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Survival Test

Two survival tests are incorporated into the Lenny K Swim Academy Simon is enrolled in. The first was supposed to involve a staff member catching Simon unawares and fully clothed and pushing him into the pool. If he had the presence of mind to roll over on his back and float for 10 seconds, he would pass. I requested a waiver for this test. Simon was just getting less timid in the water, and I honestly thought the test would set him back in his confidence. We advanced to level 3 (Kicker) without doing it.

The next test comes at the end of the Kicker level. He was to be pushed in again, only this time the requirement was to roll over, float, find a pool edge, and swim to it. We sort of did this test. Ever the control freak, Simon decided he wanted to do the survival test, told Ms. Julie exactly where to stand in the pool, and then jumped in, floated, and monkey-airplane-rocketed (the beginnings of a back-stroke, with modified arms and no kicking) his way to the other side of the pool.

Without ever saying a word, Julie and I came to an implicit understanding: Surprise is a bad idea for Simon; this “survival test” would do. As we are pretty low-risk for a water emergency (no pool, no friends with pool, slightly neurotic mother), it was good enough for me.

Well, Wednesday we got the real deal, and the boy came through like a champ. Towards the end of the lesson, Julie had Simon streamline kick on front from wherever they were to a floating island in the pool. Simon got about half-way there, lost his focus, and began to sink and flail. Meanwhile, Julie’s attention had been diverted by another teacher, and the Lifeguard on duty had not yet realized what was taking place.

For a second or two, I stood panicked on the pool deck.  Was he going under? Should I scream for Julie, scream for the lifeguard, or dive in myself?

And then, just as I was about to open my mouth and yell for help, I watched Simon’s arms stretch over his head as he thrust himself partially out of the water, rolled over to his back, looked behind him to see where the wall was, and streamline kicked on back to it.

He didn’t even seem to realize that anything had happened. Once he got to the edge, he asked Julie what he could do next. He wasn’t fully clothed, but I think Simon truly earned that survival test sticker!

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