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Monday, May 6, 2013

Learn to Swim at Any Age

We’ve all had the experience of heading into the pool, uneasy of what may happen. For some of us, we can’t remember it. For others, we have a vivid recollection of this momentous event, and still there are others who haven’t yet conquered this important survival skill. Like anything else in life, it’s never too late to learn.

After all, we started swimming before we were born. Here are a few activities to help anyone, at any age, enjoy the process of learning to swim. Not all experiences will be the same as we’re all genetically unique beings, so don’t be frustrated with yourself, or your little ones. It may take awhile to warm up to being in the water. Also, it’s highly recommended beginning this process in a safe pool area, not at the beach where currents and waves are a significant factor that may hinder learning by instilling fear.

Progressive Strategies to Start Swimming With Confidence.

All Hands on Deck
Truth be told, students trust, believe and feel most comfortable around parents, family or caretakers. Be sure to take action and be involved in this process as much as possible. Be an encourager and try not to enable unhealthy fear. Also, never leave a child or untrained adult unattended in or around a pool.

The Boat

Talk about how boats have rudders and propellers. Look at pictures of fish and discuss their fins and how they work. Compare the fins, propellors and rudders to arms and legs. Bring a toy boat or wind-up fish in the pool to demonstrate that they work just as well as the in the bath tub.
The Float
Explain how air inflated objects float, such as balloons, balls, and lungs. Test this out with or without pool floats (don’t use the diving rings). Try to dunk a ball in the water. Compare dunking the ball to just dropping it on the concrete. Teach how in water we are not as heavy as on land, we can work against the force of gravity.

The Hold
Demonstrate how to (inhale) catch air and hold it in the lungs. Pretend to be a submarine as you submerge for seconds at a time. Compare to the dolphin and the whale, since they both have to come up for air. Talk about the importance of air/oxygen in our lungs vs. water and how when water gets in our lungs, our body makes us cough it out. Much like when a boat takes on water, you have to bail the water out to continue floatation.

The Bubbles
Behind every moving boat is a formation of bubbles and waves. Recreate these with
your arms and or legs by scooping water and kicking. Or half dunk just below the
surface to make bubbles with your mouth. Sing, rhyme, clap and have a good time.
Progress is being made and should be celebrated.
The Wave
Generate waves and waterfalls by moving your arms along the surface of the pool.
Jump up and down and see what the water does. This will assist the realization of
weightlessness in the pool and continue to build confidence as they prepare their
The Side Dock
Hold the side of the pool and practice kicking. Moving one arm off at a time will prepare
the boat for launch and build necessary strength; mental and physical. Remind the
student that oars and arms have the same function in the water.

The Launch
Once all systems are checked and the boat is fueled, begin to launch from the side for
small voyages of about three feet. Gradually increase your trip length and adventures
as you see fit. Kick boards are a great addition to this step.

The Accessories
Have many different tools prepared for building confidence in this venture. floats, kick
boards, water balls, life rings and pool noodles are always fun. These will be handy and useful distractions if you have an uncertain sailor.