World Aquatic Baby Congress 2007(Presenter Underwater Photography)
Winner Overall Photo Competition(Theme water is life)
World Aquatic Baby Congress 2007 (Presenter Submersion Panel Representing Australia)ASCTA Swimming Proffesionals Convention Presenter 2008>Preparing Parents and Infants for Swimmng Lessons
Swim Australia Preferred Supplier of Photos
Teacher of Infant and Preschool Aquatics 12 years
Teacher of Swimming and Water Safety
The small baby floating on his back in front of her is only six weeks old, but Trish Roy is barely supporting his head. She talks softly and smiles, looking into his eyes and keeping his attention. In the next class a bunch of two and a half year olds push off and propel themselves through the water to their mums or dads two meters away. This is her dream come true and the result of her patience and hard work, “all children should learn survival skills such as floating and turning to reach up for the side of the pool before they begin to learn stokes” she says.
The only reason Trish isn’t just a professional underwater photographer is her love for babies and children. Each year in Australia over fifty children drown (one a week) and many near drowning incidents severely affect the child and the families involved. Many of these tragic incidences could have been prevented with simply undivided parent supervision and water awareness classes.
“As a child I was always in the water, so when I had my own children my commitment to them was to make sure they were water aware and strong swimmers. I researched water awareness from birth and once Alex and Aolani were born, spent time in the bath with them and at just eight weeks began taking them to a heated pool every day. They taught me a lot about early aquatic development, submersion and biomechanics of infant locomotion through the water”.
The other inspiration she treasures is her real life experiences of swimming with wild dolphins. When Alex was just one and Aolani had just been conceived we spent a year in Hawaii. Of that eight months she free dived while pregnant with her daughter while her son sat in the kayak above and would sometimes topple over and paddle around with his floaties on. “I don’t personally like floaties as they can give children a false sense of security and encourage a vertical running action in the water as apposed to a horizontal swimming action” she added. “At the time it was the most effective way to keep and eye on him in a sixty foot bay”. She had been diving with bottlenose dolphins, but the spinner dolphins in Hawaii were a different breed. “I found them angelic. I would dive down to 35 feet sometimes mimicking them and in turn they would mimic back. I would never try to touch them, just tried to be receptive, letting them lead. They trusted me and would play and come very close. It was an indescribable experience”.
Her soft-blue eyes now gaze on babies, as she sensitively nurtures there swimming skills, day by day, week by week. “I find it most rewarding when I see the parent and baby progress,” says Trish. The classes aren’t just about swimming; they help them physically, mentally, socially and emotionally. They even enhance, cognitive parts of the brain leading to the development of language and speech. Shy children learn to become more spontaneous while over stimulated children learn to slow down, and the dull ones brighten as there parents begin to bond with baby and mother (father or grandparent) in the water have given Trish the philosophy never to push the child beyond their limits or expect to much soon, “you can always try again later, when they show you they are ready”. And for Trish, “photographing babies underwater is really the next best thing to being with the dolphins”.
Author : Kerrie Pimm
Caution : Most babies can be photographed unsupported in the water after three to four months of preparation. An adult is within arms reach of the child at all times. These infants may appear to be swimming on their own however most are gently brought to the surface two to four seconds as they lack the strength to surface their own for a breath.