Austin Babies

Swim lessons - 1 1/2 yr old

Any recommendations for good swimming lessons for a 1 1/2 year old?  I've read about Emler (which seems a little pricey), Nitro and Tom's Dive and Swim.  Not sure how to choose. 


Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker

Re: Swim lessons - 1 1/2 yr old

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    We had a great experience at Aqua-Tots.
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    We looked at only Emler and Nitro because we wanted a year round longterm program and they were the only places offering that at the time for a kid of DD's age and skill level. I've heard great things about Tom's Dive Shop as well.

    Emler was terrible for us. My DD was already a competent swimmer when we went there (she has just finished up round 2 of survival swimming with ISR) and within 3 weeks she had backslid so far she refused to jump in or put her face in the water. The curriculum had no flexibility and some of it was very poor, like boat safety day. They put the kids in too large life jackets and pulled them around the pool in a blow up dinghy for 19 minutes before letting the kids jump off the side of the pool and turn around to climb out.

    Their communication between each other was non-existant (3 private evaluations with DD and not ONCE were the results given to her instructor), and in the end they offered us free private lessons to get her back to where she was when she started there. We declined because to me, it wasn't worth it and it wasn't good enough. FWIW, after we left I saw their CL ad looking for instructors- no experience or background with either swimming or kids required.

    We've been with Nitro since September 2011, and it's awesome. Great ratios, really great instructors (many, if not all, of them are current or former college swimmers and in some cases the college kids parents are instructors too), they all follow the same curriculum but at their own pace. Communication is top notch, and they are great with kids of all ages and skill levels. DD was the youngest kid on their rec swim team over the summer and she's a better swimmer than I am.

    However, I don't have any personal experience with the mom/tot classes anywhere because we never did those. The older kid I nanny started mom/tot classes there when he was maybe 18mos, and his parents liked it enough to keep him there until he turned 3 and put him in the regular lessons after that. He was totally ready before he turned three but his parents weren't.

    I do know that if you are looking foor a quickie program to get your kids comfortable in the water and able to jump in and swim to the side Nitro probably isn't for you. Yes, they teach that as well but it comes along the way of teaching true proper swimming so it takes longer.

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    Thanks so much for all the detail about Emler vs. Nitro.  It's super helpful!  Emler's price scared me and now I'm even a little more cautious.  My son loves the water (ocean, pool, anything) and will be harder to keep under control this summer so I want to know that he can at least hold his breath...and, of course, anything else would be great (holding onto the side of the pool, floating, etc.).  I love the idea of being able to go month-to-month with Nitro and Tom's Dive.

    Still interested in anything others may have to add but thanks to those who responded! :)  Ya'll are great!

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
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    I love Emler. I was a competitive swimmer through college and taught/coached swimming for years and like the classes much more than any other mom/tot class I've seen. My daughter is now in a class that does not involve me (she just turned two) and we still like it. Perhaps at 3 when she is more verbal/more mature we'll switch to a different format, but I would probably just teach her myself at that point.
    BabyFruit Ticker
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    We go to Emler too and love it. My 14 month old is a super confident swimmer, loves the water and can breathe underwater for 10 seconds and swim a number of feet, which her Nitro friends cannot. Most of them are planning to change for the fall session (some having spent a lot of money on up to three lessons a week)
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