Swimming for Gold…Or Copper

Yesterday Sloan went to her first ever swim lesson. She went to the Liberty Aquatic Center in Spokane and splashed in the water with two other girls in her “seahorse” level class. They jumped in the pool, blew bubbles, and practiced different strokes underneath the careful hands of their instructor.

A photo of Sloan right before her first swim lesson at Liberty Aquatic Center in Spokane.

Watching Sloan laugh and learn in the blue water on a gorgeous summer day brought me back 25 years to when I was enrolled in swim lessons. My friends and I took lessons from a family in our neighborhood that built a pretty impressive swim instruction business. Every day during the summer the large back yard at this house would be the place to be. The pool would have a couple lessons taking place in it and then the sloped lawn surrounding it would be packed with kids who either just finished their lesson or were waiting for their own to begin.

Sloan standing with the other two little girls in her class.

I remember structuring my entire morning off swim lessons. My friends and I would ride our bikes to the house about two hours before our lesson was to begin, get in the pool when it was finally our session, and then loiter around the yard well past the time our lesson concluded. We had a lot of fun.

Sloan perfecting her stroke with her swim instructor at Liberty Aquatic Center in Spokane.

But my fondest memory from the Davis Swim School was the aspect that made it stand out. When the lesson was almost over, every class would get to dive for pennies. The instructor would toss pennies across the pool floor and allow us to swim down and scoop them up. We all thought it was the coolest thing. When we would come back to the surface with some copper in our hands we would deposit it into red solo cups with our names on it.

Then we would take our loot under the deck and exchange it for gumballs, licorice, and other items. It truly was one of the highlights of our summer and a fond memory I have to this day.

As Sloan continues her lessons over the next two weeks she won’t be diving for pennies. But it is all good because she doesn’t need the money incentive to enjoy her swim classes. All she needs is some water and a swimsuit and she is the happiest seahorse you will ever meet. Don’t Blink.

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