The boys and I went swimming practically every day this past summer. We loved the pool at our new recreation club, but it had a few surprises. The first was a mandatory ten minute break every hour. It was for the life guards, and all kids had to leave the water. Sitting out of the pool with four little boys made these breaks the longest ten minutes of my life! We eventually skirted this inconvenience by going to the upper pool where there were no lifeguards and no breaks. It only took me a couple of weeks to find this loophole. Duh!
The second surprise was the saline water. The first time I tasted the salt water I thought, “Man! People sure perspire a lot here.” Then I noticed the crusty drops on my sunglasses and it all made sense. People here weren’t particularly sweaty. Rather, the water itself was salty. I later learned that a saline pool is better for you and the environment than the typical chlorine one.
The last surprise was that our pool sported one of the last remaining diving boards around! Most pools have done away with their diving boards because of escalating insurance costs. I was so happy to see our board intact. Our three oldest boys had many a happy moment jumping from the board. It was absolutely priceless to witness the self-confidence and pride when, for the first time, our oldest dove off, our “big middle” jumped off and swam to the side without his swim vest, and our “little middle” jumped off and swam to the side totally unassisted (wearing his swim vest, of course).
I feel lucky they were able to experience those benchmarks of a really successful summer of swimming. I can only hope that the fear of litigation won’t destroy these rites of passage, whereby little boys conquer their fears by taking a leap of faith off the diving board and into the crystal clear water below (saline or otherwise).