results will come. I promise. I’ve seen it firsthand.

Caroline has been in the British Swim School for just over a year. She’s 3.5 years old. She’s pushing herself, she’s enjoying herself, and she’s gaining confidence with every step. I cannot wait to see what is to come with her future at British Swim School.

Enrollment Special for YOU with British Swim School:

Enrollment Special 20% off  

If you are interested in signing up with British Swim School here in Montgomery County, MD, I am really excited to announce that you can receive 20% off your first 4 lessons! When you call to enroll, use the code #MAMAS18.  The information for our central Maryland British Swim Schools can all be found at this link.


Other Posts About Our British Swim School Experiences:

First Class Tadpole Level- British Swim School

Swimboree Level- British Swim School

Seahorse Level- British Swim School

British Swim School- An Interview with Caroline’s Instructor

British Swim School- Seahorse Class Update & an Interview with Jared

British Swim School- A Focus on Safety First

British Swim School- Mama Pushed Too Hard (oops) and an Interview With Ms. Kimmie

British Swim School- Pushing Through Challenges at Swim Class

British Swim School- Caroline is a Minnow!

British Swim School- A Very Determined, Yet Silly Minnow

British Swim School- A Love of Floating

British Swim School- Toddler Fears

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