Institute of Swimming trains activators to lead Disney-inspired family fun swimming sessions

Disney-inspired fun swim sessions will take on a new theme this winter, as the Institute of Swimming trains activators to lead Frozen 2 sessions. Training is currently underway with the sessions due to commence in February 2020.

Since launching the Swim England and Disney partnership in June this year, the Institute of Swimming has trained 560 activators to deliver the sessions across the UK. To date more than 42,000 children and parents have taken part in the 45-minute themed sessions which are running for a 12 month period across 50 leisure operators at 223 pools.

The sessions all include Swim England Core Aquatic Skills inspired by some of Disney’s most-loved characters , including Buzz and Woody from Disney Pixar’s Toy Story 4 (June – September), Disney’s Mickey Mouse and Friends (October – January) plus characters from the newly released Disney Frozen 2 (February – May ). The activators have been trained by the Institute of Swimming to encourage and inspire water confidence through the delivery of fun aquatic games and activities in a safe and structured environment.

Initially, activators were trained through a face to face session to hone their delivery tone to fit the Disney style. Further training and character updates have been delivered through an online package, which includes videos of the activities activators can refer back to.  Additional webinars and a digital toolkit have also been created to help activators engage with the Disney characters and storytelling.

Jennifer Powell, Senior Marketing Project Manager, Swim England says: “The Institute of Swimming has been instrumental to the success of this programme and by using their network of partners and online training skills we were able to reach a wide audience and train activators from across the country quickly and to a high standard. As we develop further sessions, the Institute of Swimming will work closely with Disney to create more interactive online learning that brings their family-favourite characters and stories to life.”

Rebecca Cox, Managing Director, Institute of Swimming says: “These specialist child and parent sessions are designed for all the family and aimed to help parents improve their child’s confidence whilst having fun in the water. Storytelling can be a fun and powerful way to encourage children to learn and so it was critical the activators were equipped to bring these memorable characters to life in the pool.

“For example, in the Frozen 2 sessions the activators will ask swimmers to make a noodle canoe and pretend to be Anna and Olaf travelling down the river. During the journey they come across different obstacles, such as a cave; noodles in an arch shape on top of the water, and waves; parents make waves with floats. The activators bring this activity to life with Frozen 2 props and images and by telling the story of Anna and Olaf navigating their ice boat across the river, linking the activity to the plot in the new film.”

Stuart Walker, Leisure Operations Manager,Telford & Wrekin Leisure, which has been running these sessions for its local community says: “More than 1800 people across our sites have attended the Disney-inspired family fun swim sessions; they’re full every week. We start our swimming lesson programme at the age of three, so the Disney classes are a great starting point to get familiar in the pool in a safe session. It’s led to numbers growing on our swimming lesson programme too.”

Marianthi O’Dwyer, Vice President, Healthy Living UK at The Walt Disney Company says: “Confidence in any activity generally increases with practice, and children tend to engage more readily in activities they find fun. The family swim sessions feature pool adventures inspired by Disney characters and stories that children know and love, tapping into their active imaginations to help naturally develop essential swimming skills.”

If you would like more information about the programme please visit www.swimming.org/disney or email familyfun@swimming.org.