Big girl lessons: Evie’s story

Evie (4) was just a few weeks old when she took her first paddles, and she has continued to swim ever since. Before joining SwimNE’s swimming lessons, Evie swam with our friends at Nemo Swimming. 

Tell us about Evie’s learn to swim journey so far

James, Evie’s dad commented: “As a baby, Evie always loved the water, so we were really keen to start her in swimming lessons. She had a bit of a ‘wobble’ when she was 2-3 years old, which was really hard as a parent, but she came out the other side stronger and more confident than ever.”

“When she started school – just before, actually –  we moved Evie from lessons with Nemo Swimming to classes with SwimNE. It helped that she was going to a familiar pool, but I honestly think she would have been fine even if this hadn’t been the case.”

“Throughout the recent lockdowns, all my wife and I have heard from Evie is ‘when can I go swimming again’ – she cannot wait to get back in the water! After the first lockdown, we were worried that she would have lost her confidence – but I’d actually say it’s been the opposite! She went back into the pool last summer happier than ever, and she was so pleased to be going into ‘big girl’ classes.”

How did Evie manage the transition from Nemo Swimming to SwimNE?

“Really well,” added James. “She had her last lesson with Nemo Swimming in March, and it was July before she went back in the water with SwimNE. She handled it like a pro, though, and even took a couple of the children in her new class under her wing in that first lesson.”

“Evie had only just turned four when she started lessons with SwimNE. She ended up in the same class as some of her friends – one who had swam with her previously at Nemo Swimming. She’s made new friends too, and she absolutely loves her swimming instructor, Stephen.”

“The fact that Evie had attended lessons at PaddlePod before definitely put my mind at ease but I think she would have been equally confident had she been learning elsewhere. The team at SwimNE take such good care of the kids during lessons – they really are in the best hands.”

“Seeing the older children in the pool has made a big difference, too. She’s so keen to do what they are doing – even if they are a good few stages ahead of her! I wasn’t sure how she would find having other lessons going on in other parts of the pool; it’s really spurred her on, though.”

What can you tell us about Evie’s first lesson with SwimNE?

“Evie insisted on getting a brand new swimming costume for the big day,” laughed James. “We let her pick one, and some new goggles too – it was so lovely to see her so excited. When we arrived at PaddlePod, Evie recognised a lot of the staff there – and they recognised her. She told them all about her new mermicorn costume, and went into the changing rooms high as a kite.”

“When I took her through to the pool, I was asked to put a SwimFin on her, and she was then asked to line up against the wall with the other children in her class. There was one little boy there who was really nervous, and I remember Evie telling me that she was going to look after him – and she did!”

“I went up to the cafe to watch. I was spotted having a cheeky slice of cake while Evie was in the pool, so I got a bit of a telling off for that! Evie looked so small sat on the edge of the pool. She’d gone from being one of the oldest at Nemo Swimming to one of the youngest at SwimNE. It didn’t phase her at all, though – you could see her laughing and smiling throughout the class.”

“That first class with SwimNE was the first time I’d seen Evie swim in over a year. It’s since become a Saturday morning daddy-daughter date. It’s not just the swimming. It’s the trip across to Killingworth, the little treat from the cafe after her lesson, and the adventures we have on the way home.”

What does Evie enjoy the most about the swimming lessons?

“The cake!” commented Evie. “I also like playing games like pirates or jumping down the chimney like Santa. I love seeing my friends too, and Stephen – he’s really funny.”

“I got a certificate before Christmas,” added Evie. “It was because I’m so good at swimming. I stuck it on my wall when I got home so that my toys can see it.”