Swimming lessons push kids to test their limits

 ‘Girl, you’re doing it all by yourself’

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Instructor C.J. James works with a swimmer to improve her competence, one stroke at a time.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Instructor C.J. James works with a swimmer to improve her competence, one stroke at a time.

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

ROCKINGHAM — It was 10 a.m. at Browder Park pool and the female instructor had a challenge for the small group of children being supervised.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Swim instructor Morgan McInnis gives a high-five for a job well done.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Swim instructor Morgan McInnis gives a high-five for a job well done.

It was not welcome.

“I’m scared of this one,” one boy exclaimed.

Not a single swimmer, however, backed down, and nearly every single one met the instructor’s expectations.

“Girl, you’re doing it all by yourself,” said Morgan McInnis.

McInnis, along with Jonathan Thames, Ashleigh Scully and C.J. James, are tasked with helping area children improve their swimming techniques during two-week session at Browder Park pool. The sessions are coordinated through the city of Rockingham’s Parks and Recreation Department.

McInnis said young swimmer enter the training sessions with a wide range of skills and abilities.

“Some people come not knowing anything,” she said. “Some people have the basics (and) some people come scared to go underwater.”

It’s her job, and that of her fellow instructors, to form a bond of trust with each swimmer. The goal, the instructors agreed, is to help each swimmer improve their skills all the while pushing them beyond their perceived limits.

“Down and back,” guided one instructor to his group.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Sophia Bobber, 7, of Pine Bluff, works on her back stroke Friday morning at the Browder Park swimming pool.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Sophia Bobber, 7, of Pine Bluff, works on her back stroke Friday morning at the Browder Park swimming pool.

The idea, at least to 7-year-old Sophia Bobber, of Pine Bluff, seemed incredulous.

“What?!”

Reassured that they could take a break if they tired, each swimmer in the group swam the distance, roughly eight to 10 meters, and back to the safety of the poolside wall.

Sophia — and at the 11 a.m. session, her little brother Luke, 5 — was there with her grandmother, Mae Davenport, of Rockingham. Davenport was excited the children had such a quality place to learn how to swim.

“She loves the water,” Davenport.

Luke, resting in a rare spot of shade, was eager to begin his lesson for the day. He knew, though, the hour-long session could be grueling.

Swimming is fun, he said, but “the lesson is hard work.”

Luke said he works to maintain enough energy for each day’s session but admitted that so much kicking tired him out. The effort makes him hungry, he said.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Swim instructor Jonathan Thames helped a boy gain confidence swimming on his back.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Swim instructor Jonathan Thames helped a boy gain confidence swimming on his back.

 

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