Annalyn Barbier’s daughter was 6 years old and a nonswimmer when she was invited to spend a week at a friend’s home, which had a pool. Ms. Barbier wanted her daughter to be able to save herself if she landed in the water. So Ms. Barbier, herself an avid swimmer, signed the child up for lessons at a high school near their Brooklyn home.
She had no idea how much her daughter feared the water. “She screamed and cried and absolutely refused to go,” Ms. Barbier recalled. “But I told her I paid for the lessons, so I’m going there to watch, and I walked out the door.”
Having never before stayed alone, the child followed, yelling “I hate you” and insisting that she would not get in the pool. But the instructor, who seemed to thrive on tough cases, took her and another equally terrified girl into the water together while Ms. Barbier sat where her daughter could see her.
Both children finished the course without further incident. Ms. Barbier said her daughter, who is now 14, likes to go in the water and can swim well enough to hold her own.
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