lessons in swim school land

if I have one regret since having little ones – or I should say if I’ve learnt anything along the way – well it’s that when you have a good swim school stay there. Oh and start them swimming early. Keira started swimming as a baby and we kept it up but when the twins arrived it all just got too hard lugging 2 capsules in with me so I stopped. When I tried to get back in to the school, the waiting lists were so long that they were closed off at the 2 branches near me and weren’t even taking names.
ready for swimvac

So we went somewhere else and paid our money but almost a year later and the twins at 3 1/2 were still in a mum and bubs class. It was frustrating and we would ask to have them moved up but there was always a reason why. So I started Elodie at the school I wanted to get into and put all the kids into their holiday swim school. And I wrote complaint letters to the old swim school about how the twins were assessed as being more than capable of being on their own in a preschool class. They never bothered to get back to me.
twinnies are swimming

I got the bigger kids into another branch of the good swim school and every week I asked about spots for the others at the one near me. And I just kept asking. I learnt not to ask the older lady who always gave me a flat out no. And this week I’ve managed to get all 4 going to the same swim school that I really wanted.
finn gets out of the pool
And even better. Maybe it was because I was asking at the desk surrounded by all 4 kids jumping around like crazy but not only did the lovely lady find me spots but they got the twins into the same class AND at the same time as Elodie. Talk about winning the lottery.
getting ready for freestyle
And in just one week of intensive lessons the twins are picking up objects from the bottom of the pool, swimming to the teacher and back to the wall and jumping in on their own. Keira is swimming freestyle beautifully and getting better every lesson. They are being ‘gently’ pushed much further than they ever were at the crappy swim school and we are never leaving again.
keira does freestyle

And baby number 5 will start lessons as soon as Elodie is in her own class. Lesson learnt. The hard way.
elodie supervises


  1. with 3 under 3 we also didn’t start lessons until the older 2 could go in alone – waiting didn’t hurt their skills though.

    i also just got lucky – 5:30 & 6pm on a friday was the only time i could get in after a year’s break (ugh) finally after our week in the pool in fiji E went up a level and i managed to get all 3 in lessons at the exact same time! yay! now all i need to do is get a day other than friday lol

  2. I’d love to know which swim school this is. If you don’t want it public, if you could send me an FB message or an email that would be appreciated.

  3. I have had the same problem with a certain Brookvale swimming class. I won’t mention any names but the teachers there, I felt, lacked patience with my little ones and we had no progress with our son in years! I can’t be 100% sure that one teacher didn’t push my little one under water in frustration, I was furious! In the end I pulled them out and we bought a house with a pool. Since November they are all swimming really well. But you are so right, if you find a good swim school, stick with it, they are sooooooo hard to find.


  4. I honestly couldn’t agree more!

  5. Call me crazy, but with four little ones and a swimming pool in my backyard, I would have been making enquiries about getting someone to come to my home and teach them there. How much easier would that have been?

    I am happy that my big boys are now old enough to go in the lessons without me (they allow this at 3 and a half at our swim school) and have finally got them into a week-day class at the same time (AWESOME) that fits around kinder etc. I was totally over the late Saturday morning classes that made it difficult for us do anything else. We got the same run-around, every term. The term after Amelie was born there was and hour and a half between the boys lessons, so M was taking one, bringing him home and then taking the other one. Ugh!

    I still have yet to get Amelie into classes, but I might wait until next year when Liam is at school.

    I think you’ve won the swimschool lotto getting them all in at once!

  6. Swimming lessons can be a nightmare! I have tried several places over the years with my elder two kids and have finally found the place that suits us (the local Council aquatic centre).

    I have seen more than enough crappy change rooms, disinteretsed teachers who just teach and don’t cater to the individual kids needs. Swimming lessons have turned me into a “soccor mum” at times! But you have to do what’s right for you and your family because you pay big bucks every term for lessons and if they’re not progressing then what’s the point, really?

    Glad you’re back at your swimming oasis! Next move, the Brady Bunch house!!

  7. gorgeous pic of Elodie.

  8. As a total non swimmer myself I made sure all of my 5 learnt to swim. We were lucky as we lived in rural tassie where there was a private pool and the owner was a swimming teacher, so no hassles getting them in! I think she charged $5 or so, also the local public pool offered lessons through the council which were also as cheap as chips,so maybe living in the country does have some benefits! Two swam at competition levels in inter school sports.

  9. Glad you got them all in. I must admit at my son’s last swimming carnival, it amazed me how many kids his age (9 at the time) could not competently swim 25 metres of freestyle. I understand that not everyone will be a champion swimmer, but living in Australia, as far as I’m concerned it’s an essential skill! As someone who use to teach swimming I’m also a big believer in the earlier the better!

    • We go to Annette kellerman in marrickiville Sydney and have a great tutor who knows my son is shy of dunking and doesn’t force him he also remembers their fab toys n likes and chats with them the classes or only3-4 kids and I recommend Stuart or Scott as rotors if you enrol there!!!

