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Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I have been teaching swimming since I was twelve.  I'll save you the math -- it's been 31 years.

I have taught hundreds of kids, and tens of adults.  I have had students of all ages and all levels, from 3 months to 65 years, from beginners to advanced swimmers.

I teach all stroke forms, water survival, and even a bit of water ballet.  I focus on improving technique and endurance.

The one thing I do not teach is competitive swim.

All my kids know how to swim.  They have been in the water since they were babies.

This year, both my eldest daughter and my son have not attended swimming classes regularly; they are too busy and get out of school too late.

At the beginning of this year, my son expressed his intention to go swimming on his own, in the mornings, before school.  His stated goal:  to work out for half a year, then join the swim team.

The task turned out to be more challenging than he expected (for all sorts of reasons).  He did not make it to the pool very often.

Two weeks ago, after Breichat Yerushalayim (The Jerusalem Pool) closed for the winter, HaPoel Yerushalayim (The Jerusalem Swim Team) started training at Ramat Rachel (the pool where I teach).

My son decided to try out for the team.  This past Monday, he rushed to the pool, after school.

The coach watched him swim.

When my son got out of the pool, the coach told him, and me, that his technique is good, but that he needs to work on building up his stamina.

That my son needed to work on his endurance came as no surprise. He has not really been swimming since last year.

Last year, mid-year, when I had to switch chemo days from Tuesdays to Thursdays, I had to move all my swimming classes from Thursdays to Mondays. Unfortunately, my son had sayarut (scouts) on Mondays and could not get to the pool on time.

What I was not expecting, was to hear how good his form was.

The style I teach is different from the way the kids on the team swim.  Also, when I see my son swim, there are all sorts of little details that I see, that need improvement.

As my son was swimming for the coach, one of the older kids on the team commented that my son has a strong back (it is unclear if he was referring to my son's back or his backstroke); either way, it was clearly a complement.

Then, the coach noted my son's good technique.

I have been teaching the same form for the last 31 years. Recently, I started wondering if the style I teach might be outdated.

It was so nice to get positive feedback from a serious trainer.

I feel validated.

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


mikimi said...

and well you should feel and be validated. and it is even cooler that it is because of your "job" and your parenting. the compliments abound. wow-you are just an amazing woman with all that you do and then throw in you cancer--yiu are really amazing!

Unknown said...

nu? does he get to work on his stamina swimming with the team?

I'm glad for your validation, but finish the story!!

Batya said...

Interesting. Will he run or cycle? My #1 son teaches swimming (and correcting form) on the side. His real job is in security.

He cycles a lot in Jerusalem and has post-tzanchanim knees.

During his last life saver relicensing test, everyone was amazed at his speed.

Robin said...

I so wish I lived closer to you (or rather that you lived closer to me, I like where I live ;)) - you would be such a better fit for my kids than the swim teacher at our pool!

Mindy said...

Good job, Mom! His success is your success. I also love how outside validation increases a mother's value in her child's eyes. Enjoy that feeling...you earned it, Mom.

Anonymous said...

this short movie takes "validation" to new, inspiring places!


RivkA with a capital A said...

Mikimi -- awww....shucks.....

David Z -- not yet -- he's got to work out on his own first.

I do not yet know how this story is going to end.

Batya -- I don't think he intends on running. He swims and cycles.

Robin -- I would love to teach your kids, or recommend a really good teacher. Unfortunately, good swimming teachers are hard to find. I have always wanted to get back to training teachers. Now, it's really just a dream, 'cause there is no way that it is going to happen. But at least I am still teaching.

Mindy -- good points! thanks.

Anon -- I LOVED the video!! who are you? how did you find that clip?

Unknown said...

Good story, but I'd like to think it was those 7 months that I taught him that made all the difference in his style!

RivkA with a capital A said...

AvivaZuck -- I teach him for 12 years; you teach him for 7 months. Now, YOU want all the credit?? ;-)