SWIMkids USA, Inc.

Here at Best of Phoenix, there are some things we don't want to recommend. We're not going to tell you where to get a boob job, or what dentist to go to (although we really do love our dentist), or even what vet to send your pet to. We're just a little nervous. We don't want to have to feel guilty because you wound up with your lumpy boobs. So we also won't tell you where to take your little tyke for swimming lessons. Far be it from us to dispense such precious advice, given the whole kid-drowning thing. But one thing we do feel comfortable telling you: If you want to see the best reenactment of the Olympic medal ceremony, head straight for the Arizona outpost of SWIMkids USA. We saw it dozens of times this summer, but we never failed to chuckle (except when it was our own tyke, at which point we must admit we shed a tear or two) when the swimmer of the moment having completed the requirements for a particular level climbed the plywood stairs of the red, white and blue platform to take his or her place in front of the Plexiglassed-over shiny blue streamers. "May I have everyone's attention, please!" the manager yells. "Annabelle has just completed intermediate swimming! Let's give her a round of applause!" Everyone claps, and the manager hits the button on a boom box, which begins to play the Olympic theme. Annabelle stands, proud, while the manager hangs a medal around her neck and takes a picture. On weeks the kid doesn't advance (and it doesn't happen every week), no one minds if she climbs the steps and pretends, stealing a little more glory. We've never felt more patriotic.


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