Go Swimming has everything you need to know about swimming. If you are a parent, a non swimmer or just want to improve your technique this is the section for you.

In British Swimming you will find information about the world of high performance sport, including the disciplines of Swimming, Diving, Synchronised Swimming, Water Polo and Para-Swimming.

The ASA is the governing body for the sport in England. In this section you will find all you need to know about joining a club or competing in England and becoming a swimming teacher or coach.

The IoS delivers the ASA’s courses and is a member organisation. Whether you are a teacher, coach, employer or club you will find everything you need to know about qualifications or educating your workforce.

Accessibility - Text Only - Display Options - Accessibility

This content is old and no longer maintained. For the latest articles, advice and more go to Go Swimming.

Swimming aids for the non-swimmer

Share this page

19th January 2012

When someone first enters the water, they might be very afraid to go it alone. Those first steps, or an arm stretched out to touch the bottom of the pool can be a milestone for a child or adult whose only contact with water has been a hot shower or bath.

It is not, in my experience, a good idea for a teacher to let a non-swimmer go it alone first time round. A colourful aid to float with or to touch gives them a feeling of security and stability.

I always have an array of colourful water things, like plastic balls, animal shapes, woggles and floats on the side of the pool.

For young children a few steps in the water can seem as long as a walk in the park. So I go into make-believe land, each step they make in the water is an animal they know, or a colour, and then each step is another colour, or animal or something they know about.

When they have made ten steps in the water, and counted to ten, or thought of ten colours, you can see the smile on their faces.

I always have an array of colourful water things, like plastic balls, animal shapes, woggles and floats on the side of the pool.

  • The children like the hoops best, especially when they are capable of gliding through a hoop and back again.
  • Another favourite is the rings they have to dive down to retrieve. Children also like toy watering cans and rubber ducks.
  • Woggles are universal in their appeal to the young swimmer and the more mature. They sit with ease around the swimmers body, on both the front and back, and swimmers gain confidence and some swimming techniques by feeling this around them. Adults in particular seem to get a great sense of mobility and confidence by using woggles to try out all the different stroke.
  • Swimming floats help with improving stroke technique especially for the legs. They come in all shapes and sizes, and in various different guises like animals, numbers , letters and building blocks. You can use them on your front or back, two floats together or one float at a time. Swimming floats are used just as much with advanced swimmers as with beginners.
  • Pull buoys are floats which are held between the legs, they are mainly used by more experienced swimmers who need to rest their legs.
  • Kick boards are similar to floats but are bigger and allows a more experienced swimmer to concentrate on the leg kick.

When you see young ones in the water you always notice their bright red or coloured arm bands. They help keep a swimmer off from the bottom of the pool, but I always find them a bit cumbersome and they get in the way of a child learning some early swimming techniques with their arms.

They also tend to be a bit lopsided which means the child isn’t being encouraged to swim in a straight line.

I tend to find armbands a bit cumbersome and they get in the way of a child learning some early techniques with their arms.

In my day of course you learned to swim by using a rubber ring! But they are not the safest of ways to learn to swim, and you have to hang on tight if you are to keep within the hole.  

All the aids and learning games for swimming may have been around for a very long time, but with the feeling of safety and confidence they give to both the non-swimmer and swimmer they will be around for many more generations to come.

Happy swimming.

Read more of Babs' blogs by clicking here for an index

Useful?

Go Swimming has everything you need to know about swimming. If you are a parent, a non swimmer or just want to improve your technique this is the section for you.

In British Swimming you will find information about the world of high performance sport, including the disciplines of Swimming, Diving, Synchronised Swimming, Water Polo and Para-Swimming.

The ASA is the governing body for the sport in England. In this section you will find all you need to know about joining a club or competing in England and becoming a swimming teacher or coach.

The IoS delivers the ASA’s courses and is a member organisation. Whether you are a teacher, coach, employer or club you will find everything you need to know about qualifications or educating your workforce.

Accessibility - Text Only - Display Options - Accessibility

© 2014 British Swimming & The ASA. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy