Small K learns to swim with The Swimming Room

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Swimming has always been a nemesis for me. Don't get me wrong. I love to swim. I love the waters. I even swam in competitions back when I was a student. However, the phobia came when I became Mom. Big K had always been afraid of the water getting into her eyes. She would scream bloody murder each time we washed her hair. This phobia extended to the pools. It was traumatic. As such, when Small K came along, I was afraid to start him off swimming. However, this boy displays more guts than his sister. He has his reservations but you can see the glitter in his eyes when it comes to water play. Perhaps due to his sister's reactions, the boy's fear built up over time. He would not jump into the water on his own unless you cajole him and hold his hands. It was tiring. I thought all children would yearn to jump into the water? Well, apparently not mine.

That said, after much thought, I felt that the procrastination wasn't going to do us good. Perhaps starting Small K off proper swimming lessons would motivate Big K to do better. With that, we started our journey with The Swimming Room. The Swimming Room is a premium swim school that provides holistic swim-learning journey to all ages. We chose to have our lessons at the NTU Alumni Club even though it is right over on the other end of where we are living! After hearing about my plight, our friend mmlittlee convinced us that the friendly coaches over at The Swimming Room would be able to help. To be frank, I was having my jitters, but the husband thought it was worth a try. Now, if even the husband was willing to drive from the East to the West on a weekly basis, it meant something. The husband is someone who loves living in his comfort zone. Even for our meals, he detests travelling for more than 10minutes drive away. He needs a lot of nudging. If I say I'd like to bring the kids to the Singapore Zoo, which once again, is on the other side of where we are reside, he would give me a NO without hesitation. Perhaps it was the mental drain he was feeling from teaching Small K how to swim and after seeing the battles we had with our older child, he knew, it's best to send them to the professionals.

So we started our lessons in end April. Small K was very excited that he was finally having lessons with the sister albeit in a different group. The amazing water play area was a big draw and made everything else easier. That was the biggest pull factor for us to travel as it plastered big smiles on their faces. It was such a draw for the kids that I find it difficult to get them to leave after our lessons. Often, we would hang around for a minimum of half an hour! 

Mummies/ daddies, I have another draw to share with you! There is a spa right next door! Some day, just some day, I will visit that place and leave the kids in good hands! Just you wait, Gold Wellness.

Upon registration, we were given a wetsuit and a cap. Something which amused the kids. They aren't used to wearing caps and I think putting this uniform on gave them a sense of belonging. Small K didn't quite understand that his sister wasn't going to be swimming with him in the same group and that did make him a little anxious. Coach Eugene and Coach Joann were however, able to make him feel at ease. It was really great that there is an extra pair of eyes watching these little nemos. Puts me to ease as I stare blank for a moment. 

Coach Eugene has several tricks up his sleeves. He made used of a watering can to shower the kids' heads, to give them a feel of water going down their faces. Good idea as some kids really hate having the idea of water trickling down their faces. Then came the challenge. He wanted Small K to jump into the pool without assistance. As usual, Small K wasn't comfortable, but with persuasion, he was jumping with ease by the end of the lesson and couldn't stop. In fact, this gan jiong spider jumped into the pool before being asked and accidentally cut his chin! The team was quick to follow up with first aid as the boy tried to hold back his tears. I guess he didn't want to mah-lu (meaning: embarrass) himself too much. 

At the back of my mind I thought, "Great, he wouldn't want to attend lessons now and could have phobia!" But I was wrong. He did cry, but stopped after a while when Coach Eugene tried to make him smile and I told him he could hang out at the slide with his sister. That made him smile again and the following week, he was asking if we could go in earlier in order to have more time in the waters!


New friends: While he doesn't quite talk to his swim buddies, you can tell that he is completely at ease. It helps a lot that Coach Eugene dives into the lesson by chit chatting with them and incorporating certain activities which make them feel less stressed, if any at all. He makes things fun, before all the serious stuff comes along. 

Confidence: Small K is now displaying great confidence in the pool. He is able to do his kicks with his kick board independently and insists that he needs to practise swimming on his own. There was once I caught him going into the 1.2m deep pool with his sister and there were no adults with him! *HORRORS. He is that gung-ho now. He is able to swim the entire length of the pool and back with the kick board. Coach Eugene terms it as going overseas and the kids have to pass him their passport. That delighted them. 

Initially, Small K doesn't really quite like putting his head in the waters as the water probably stings his eyes. He dislikes the goggles too you see. Now, he is constantly bobbing his head up and down, in and out of the water and is able to hold his breath for 10seconds. Being a father himself, I appreciate the way Coach Eugene interacts and talks to the children. Punctuating his conversations with funny antics and engaging in silly conversations, sometimes is just the way to make little children comfortable. I, for one, am always acting like a clown when with kids. But this ability doesn't come naturally for all people. The children can sense your sincerity. Coach Eugene's enthusiasm rubs off Small K. He is now asking us to bring him for swims every other day! I'm glad that we have found the right coach.  

Diving like a champ! That's what he is able to do now! It seems so natural for him to dive down to grab the colourful hoops which Coach Eugene has placed down on the floor even on the first lesson! I really like it that The Swimming Room is equipped with so many tools. I have always wondered with our previous coaches, why do they not have stuff to engage the kids? All they have, mostly, are a kickboard and hoops. More need not be good, but with kids this age, it will certainly help. Coach Eugene has a variety of tools for this purpose. He even has a big hoola hoop which he uses to train the children. It tickled me as it looked like he was training dolphins. But you know what? Small K loved it! 

Swimming WITHOUT the kickboard. YES! The boy is able to do short distances without the kickboard! He still can't quite control himself and would swim out of line, but it was a #proudmamamoment when I saw him swim on his own just after 2 MONTHS!

Laying on his back. He doesn't quite like the act of being a pancake but he is getting there. He would talk fondly about being a chocolate pancake or a pizza. I'm glad that he isn't resistant and is trying his best to overcome his insecurities. 

He idolises his coach. The boy is very proud of his coach I'm sure. For starters, he is constantly talking about Coach Eugene each time we went swimming. He would linger at the lift lobby where there was a The Swimming Room poster, and would shout out in pride "That's Coach Eugene! He's my coach!"

With their team of 15 fun -oving and professional coaches, it is really a school you'd want to enrol your child in. Everything is so systematic! They've even got an admin to handle your enquiries so you don't need to wait till the coach is out of the pool! In addition, when the weather is bad and lessons have to be cancelled, you'd receive an sms as well as email! How professional is that? Previously, I was the one who had to text the coach to ask if there was going to be lessons at all. I could sometimes be giving a chaser for up to a week and frankly, that made me tired not to mention several plans were thwarted. The Swimming Room has a proprietary online progression system that allows their coaches to update the skill set taught to your child. Their classes are structured into different levels (from starfish to sharks) to help with learners of all ages. It is vital that they recognise that students may progress at different speeds but most importantly, these children should achieve learning objectives whilst having fun! 

I'm really glad that we started our journey with The Swimming Room. The drive down is totally worth it! Afterall, Singapore is just so small! There is a referral programme promo, so do let them know I'm your friend will you? :P

If you are not ready to travel, they can also come to you! Find out more from them:

TSR Pool @ NTU Alumni Club Level 4
11 Slim Barracks Rise
Singapore 138664
Tel: +65 6908 50069644 3077
Links: Facebook | Instagram | Web

Disclaimer: We are invited for classes for the purpose of this review. No additional monetary compensation was received. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written to my experience in using the services.