Swim England

A nation swimming

Mum and son inspire each other on 'very important' learn to swim journeys

Louise Gurling and her son Noah have inspired each other to learn to swim and continue on their journeys to gaining a ‘very important’ life skill.

Noah, aged 10, has been in the water from six months old due to his dad Michael taking him to the pool at an early age. He then began swimming lessons at five-years-old.

Mum Louise had a bad experience as a child which led to her not learning to swim and instead developing a fear of the water.

Seeing her son Noah progressing through the Swim England Learn to Swim Programme motivated Louise to want to learn to swim.

At 30-years-old she started adult swimming lessons and on the same day that Noah earned his 1,000 metres award, Louise also achieved her 100 metres award.

She explains the reasons behind why she took up lessons, saying: “I think the main reason was because obviously we go away on holiday and Noah literally spends his whole time in the pool.

“So it was just nice to be able to get in with him and actually swim with him and not be scared or sitting on the side watching him enjoying it, so it was really good.

“I think that is basically what pushed me to do it. With Michael, my husband, and Noah being such strong swimmers and me not, that really was the main reason.”

A life skill that everyone will need

Noah is currently at Learn to Swim Stage 7, but aims to reach at least Learn to Swim Stage 10 and get all of his badges and certificates along the way.

Louise and Michael were also keen on ensuring Noah continues his swimming lessons, not only because of his love for the water but because it is a skill that ‘everyone will need’.

She added: “I’d definitely say learning to swim is very important. It is definitely a life skill that everyone will need at some point in their lives.

“Obviously there’s water everywhere, it’s not just about the pool. If you get stuck in the sea or you fall in a pond or anything like that – it’s definitely something that you do need.”

When discussing why children should stay in swimming lessons until they achieve the four minimum standards for competency, she said: “I would definitely say to keep children in longer because I don’t think 25 metres is enough.

“Obviously if your child can swim 25 metres that’s great, but it’s not really going to help them if they get in the sea and can’t swim because it’s not just about the metres, it’s about everything else that they learn in a swimming lesson.

“You tread water and our swim school also do lifesaving courses and stuff like that, so I don’t think it’s just about how far you can swim, I think it’s about the others skills you learn as well as part of your swimming lessons.”

Swimming water competency standards explained: