Just gotta share, but first a little background: Son #1 just turned 11 in June. He's very small for his age. He is what's referred to as hypotonic, which means he has low muscle tone ("floppy muscles"). Hypotonia in and of itself is not a disability, but usually appears in conjunction with another disorder, for example cerebral palsy (which Son #1 does not have). In fact, if Son #1 has hypotonia in conjunction with something else, we don't know what that something else is. But I digress: in a nutshell, when he runs or swims, his arms and legs flail kind of like a rag doll. His form isn't pretty but his stamina, however, is very good. He had swimming lessons for a few summers, but we didn't have a pool where he could practice.
Generally, Son #1 is very comfortable floating and treading water that's over his head. However, he tried the boy scout swim test before going to camp in June, but panicked and had to be plucked from the water. At camp, he opted to work on his pottery merit badge with the only other non-swimmer in the troop. It rained on the last day of camp so the kids who were working on their swim merit badge couldn't complete the requirement. They re-scheduled the swim test at a community pool this past Sunday. I took Son #1 along so he could at least work on the water safety requirements (i.e. how to help rescue struggling swimmers without drowning yourself). Son #1 did pretty well with that.
One of the adult leaders talked to my son and asked if he wanted to try to take the swim test, which entails swimming the 25-foot length of the pool four times, using three pre-assigned swim strokes plus one of Son #1's choosing. If he passed the swim test, he'd be able to participate in other water activities, such as canoeing, etc. (with a life vest, of course). If he doesn't pass the swim test, then he can only go in the canoe if there is a certified lifeguard onboard.
It wasn't pretty, but Son #1 did swim all four laps. I couldn't always tell which stroke he was using. He had a little trouble with the side stroke since he kept veering off course, but someone would holler to him to straighten his course and he did. His final lap was of his own choosing: the modified backstroke (as a floater, this was perfect for him). He was so proud of himself when they told him that he completed the test. WOO HOO!
And I underestimated him - I really didn't think he'd be able to do it! Not without a lot of practice. He has to repeat the swim test each year, but know he knows he can do it. Who knows - maybe there's a swimming merit badge in his future, after all.