The Joy of Swimming


Swimming has always been my sport- Water is my element.  It’s where I feel comfortable and in a way free…in fact I love most watersports- on, in or below the water.

My parents tell the story of taking me to the Croatian coast when I was just 7 months old: As I sat in the water, my bottom gently washed by the lapping waves of the mild Adriatic, I threw my first mayor tantrum when they tried to take me out. It was what got me crawling: After they put me on a large beach towel under the parasol I was so determined to get back to the water that I started crawling.

The next anecdote is from when I was 4 years old: on a cold November day I fell into the Danube from a pontoon, after bopping up and down (… you know as people drowning do). My parents spotted me just in time, grabbed me by my hair and hoisted me out of the icy water. After drying off and a fresh change of clothes I was by the water as if nothing happened, no fear whatsoever! …my parents soon enrolled me in swimming classes after this incident.

I mastered swimming very quickly, I was a natural. Yet despite my many pleas my parents refused to allow me to swim competitively, coming up with all sorts of excuses about how it ruins a young body, impacts on studies. To this day it is something I greatly regret, especially with Hungary’s amazing results in swimming (my generation who I could’ve trialled against- Darnyi, Egerszegi to name just two legends.)

So you see I love water! This has transcended to my pregnancies too- I have laboured both previous times in water and given birth in a birthing pool once before. (It is the one thing I’m fixated on in this pregnancy too- waterbirth)

Both Littlins have inherited my love of water. We took Little Miss swimming from when she was just 6 weeks old. This lapsed once Little Man was born and I never managed to take him that young, because of the rules of how many children one parent can have at any one time.

Swimming safety teaching swimming skills early love of water

2 year old Little Man jumping fearlessly into the water off the sailing yacht in the middle of a very large lake

Last summer, when sailing, we realised that we urgently need to teach both children to swim, as they are fearless around water. In the February holidays I enrolled them in daily swim sessions for a week during which they almost got it. They now have strong foundations and another week or so and they will be swimming.

Swimming is one of the few sports open to all ages and abilities. I love going as a family and splashing about, as much as I love going on my own and doing lengths, just me with my thoughts and the rhythm of my breathing.

Do you swim regularly? Have you tried to instil that passion to your children too?


This post was inspired by  the BritMums Joy of Swimming Competition, sponsored by British Gas. Why don’t you join too and share your stories about swimming?!

Also take advantage of the British Gas Free Swims for Britain programme, simply visit  British Gas now to swim for free.  The offer is valid until 30th August 2012.



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  1. I didn’t swim until recently and taught myself off the internet, yes crazy I know, but I’d done lesson and they never worked. So I printed off how to swim and learned it that way. x
    Susan Mann recently posted…The Funny Things My Children Say…My Profile

  2. That’s sad they put you off doing competitive swimming.

    We live in Singapore and so my children swim every day. They love it. My 4 year old will probably start team swimming next year.
    21st Century Mummy recently posted…The water babiesMy Profile

    • Lucky kids! We spent a couple of years in India and it was fantastic to have the pool (and the hot weather) on our doorstep.

  3. We do swim regularly. But I’m from a warmer climate and grew up with swimming pools. My husband is from Scotland, and his story is very different form mine.
    Susanna recently posted…A Modern Mother’s Super Easy Med-Inspired Fish StewMy Profile

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