  10. We live in a small town and the only guy who was any good at swimming lesson for little people retired…just as my children were born…my eldest is 13 then we have a 10, 8, 6 and 1 year old, and my husband taught all of them to swim by the time they were two…my youngest this summer just gone was duck diving, and jumping off the edge… :-)…
    His patients in teaching them surprised me, I could never have done it…but we sort of had no other option, sending them to this weird mean crazy lady at our gym here, wasnt an option…. :-)…so glad you’ve finally had a win with the whole lessons things corrie xx p.s elodie looks gorgeous peeking over the pool edge xo

  11. Good job! Our local pool has closed for major renovations for the next year. The next pool is half aan hour away. I want the kids to have lessons, but I get sick of having to drive km’s just to do extra activities. Jacinta

  12. I’m so glad your effort finally paid off!

  13. Corrie, you wouldn’t be old enough to remember the Manly Swimming Baths, but I remember going to swimming classes there as a child.

    Yeeuuchh! It was an old wooden structure near Manly Wharf, basically a cage in the harbour.
    With seaweed (and other things) grabbing at my legs, I was scared out of my wits all the time.

    Thankfully (from my point of view), it had to be demolished after the king tides of 1974.

  14. Corrie, you wouldn’t be old enough to remember the Manly Swimming Baths, but I remember going to swimming classes there as a child.

    Yeeuuchh! It was an old wooden structure near Manly Wharf, basically a cage in the harbour.
    With seaweed (and other things) grabbing at my legs, I was scared out of my wits all the time.

    Thankfully (from my point of view), it had to be demolished after the king tides of 1974.

  15. I afree with starting early, my kids are not swimmers. The eldest was plagued with ear infections and hated swimming as he couldn’t wear his glasses, my 2nd wouldn’t get in as he could see his brother crying then when I had number 3 I really couldn’t make myself do it! So school came around and we started again, lessons at the beach so much more fun but they are not swimmers, none of them really enjoy it as a sport but happy to get in and play, lessons starting again tomorrow but in a pool so we will see where there at.

  16. I know what you mean by the stress of getting kids into swimming lessons. I ended up finding private lessons as with our moves we kept dropping out and needing to restart again in a new area. Some places had no pool. But you are right – you have to advocate for your kids and a bad instructor is worse than no lessons at all.

  17. I take my hat off to you managing with three of them in Swimvac. I’m a sissy and schedule our lessons on a Saturday so that Bayne can help.. I love Carlisle, and have learnt to be more assertive in requesting the better teachers and being wait listed for their classes.

  18. Olá.As minhas filhas aprenderam em praias e tinham medo de piscina,mesmo assim meu marido comprou uma de inflar bem pequena,e depois uma um pouco maior de fibra,e chegou construir uma de azulejos e nada.Quando meu irmão comprou um sítio que tinha uma bem grande e funda(quase olímpica)todas queriam entrar,o medo desapareceu por encanto…Combinei com meu irmão e contratamos uma professora de natação que era também recreadora,e daí em diante foi só alegria.Você teve essa oportunidade e fez o certo,todos juntos acabam se divertindo.Eloide linda nas pontas dos pés é o que há de mais gostoso.Deus abençoe a todos e beijos nas crianças lindas.

  19. Yeah – well done. It is a great swim school and you got the ladies at the front desk worked out. I always like to ask with all the kids with me too :)

  20. Its so hard in the timing with my three – can’t imagine having to deal with different swim schools!! Always an issue thought – either two hour wait between classes or for this time all at the same time but the little one’s class was fully booked out and he will stay in same class and give him harder things to do. At least its all at the same time. We also had a fabulous teacher for a long time whose daughter was an Olympian. She then saw us on the street a year after she left and was adamant ‘she should be doing nippers too!!!’..arrghh, luckily she already was! Just something else to add to the mix! Hope it all continues to work well for you.

  21. LOVE Finn’s face in the top pic! lol

  22. Good swimming lessons are hard to come by unfortunitly. Back in Australia we to struggled. Here in it is even worse! In Switzerland until the child is 5 there are only parent and child swim classes!! Yep so my 3 year old who was doing quite well in the pool on her own was going to have to get in the pool with me and blow bubbles!! Luckily the swim school we decided to try was in practice more reasonable and saw I had a one year old in hand and could not get in the pool with my 3 year old. In my best pidgeon german I managed to explain she had good water confidence and they let her join the class with 4-6 year olds and no parents. Our need to continue lessons with her was due to the fact that she is a fish, loves the water and being in it and thought she could swim! So we needed to get her water skills to a level where she could at least self rescue.

  23. Such beautiful photos… love Finn’s little fishy face, he is such a character! I feel bad as I have never taken the boys to swimming lessons. I intend to start Angus asap, but I’m hoping there won’t be big dramas as he’s a bit older now. After reading of all your troubles, I’m worried xo

  24. Swimming is one of things i was determined that my girls were going to do, its such an important life skill. I have had many frustrating moments sat watching the lessons, but when you get a good teacher you have to stick with them, that is the key. Love your blog <3

  25. My daughter is 20 months now, we had her in swim ‘lessons’ when she was 3 month for a little bit just for fun. She loved it. I guess I better keep up with the lessons so she doesn’t forget ha har. P.S Love the name Elodie!

  26. Great photos Corrie! Some for the album there!! Dear Elodie on tip toe wanting to be part of the action, the twins antics and Keira’s beaut free style. Worth all your persistence for sure! Just gorgeous :)

  27. I love reading your blog not only for the obvious entertainment, but I am from the US and the terms you use are often different from here. A capsule-that is a baby carrier? Usually I can infer and that’s my guess on that one. Swim school must be a big thing there. The fact that there are good places and bad places to go-I’d be lucky to find a place here. Just not that common at least where I am. So interesting to learn about other places and lifestyles! The last photo is the cutest thing ever!

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