I seem to be turning into some kind of expert on this. I recently went searching – again – for websites about swimming and sickling, and what should I find but my own post on the first page of Google results! I feel well qualified to be an expert because I have taken Abrantie swimming many times and we’ve only had bad consequences a couple of times – and I’ve learned from them! Mind you, there’s not much to it. Swim in warm water, stay active to keep warm, don’t stay in too long and get out and get dressed before you start to feel cold. Wetsuits may help, if you can make that investment (we haven’t).
However, Abrantie’s school has just started its annual swimming lessons for the whole school, and I thought they may need this spelled out in a little more detail, seeing as how they’ve probably never come across sickle cell before – except perhaps in high school genetics lessons. Also, swimming classes generally follow a particular format that might need to be modifed for a child with sickle cell, whereas with recreational swimming you can do what you like, get out when you like, and you don’t have to stand around (getting cold) waiting for your turn with an instructor. So with DadaK’s permission I wrote an information sheet for the school and the swimming instructor. I’ve uploaded it as a Word document in case anyone wants to modify and use for their own situation.
Today was the first day of swimming lessons and all seemed to go well. Abrantie got wet, got individual attention, had fun, and didn’t get cold or – so far – sick. The catch was that the warmest pool was the baby pool, and it was a bit hard learning to swim in water that was only knee-deep. He’s hoping that tomorrow they’ll try out the bigger pool, which is heated and indoors, though not as hot as the baby pool. Hope that works out okay!