Hunter wanted to go deep-sea-fishing, but his parents set one condition: Before they’d let him out on the big water, he needed to continue his swimming lessons to build his skills and confidence. “Hunter really, really wanted to go fishing with his dad, who loves to go deep sea fishing,” said Maya, Hunter’s mother. “Both of us are very concerned with him knowing how to swim so that if anything happened, he’d be safer.”
The agreement was that once Hunter demonstrated that he had become a safer and stronger swimmer by swimming a longer distance with proper strokes, showing he was comfortable in the water, and knowing what to do if he fell in, he could go on his dad’s next fishing trip off the coast of Louisiana. “Hunter was eager to do his swimming classes,” remembers Maya. When he finally was able to swim like his parents wanted, it was a big day. “He was so excited, because he knew what that meant. We were equally excited, because we knew then he was safer in the water.” Hunter was proud of his accomplishment, and so were his parents. His dad, James, recalls the pride he felt in Hunter’s effort and determination – and also shared in the sense of excitement that they would be able to go deep-sea fishing together.
A big fish for a first-time fisherman
When the big day finally came, it didn’t disappoint: Hunter was able to snag a fish “as big as I am,” as he put it. “Hunter was so proud, my husband was so proud, I was so proud,” Maya said. “He was able to be part of this experience, and my husband was able to watch his son have so much joy and participate in this family activity. That opportunity came about because he was able to swim.”
Swimming as a door to more fun
Maya sees Hunter’s ability to swim as a prerequisite for more water-intensive activities. “We wanted him to be a skilled and strong swimmer for his own safety, and also for fun. There are so many fun things you can do in water,” she says. Natives of Lake Bluff near Chicago, the family spends part of each summer in a variety of water activities, including boating, tubing and waterskiing. A new activity, paddleboarding on Lake Michigan, has given Hunter a new goal: to be an even stronger swimmer so he can go out on paddleboards. Kids who know how to swim help parents enjoy the water more, as well. As Maya says, “When he’s a stronger swimmer, it alleviates more of my concerns as a mom. We always watch him, but I don’t have to have a lot of stress every time he’s near the water.”