Owen’s Swimming Lessons

Owen with Coach Nesa, originally uploaded by bill kralovec – May 9, 2009

Owen is taking swimming lessons with the Plivaćki Klub “Free Style.” Plivački means swimming in Serbian. Owen is shown above with his coach, Nenad Milojević. Coach Nenad is showing him how to dive. Swimming and especially water polo is big in Serbia. The lessons take place at the Partizan Water Polo Club pool in the Banjica suburb of Belgrade. The facility is huge, with an Olympic size pool and 1/2 of an Olympic size pool. There are also multiple swimming pools outside that will open on June 1. Besides the pool, the recreational complex houses a table tennis school, a tennis club, and right next door is the RAD professional soccer club.

The Partizan Water Polo Club in Banjica
The Partizan Water Polo Club in Banjica

The lessons are for elementary age students and take place every Saturday and Sunday at 5:00 PM. There are about 20 kids in Owen’s group, with Owen being just about the youngest. The classes cost $40 per month. They spend a lot of time with the kick boards and Owen is developing a good kick and back stroke with the board. He is also starting the fundamentals of the free style and sort of diving. He is improving rapidly. Serbia always in medal contention for water polo so I hope it rubs off on Owen.

Typical European changing rooms – unisex, with men and women right next to each other. It is no big deal here, but in Puritan USA, it would be a scandal. They are separate rooms with no doors and everyone respects each others’ privacy.

We want Owen to feel safe in water and these classes will hopefully help him do that. He is very coachable, and I see him doing a lot of laps compared to the other kids, who sometimes are off-task. Nenad and his assistants do a good job of getting the kids to not fear the water and develop good fundamentals. The classes also give me a chance to work on my Serbian lessons. I take my book along and do a lesson while Owen is in the pool. Nenad (Nesha for short), wants to practice his English with me and always helps with my Serbian.

I highly recommend the swimming club to anyone. Owen is the only foreigner, but we are treated very well by all. That is one thing that everyone always says about the Serbs here in Belgrade, they are really nice.