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Seahorse Level- British Swim School

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.

Level: Seahorse

Beginner Water Survival: 18 Months to 36 Months
(4 Children Max)

The instructor works one-on-one with each child following the same structure and emphasis on water survival as the Swimboree class. While the child is in the water, parents sit on the pool deck and actively participate in their child’s lesson. Students must meet Swimboree goals in order to enroll in Seahorse.

Caroline is moving through the swim levels quickly and it’s been super impressive to watch. Her one hold up at the swimboree level, really seemed to be having me in the pool with her. She follows instructions well when I’m working with her, but then really preferred to work with me. She’d tolerate working with the instructor, but since I was right there, she defaulted to wanting Mama and giving in to some of her fears while I was around. We took the plunge and did a trial class of the next level (Seahorse). She rocked it and did absolutely amazing! I was thrilled to see her do so well. 3 classes into it now, and she’s really thriving and getting her skills down!

A look at all of their programs can be found at here. 

The Lesson

Each level so far has had it’s uniqueness to it. Tadpole class being super focused on fun and water acclimation, Swimboree focusing more on the skills but with the parent in the water, and Seahorse is 100% focused on skills and independence. Caroline thrives at each new level. With the Seahorse level, the children sit on the side of the pool with their feet in the water (the class size maximum is 4 children). The instructor works one on one with them, while the other children wait patiently on the side of the pool for their turn. Parents typically stand behind their child just to be another set of eyes for safety at this age. Children learn and perfect getting in and out of the pool without the use of stairs or ladders, which I really appreciate from a safety standpoint!

These are the skills that are being focused on:

Independent back floating
At this level they are very focused on perfecting the “starfish” or back float. Children are expected to spread their arms and legs out straight and relaxed, and are working towards doing this independently. The instructor is able to slowly work their way from holding the child’s shoulders and providing support to the child’s head, to simply holding the child’s head with their hands, to a full independent back float. 

Today Caroline did a few seconds of a completely independent back float! I was so amazed to see this. She really dislikes getting water on her face, so if this happens it is her one hold up and causes her to want to wipe her eyes, and then the back float is over. In general though if we can get her to move past the issue of water on her face, she can do an independent float! She’s very calm and relaxes her arms and legs with a little instruction to do so. She’s 100% ok if the instructor is just barely holding her head, which is already huge improvement. I expect her to quickly catch on to independent floating!

Independent underwater rollover and float
Children are submerged underwater, rolled over, and then instructed to do a back float. 

As mentioned above, Caroline’s one hold up, is water on her face. She hates it. So, when she is submerged underwater, and then needs to do a back float, she tries to insert some eye wiping, which of course prevents her from doing this move independently. She can do this with her instructor fairly well, but we definitely need to work on her desire to wipe her face. 

Push from wall + rollover
So far, I’ve only witnessed a push from the wall into a back float. I’m assuming we have not yet practiced this skill in her class. 

Caroline is great at hanging on the pool wall, pushing out and doing an assisted float. I think this has actually helped her to do a more independent back float, since the instructor starts with hands directly on her head, instead of holding her, putting her into position, and then attempting to move their hands back. She’s really gained a lot of independence this way, and I think it’s been very beneficial to her back floating skills!

Jump + roll + float for 20 seconds independently
This skill is exactly as it sounds- children stand on the edge of the pool, jump in, and roll into a back float. The jumping rolling is assisted so far, and then the back float is encouraged to be independent.

A trick that we were told to teach Caroline, is to hum while she jumps in. Caroline gets water up her nose as she jumps in. Unfortunately, she is NOT taking to me teaching her how to hum LOL! We’ll keep working on this. She does love to jump in, though, and then does well with practicing her back float (once she wipes her eyes).

Independence from parents
Children sit on the side of the pool and are expected to wait patiently for their turn. Parents do not sit with them, and are not in the pool. 

Caroline is simply thriving with me not at her side. She waits patiently for her turn, she follows instructions better than she did when I was in the pool, and she’s incredibly focused. Rarely does she turn around and engage with me. Usually she’s watching as the other children practice their skills. She is 100% focused on her lesson, which is pretty fun to watch!

Caroline is really loving this class. No longer does she hesitate with skills like going underwater. She is raring to go and is listening to her instructor very well. Today she even had a different instructor (Mr. Chase instead of Ms. Christine). While she took a few minutes to warm up to him, she did follow his instructions well once she was in the water with him. She’s really started to perfect her back float and gain a lot of independence with it. Today she did a few seconds all on her own. If she ever forgets to relax her arms, or not straighten her legs, the instructor simply reminds her and she is on top of making the correction. She’s simply thriving at this level.

Well I’m thrilled for two reasons. 1- My little girl is thriving. There is no other way to put it. She loves her lessons and is progressing quickly. It is exciting to watch, and I’m just continuing to be impressed every single week. I am impressed with the instructors, I’m impressed with how quickly Caroline is learning, and I’m impressed with the British Swim School program in general. 2- I don’t have to be in the water anymore! While I thoroughly enjoyed swimming with my girl, I really just enjoy watching her even more.

Caroline is in her 3rd month at the British Swim School, and she’s already at her 3rd level. I suspect we’ll be at this level the longest out of the 3 levels so far, as she really has to gain independence in the water now. She’s already starting to show signs of readiness, though, so she might surprise me and just blow through this level as well. 

My only hesitation with starting British Swim School- was admittedly the price. Now, I can honestly say that you get your money’s worth with this program. It is not inexpensive like the rec center programs. It is also not the mommy and me playdate that many of my friends describe from those rec center programs. We are getting legit swim classes at a super young age, and my daughter is learning valuable skills. Her progression is unreal, and I really am extremely happy that we’ve been able to enroll her in such a fabulous program.

Here’s my assessment of her with respect to the Seahorse goals:

Goals of the Seahorse class:
– Independent back floating  Needs work
– Independent underwater rollover + float  Needs work
– Push from wall + roll over  Needs work
– Jump + roll + float for 20 sec independently   Needs work
– Independence from parents    Completed

Honestly, as I keep saying, Caroline just needs to move past her fear of water on her face. That’s it. Once she does that, everything above is going to change completed pretty quickly. She’s really eager to perfect her skills, and I can see the determination and focus on her face. I know she’ll be flying through these goals once she sees that water on her face is an ok thing!

Special $15 Credit
If you live in Montgomery County or Frederick County, Maryland, and are interested in signing up for your first lesson, I am really excited to announce that you can receive a $15 credit towards your account just by mentioning my full name: Katrina Villegas! The information for our central Maryland British Swim Schools can all be found at this link. And not to worry if you live elsewhere, there are British Swim Schools ALL over the US!

Other Posts of Interest:

British Swim School- Tadpole class (level 1)

British Swim School- Swimboree  (level 2)

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