For the last four weeks, Lila and I have particpated in swimming lessons at Merritt Athletic Club in Eldersburg. The six week class is sponsored by the Michael Phelp’s Swim School, happens on Monday nights starting at 5:05 PM, and runs exactly 30 minutes. Cost for six lessons is a little steep for non-members: $99.00, but it’s worth every penny.

First off, the club is terrific! The facilities are absolutely first class and everyone on staff at the club is so very nice and friendly. Merritt has everything you could want in a health club, but the swimming facilities are particularly great. There are two interior pools: one is just for laps and the other smaller pools is strictly for lessons on a daily basis.

I really can’t speak to the workout facilities. I stopped really lifting weights etc.. when I began to get sore after lifting and this began to interfere with my golf game. However, from a far, I can tell you that — from the looks of things — they have an array of different machines and free weights.

You can take just about any class at the club ranging from Karate to Yoga. The men’s locker room is very nice and has a lounge with a tv that always seems to have one of the ESPN channels on with two very nice cigar parlor chairs for anyone who wants to sit down and watch for a few minutes. I am assuming the women’s locker room is just as nice.

If you do not want to change your little one in the men’s/women’s locker room, they have two family bathrooms. Although both are very nice, they are always occupied and never seem to free up quickly. I recommend just going to the respective locker rooms and using the vast counter space as your changing table.

As far as your wardrobe is concerned, I wouldn’t worry about changing after the lesson. It is difficult with one parent to change the baby and yourself at the same time. You have no where to put the baby while you change yourself and handle all of the pool stuff that comes with being at the swim lesson! I typically change Lila out of her suit and into dry clothes, but ‘air dry’ myself on the way to the car.

As for the actual lesson, all of the kids absolutely love it. The Get Wet Class is just for babies and toddlers, from six months to thirty-six months in age. Our class is small with just four babies, and the parents often switch off so everyone can experience the fun (sometimes we’re a class of dads, sometimes I’m the only dad, and Heather took Lila once, too).

The instructors show you a range of exercises and techniques to help you and your little one enjoy your time in the pool. One of my particular favorites is the use of a noodle where you tuck each end under your armpits and put your little one in between you and the noodle (we’re demonstrating the noodle trick at a Memorial Day picnic in the photo with this post). This keeps them afloat easily and allows for their hands and feet to remain free – – really important in the pool. For the parent, it is great because it gives your arms a rest and allows your hands to remain free. Perhaps to hold your favorite cold beverage in one of them?

In the end, the thirty minutes that I get to spend with Lila in the pool is a great way to end a Monday.

“COOL” TIP: Pack a separate tote bag that’s ‘just for swimming.’ We’ve got two beach towels, two swim diapers, two regular diapers, wipes, a brush, bathing suits for everyone, change of clothes for Lila, and flip flops for me in ours. Right after lessons, throw everything into the washing machine and repack the bag for next week. (Who wants chlorine-filled towels lying around anyway?) Put it near the door so you don’t have to do the Monday morning scramble!


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