Pre Form Swimming Fun every Wednesday morning!..A journey to the deep end

And so the scene is set....The 25 meter pool at Morogoro International School is where we hang out on a Wednesday from 10am - 11 am. This semester I was joined for the first 2 weeks by Naomi and Pauline. Lydia and Jessie, Volunteers from the US arrived and have been a much needed blessing as they are prepared to get in, get wet and have fun too!
Some weeks are a bit cold to start with so we usually warm up with some physical fun which the girls love and....unbeknown to takes their minds off the initial shock of coldness! Celina, (front white t-shirt) LOVES swimming. From as early as Tuesday morning she reminds me Madam Fran, tomorrow we are going swimming!" Everything she does in the pool makes her smile and laugh...Such a contrast to the classroom where she is very challenged with speaking English.
 "Arms up....arms down.....jump: ....left....right....forward....backwards...."
All English commands but such a fun way to learn!
We have been practicing swimming across the width of the pool...kicking legs, blowing bubbles and using the kick board with long, strong arms in front. This Wednesday, 9/1,1 I decided that they were confident enough to attempt the deep end.
Since the beginning of semester I had been individually taking the girls on a journey to the deep end. The girls had to have succeeded in crossing the width of the pool in the shallow end without touching the bottom to qualify a deep end turn. It was a slow process but necessary to ensure they gained confidence and were safe. Swimming is not a natural past time for any of them and many of them are still a bit tentative in the water.This picture shows us practicing the technique along the wall of the shallow end. Happy Job Mkongkwa wasn't able to swim and was upset about this as she loves to be a part of this activity so I gave her my camera and a quick lesson on how to use it. She listened carefully and took some very candid shots! I think she might be a media queen in the making! Asante Happy for capturing the essence of our very rewarding, fun filled swimming lessons. 

 I positioned the confident girls and Lydia and Jessie between the tentative ones, then lined them up along the rope which divided the shallow and deep ends. In this picture I am about 1 meter away from the girls but the gradient of the floor of the pool is very steep here and I couldn't touch the bottom where I am positioned. I spent the whole hour treading water and swimming from one edge to the other watching, instructing and supporting!
 The first wall and time for pumzika kidogo....a small rest.

  Realization that they were actually at the deepest end of the pool was overwhelming for some and filled with excitement for most!
 "Wote kuangalia chini..."
 "Everyone look down"
I wanted them to really see and feel the experience of being in deep water.

 We practiced feeling the effect of piga magu...kicking our legs... and not kicking..
Bodies rose up to the surface of the water then sank down again when the legs stopped kicking....
They were fascinated with this sensation the first time they had done it on their individual journey to the deep end...and the excitement didn't ease as they practiced over and over again. Sharifa was tentative but as I worked with her she realised she was safe and relaxed to enjoy the remainder of the journey to the deep end

 Back in the shallow end and victorious that they had now all completed a journey to the deep end.
 The victorious SEGA swim team
Vaselista: "See Madam Fran...I can!"
 Please Madam Fran  "rudi tena?".....can we do it again?"
....and so we did.

 At each corner I would give them the experience of being out in the deep almost self reliant! Initially this was a big, scary step for most of them...but as they realised they were safe and could control their position in the water....they relaxed and loved it!!! Celina....loving it!!
 Happy and Prisca...not too sure about the deep end!
 Sharifa, Agnes and Siwema

 We have been teaching them and encouraging them to practice floating. Most of them sink like stones! But.....we are making progress and those girls who have mastered floating are teaching the others.

The girls who missed out on all the fun!
I know that next week they will NOT sit out...they were very envious of our journey to the deep end!

We always finish our session with an action song. Their favourite is ...The hokey pokey....It started as a great English learning song but has become the signal that the session is ending....
It is always sung with vigor and lots of energy...laughter is an essential ingredient....
 At the end (and at the start) of our session we have a mandatory shower, pack up the equipment
 ...congratulate the girls....

 ....eyes are usually foggy from the chorine...just like this pic!!
 ...into the change room....haraka kwa sababu...quickly because.....Sablano our bus driver, will be here very soon.... and as the girls leave I relax and begin my lap training!

I'm pretty happy with this form as I haven't been training for well over a year ....and I haven't ever really seen visual of my style....
so.....from a coach's eye...I think this might pass!

Wednesdays are one of the many, many reasons why I love being at SEGA!

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