Our Experience with Infant Swimming Resource Lessons


One of the first non-negotiable decisions I made as a parent was I was planning to have my children enroll in professional swimming lessons. Growing up I always took the summer swimming lessons at the city pool but was dealing with chronic ear infections I never quite grew comfortable in the water like my peers, despite my parents best attempts.

One of the first things I did after we decided to move back to the Manhattan area was start looking for Infant Swimming Resource (ISR) Lessons. I found the only local ISR Instructor, who happened to have over a 1-year wait list! ISR Instructors have very specific training and credentials, making them highly sought after. Finally, it was our turn and I was determined to make it great! Taking our three kids between the ages of 6 months and 4 years old to swimming was going to be chaotic, but my mind was set.

ISR swim lessons are intense, and it’s a huge commitment! Most lessons are scheduled 5 days a week, for 10-12 minutes per lesson, for around six weeks. We were required to double cloth diaper our kids, bring three towels per kid, plus a normal swim suit and a change of clothes for after. Our kids were required to not eat 2 hours prior to their lessons plus had a tiny restricted diet for the duration of their lessons. It was a lot, and we did our absolute best to follow the protocols, even when it meant passing on some of our favorite foods.

I planned for my husband to attend the first ISR lesson with me along with our three children, nine towels and 12 cloth swim diapers! My husband was his normal, calm self and I was a ball of nerves who plastered a smile onto my face to show my kids this was a great idea. One at a time, we watched as my children took their turn meeting Ms. Shea and entering the water. It turns out, this was more than a great idea, it was an amazing idea!

As the lessons passed and the weeks started to fly by, my children became really confident in the water, looked forward to their lessons and were so excited to tell anyone that would listen about their newskills. They would practice in the bathtub dunking their faces and to my amazement, they were learning to be both comfortable and confident in the water! My children learned to float and learned how to safely navigate to the side of the pool with ease. Even outside of the water, I noticed my children’s confidence soaring. We were all absolutely thrilled!

Our children’s swim instructor, Ms. Shea, is a magical person. She is one of the most patient and kind people I have ever had the opportunity to meet. Very gently correcting and modifying what she was asking of my children made the process feel seamless. I once saw our son accidentally kick her in the face as she was assisting him during his lesson, and she only smiled as we made eye contact as I said “I’m sorry!” She continued the lesson without missing a beat, even though I knew it had to hurt!

Ms. Shea quickly helped my anxiety of the water dissolve and explained what she was doing each lesson with ease. Ms. Shea was our daily cheerleader I didn’t know we needed. She always was excited to see us and answer my children’s 20 questions of the day from anything about her favorite foods to the color of her car to learning about her family. Ms. Shea also drove about a 4-hour round trip daily from Hutchinson, KS to help the extremely long wait list in our area! She has plans to return to the Manhattan community to continue to teach lessons as well and is well worth booking with now.

As we wrapped up the ISR swim lessons, my children got to experience the standard practice in ISR lessons of first swimming in their summer clothes and then even more challenging, swimming in their winter gear, adding so much extra weight to their tiny bodies. I explained this process to my children prior to their lessons, and I will never forget my oldest asking why he would ever want to go swimming in his winter coat and boots. What a bitter sweet thought this was — practicing one of my worst fears as a parent but knowing it was a safe environment for this to happen. And it did happen and my children all did great! What a wild, scary and thrilling thing it was!

If I had to choose swimming lessons again for my children, I would 10/10 choose ISR lessons again. It’s been a few months and my children still talk about both the lessons and Ms. Shea. Our children plan to do a quick refresher lesson this spring before we prepare to spend the summer enjoying the water on a more daily basis!

If you’re looking at ISR swimming lessons, take a look at Ms. Shea’s site, Sand Hills ISR or another great local provider, Flint Hills ISR!

For additional information about all local swimming lessons, take a look at our Manhattan Swim Lesson Guide to find out all of the local options!

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Janelle Cumro-Sultzer
I’m just a normal mom who is trying to figure out how to have it all. Married to my best friend Dylan, we have 3 children, 2 senior dogs, 10 fish and a frog. Our children are 4.5 years, 2.5 year and 8 months who regularly like to do yoga with me and see if I can carry all three of them at the same time while doing squats. I’m originally from Junction City and together with Dylan have lived in New York, Denver, Kansas City and now Manhattan for the long haul. My Bachelor's is in Family Studies & Human Services from Kansas State University and my Master's is in Mediation and Applied Conflict Studies. I spend my free time trying to plan dates with my husband, writing and aggressively applying eye cream.


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