My father and I took CJ swimming yesterday at the Jewish Community Center. The JCC had a near-drowning last year, and since then they’ve implemented some very conservative policies, including a rule that all children must wear a life jacket unless they can swim the length of the pool.
The life jacket is frustrating to CJ, so we decided she would take the test. I know she can pass, because she swam across a similar pool in Wisconsin this summer. We started the test with me sculling in front of her, and it seemed to me she was making great progress. She swam a pretty good breaststroke — using arm motions that I taught to her as “cut the pizza, spread the sauce” — and threw her head back for a breath every third stroke.
Then, nearly halfway across the pool, she turned and headed for the side. “Don’t do that!” I shouted. “It’s as far to the side as it is to the end.” (I exaggerated just a little.) An overzealous lifeguard stuck an oar in the water. She grabbed it and he pulled her to the side.
As soon as she got out, she started yelling. “It’s too deep!” she said. “Why did they put so much water in the pool?”