We enrolled Mia in swimming lessons. Not because she can't swim (she's actually a good swimmer), but because she is thinking about joining a local swim team. In order to qualify, you have to be able to swim the 4 main swimming strokes (she's never really learned the formal strokes) and be able to swim the length of the pool. As I suspected, Mia is beginning to get the hang of the strokes pretty quickly. The lessons are great too for building up her stamina and endurance. Since it's the winter and she hasn't swam in months, she gets tired part way through the lap. Mia has 2 instructors in her group and they usually have 3-5 kids each week. The instructors swim alongside the kids individually as they are doing their strokes. The remaining kids wait for their turn at the side of the pool on underwater platforms.
As for the swim team, we're still looking for the right fit and I need to make sure I know all the options. Several of the teams are through local fitness centers and require membership and extra fees to join, which can get really costly. Others meet only during the summer and hold practices during weekdays, which would be impossible for us since we both work and wouldn't be able to get Mia there. And the other one through the local park district is super reasonable, but they meet 4 times per week (evenings & Saturday morning). That's a big commitment for an 8-year old and for us, since it's located all the way across town and we would have to wait there for her the entire time. So, though we're still not sure if she will join a team, she's still getting good swimming experience and the exercise is great. Here are a few photos of the pool, the kids by the side practicing their kicks (Mia is the one with the blue goggles), and Mia swimming.