Before she was even two weeks’ old, Chloe Smith had achieved something that many littles ones don’t even tackle until primary school.
According to a recent study by the Swimming Teachers Association (STA), one third of all children in the UK can’t swim and the National Curriculum doesn’t enrol children into formal swimming lessons until they’re five years old.
Chloe, who lives with parents, Steve and Rachel, in Aylesbury, had her first lesson at just nine days old. Now, aged three, she can almost swim unaided.
“It was so important to us that Chloe had no fear of the water,” explained Steve. “I’m not the most confident of swimmers which has held me back over the years.
"We were adamant that Chloe would be a water baby, so we enrolled her with the instructors who would be the most qualified for the job – Water Babies!
"We’ve been swimming with them ever since and we love our time in the pool. I’ve even grown to love the water, which is something I never thought I’d say!”
Chloe’s Mum, Rachel, regularly sits poolside whilst Daddy and daughter enjoy their time together.
She often reflects on Chloe’s very first lesson, and how much she has taken to the water since then.
“Chloe really enjoys her lessons and has done ever since she was tiny. I’ll never forget that very first lesson. She looked so small in Steve’s hands, but I knew she would be safe with her teacher, Katharyn, guiding them around the pool. We changed the location of our Water Babies classes for a little while, to suit mine and Steve’s work schedule.
"He’s a vet at Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital in Haddenham, but always makes sure he gets some time off for Chloe’s lesson.
"But now, we’re back swimming at the MS Centre in Wendover. It’s been so nice to see Katharyn again and I know she’s so proud of how Chloe’s been getting on.”
The family plan to continue with Chloe’s weekly lessons – in fact, Steve is keen for her to wear her ‘Water Babies’ badge with honour, well into her school years!
“Swimming is such an important life skill so it never fails to shock me that parents would hold off until their little ones are at primary school before introducing them to the water.
"Once Chloe joins formal swimming lessons, she’ll be able to swim unaided, and that couldn’t make me prouder.
“Starting her young never felt like a risk for us – Water Babies were so supportive and adapted exercises to suit how tiny she was at that first lesson. Now, we struggle to keep her out of the pool and spend our summer holidays trying to coax her out. My confidence has come on leaps and bounds, so I guess you could call me a water baby too!”