Tips for Learners
Find below a raft of learn to swim quick tips from helping your children get lessons to what to take with you to the pool.
What you’ll need:
An instructor – When you learn to swim, you need someone to teach you to make your strokes and breathing as smooth and efficient as possible. Swimming.org has a list of qualified swimming instructors at clubs with swim21 Learn To Swim accreditation, so you can learn to swim safely and professionally.
A kit – Lots of people find, when they learn to swim, that they’re not too keen on getting water in their eyes. A pair of good-quality goggles will protect your eyes from the chlorine, and will allow you to see where you’re going. If you’re a beginner, a float might also be handy: it makes you feel safe as you learn to swim but also gives your arms a rest!
A pool – It sounds obvious, but a pool really is the best place to learn to swim. The currents and tides in natural water can be dangerous for an inexperienced swimmer. What’s more, the depth is regulated and clearly marked, so you can stay at a comfortable level; at first, you should be able to touch the bottom all times. Swimming.org has a huge list of pools so you can find one near you.
Learn to swim the safe way
A swimming pool with a qualified instructor is also the best place to learn to swim just in case something goes wrong. A trained lifeguard or swimming teacher would not hesitate to jump in and help, but there are things you can do to make their job easier. Listening carefully and always being alert is essential in any swimming pool, but most importantly, don’t do anything you don’t feel ready for. Once you learn to swim confidently, you’ll be diving in the deep end like you were born there!
Help children learn to swim
As you might expect, this whole process is much easier if you start early. These days, many schools run swimming lessons for older children, aiming to get them comfortably swimming 25m by age 11. Outside the National Curriculum, parents are encouraged to help their children learn to swim, whether they take the kids themselves or invest in swimming lessons. As well as for safety reasons, swimming lessons can encourage a healthy lifestyle, discipline and good behaviour; not forgetting, they're lots of fun!
To ensure what they learn is delivered in a safe environment and doesn't move too quickly, lessons for children must be a little different to adult classes. Working together with schools, clubs and coaches, the ASA has put together a ten-step path called the British Gas ASA Learn to Swim Programme. This safe and trusted programme includes:
- How to get in and out of the water
- Using floats or armbands
- Basic motor skills such as body rotation or kicking
- Treading water
- Breathing in the water
Once the basics are covered, children can begin proving themselves, which does wonders for their self-esteem. By stage 5 they will be able to swim 10m in any stroke, and by stage 7, they should be comfortable covering 100m. In more advanced stages, they can be taught diving, aquatics or even lifesaving techniques, all delivered by qualified coaches.