What does it look like when your child joins the Dolphins?
The Dolphins swim club is a fun and challenging program; children/teens/adults with Down syndrome learn not only how to stay afloat and capably swim across a pool, but also how to achieve competency in four strokes (freestyle, back crawl, breast stroke and butterfly). It is a rigorous but fulfilling commitment from both the swimmer and their parents. The youngest members start at ten years old but some parents will find it is more appropriate to wait until their child is slightly older and can manage the demanding requirements.
The schedule consists of two evenings of ninety minute practices (Monday and Thursday) plus a ninety minute practice early on Saturday mornings. The practices are not mandatory so if your swimmer is occasionally absent or even if they regularly cannot attend certain days, this does not exclude them from the club. However, the fees remain the same no matter how often or how rarely your swimmer attends. The fees are also non-refundable.
Participants are expected to be completely toilet trained with no recent history of ‘accidents’ in any pools or change rooms. In addition, participants are expected to be reasonably well behaved while at the pool. If they need extra one to one support with getting changed, toileting, getting into the pool, staying in the pool or any other challenges which may not be easily solved by the coaches, then the parents/caregivers will be expected to be on hand to assist. While the coaches are well acquainted with working with individuals with Down syndrome, it must be remembered that they are first and foremost coaches, not behavioral aides.
For many new swimmers, it is advisable that parents or caregivers may want to stay at the poolside for the first six months or more as sometimes there are unforeseen challenges and younger swimmers often find the classes too long to start and may need to leave early. Those parents who stay on deck will hopefully find it a pleasant task as there are plenty of comfortable chairs beside the pool, the kids are inspirational to watch, the facility is tropically warm during the winter months, and the other swimmers’ parents are excellent company.
Deck time can be a unique opportunity for making connections. Many parents find that the other swimmers’ parents are a wealth of information, much like a casual Down syndrome support group! But, if you don’t want to chat, reading is very relaxing too!
Parent involvement with the club is vital. There are mandatory requirements of volunteering for our casino which is held at least once every two years. In addition, let us know if you are interested in joining the Board or volunteering with our social committee.
We are extremely proud of this unique swimming group. We hope that the club is the right fit for you and your child and we look forward to welcoming you as part of The Dolphins!
Calgary Dolphins Swim Club