I have a not-so-secret secret. Not so secret because virtually everyone who knows me knows this about me, but still a secret since I have never mentioned it here before.
I didn’t know how to swim.
As in zero. Like I couldn’t even float to save my life (literally). All my adult life I believed I just couldn’t float and wasn’t built to move in the water…which turned out wrong thank God.
When I was young, my parents attempted to teach me and I “sort of” learned how to do the basics. But when I was in high school, I got into a near-drowning incident while on a class outing, and I abandoned all hopes of ever trying to swim again. I wasn’t exactly afraid of the water, but I panicked whenever I couldn’t hold on to something. So I guess that means I really was afraid of the water but was just in denial hehe.
Because of this fear, I was determined to make sure that Yuri learns how to swim. Job is a swimmer himself and has wanted to teach Yuri (and me) how to swim, but since he’s still thousands of miles away, we decided to enroll Yuri in Red Cross Learn to Swim summer program for now.
And then I thought about it. Maybe it’s not too late to conquer my fear and finally learn to swim? Long story short, I decided to enroll myself too. It might not be too late after all!
Red Cross Learn to Swim Program Details
Duration: 5 days at 2 hours/day
Schedule: Not sure if this is true with all locations, but there were three time slots to choose from in our case – 8-10 AM, 3-5 PM, 6-8 PM.
We chose the 3-5 PM class at our preferred location, Garden Oases. At 40 minutes of travel time, it’s not exactly near our house but it’s one of the nearest among the several pool locations they offered. Our class started right after Yuri’s Jollibee Mini Managers summer program ended, so it was a busy month for us!
Before I proceed with my review, here’s the outcome of the program. Yuri knows how to float and dive and swim a bit. He just turned 6 and I don’t expect him to have full coordination, but he enjoys it so much and at least he knows what to do when he’s under the water. He just needs to practice how to control his movements.
Segue: Yuri was grouped together with a really stubborn boy because they were the same age. He was found problematic by all the instructors who handled them and I couldn’t help but think he dragged the entire group (well, only Yuri because it was just the two of them) down. Instead of teaching them new lessons, the instructor would spend a lot of time disciplining the other boy and making sure he doesn’t do anything dangerous (one time he pushed Yuri backwards when Yuri was standing by the pool). Half of the time Yuri was fending for himself so when I see Yuri trying his best to swim, I feel proud. Despite the odds, he tried his best to learn!
As for me, I can finally swim at 27 (almost 28)! I am by no means great at it, but I can finally do it which, for me, is a big departure from not even being able to float at all.
Anyway, here’s my review!
I like that we are offered several locations to choose from. They also publish the pool fees from the get-go so everything is transparent.
Like I mentioned, we chose Garden Oases. The pool is clean and there are plenty of tables for the watchers. There’s also a poolside restaurant for those who want to order food. The kiddie pool is 2 feet deep which is perfect for Yuri’s age group. Meanwhile, the big pool goes from 1 foot to 6 feet to suit the rest of the age groups. The water didn’t reek of chlorine, too!
I really liked the shower room. It’s clean and spacious with enough racks for clothes, towels, and toiletries. There are also lockers provided if you pay a fee of P50. Lastly, I’m not sure if this is the case with all locations, but in Garden Oases, there’s always a lifeguard around despite the abundance of Red Cross junior lifeguards.
I was surprised to see that the swimming teachers were way younger than me! In fact, I thought they were assisting the “real” instructors when I first saw them. But they turned out to be very adept in this field (being Red Cross Junior Lifeguards) and serious in teaching. Even though they were young (there were adult students in my batch, me included, but it didn’t matter to them), it was never an issue since they established themselves as the persons of authority in and around the water.
I also felt confident with them around (I can’t see where Yuri is most of the time as he’s either in the kiddie pool or in the shallow end of the big pool) because they’re trained not only to swim but also to save lives.
And another thing. They don’t use floaters or pool noodles or kickboards to teach. I saw that they had those, but I don’t think I can recall Yuri using these implements; instead, everyone had to learn how to float and swim without the help of any floating device. And take it from me who had zero knowledge about swimming: you can learn to swim without them.
(Interestingly, they use an image of children using kickboards in the completion certificate, so maybe this is not true with all locations.)
At P1000 for 5 days, their fee is one of the lowest around. This is considering how the class will be taught by people who have undergone intense professional training.
The fee doesn’t include pool rates, which they are clear about upon enrollment. But even if you add the pool fees for 5 days, it’s still cheaper than most. For example, in our case, we pay P150 per person per day. That’s P750 for 5 days plus P1000 so it’s a total of P1750 per person. I saw other programs charge waaay higher than that, which makes the Red Cross program a good deal.
I’m so happy we decided to enroll in Red Cross Learn to Swim Program. Here are some tips for you if you decide to enroll your kid (or yourself!) in the program:
- Wait until the classes start and the instructor requires it before buying a swimming cap. Upon enrollment, we were required to buy both a cap and goggles, but we ended up using only the goggles.
- Make sure you buy good-quality goggles because you’re gonna be using them all the time. Doesn’t have to be Speedo or anything expensive though! (Ours cost less than P200 apiece but did the job pretty well)
- There’s no need to buy plenty of rash guards or swimwear. A lot of students were wash-and-wearing their swimming outfits and it didn’t matter
- Wear slippers to the pool (no need to buy swim shoes or anything special)
- Always wear sunscreen! There’s a 10- minute break after the first hour so take this opportunity to reapply. Take your skin seriously! 😉
- Bring snacks and water but nothing too heavy on the stomach
- And lastly, please teach your children, especially the young ones, to stay close to their instructors and follow their instructions carefully. There is a time to learn and a time to play, but most importantly, they should always be safe.