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.

Family Weekend Journal May 1-4, 2008

Wrestling, originally uploaded by bill kralovec.

Owen and Sebey are shown above wrestling at the beach. We went up to Puerto La Cruz for the afternoon and played on the beach near the Punta Palma Hotel. It was a great day with me and the boys! Fortunately, it was overcast which allowed the fair-skinned boys to spend a lot of time outside. We also walked around the marina and they enjoyed climbing across the docks to the breakwater. We identified jelly fish, feather duster worms, coral, and crabs.

We had a long weekend due to Labor Day falling on a Thursday. Wednesday night we had Oliver’s birthday party. We spent much time this weekend packing up our personal belongings for shipping to Serbia. We are not clutter people, but it is amazing the amount of stuff one collects over a few years. Phillip Katzmann, my replacement, came in on Thursday afternoon so we went and picked him up. Friday morning was spent briefing him. There was more packing on Friday evening and all day Saturday. It was extremely hot Saturday, and so we had a the swimming pool filled and we spent time in the back yard. Owen and Sebey are taking swimming lessons and I see their improvement already. Oliver is being potty trained right now and he had a successful weekend with a few slip ups. Ocean is getting more cognizant of her surroundings. She is fascinated with colors, textures, shapes. She will spend 15 minutes, exploring any object you give her.

We are heading into our final month in Anaco. It will be a busy end of the school year.

Oliver In Pool