Feb 21, 2012
Every Tuesday, I volunteer to drive several kids from school to the local swimming pool. They go once a week* for six weeks for a full hour*. It's actually a new experience for my children to be able to swim during school hours; usually, P.E., or Physical Education, doesn't involve getting wet. So, this is a real treat. The first week, the children were separated into swimmers and non-swimmers. Since then, the swimmers can spend half of their swimming session playing with beach balls on teams. They also are allowed to use various diving boards, while the non-swimmers have an intensive swimming lesson. You could call this their 'immersion' session, ha, ha, do you get the pun?* Anyway, for us, it's an unusual and exciting morning. Thankfully, at the swimming pool, there are comfortable seats near the pool, and even internet connection. Infact, I'm writing this as I watch the children swim. The pool is divided into three sections, so three different activities can take place at the same time.* Closest to the edge where I'm sitting is one lane for elderly* people. They usually do gentle exercises, in groups, often with floatation devices. From what I can see, it's more like a social get-together. Next to them are two lanes dedicated to adults who just want to swim laps. A lap is a length of the pool. They go back and forth at their own pace, and have about one hour to get their exercise done. They are the most serious swimmers out of everyone here. Perhaps they have a background in* swimming, or simply enjoy the sport, and wish to include it as part of their healthy routine. So, as you can imagine, I sit here on Tuesday mornings, looking out over the pool, and observe all sorts of interesting activity. This pool is well equipped as far as safety is concerned*. There are two lifeguards on duty at all times, who constantly scan* the pool. They wear red t-shirts and carry red floatation devices, and are ready at any second to either blow a whistle, or to jump in and rescue someone. As I look around the room, I see more safety devices: rubber rings, stretchers for enabling disabled people to float on and enjoy the water, and even a fire extinguisher! You would have thought that that wouldn't be necessary. The swimming teacher is explaining to the kids at the moment the importance of timing in swimming, how you have to use your arms and legs at different times in order to get fast movement through the water. She explains this with the help of a swimmer volunteer, and now the children are taking turns swimming a lap using her advice. And guess what? I see improvement already! She is a devoted swimming teacher. I've never seen her out of the water; it's as if she's a part of the pool. They've got ten minutes left to swim; the kids never want to get out of the pool. They would rather stay here than go back to school.
Related vocabulary and expressions: once a week, a full hour, a pun, at the same time.
1. She has a piano lesson once a week, and a painting class once a month.
2. I wish this class was longer. It's only 45 minutes. I would prefer to have it for a full hour.
3. 'Immersion' is a pun when talking about swimming. A pun is a joke created by words that reflect the situation you're talking about. In this example, immersion is exactly what you have in water when you are swimming. An intensive lesson is also immersion. So, when I say that the children's swimming lesson is like an 'immersion course', I pun.
4. He is a multi-tasker. He can do several things at the same time. Yesterday evening, he was making dinner, practicing Russian while listening to a podcast, and helping his son with his math homework!