I found watching Lily at her swimming lessons yesterday somehow ridiculously emotional, I wonder if it's because I so clearly remember my own at her age? There is something extremely evocative about Swimming Baths; the strong smell of chlorine, the muffled, distorted sounds of other swimmers and the rhythmical slosh of water against the sides of the pool. I would go with an 'Aunt'. rarely my Mother. I was made to stand on a long slatted wooden bench and then stripped and squeezed in to my sister's hand-me-down costume, hair painfully wrenched back and twisted in to a ridiculous bathing cap. Clip on my nose. Afterwards, dried with a sandpaper towel and doused head to toe in talc I ate sandwiches in the viewing area, sometimes if I had swam particularly well I was allowed a sip of my 'Aunt' Muriel's hot syrupy coffee.
Lily is swimming lengths now, with a small float or woggle, but full lengths of the big pool no less. When she is in the water she never stops smiling as if so content to be back in her natural habitat.
I remember feeling that way too.