Category: Articles

Swimming For Kids With Special Needs

Teaching kids with special needs to swim is not only a good idea, it’s essential.  Swimming lessons help kids with special needs in a number of key areas, including greater muscle strength and physical endurance, increased flexibility, more self-control, and, in many instances, improved behavioral outcomes.

Creating an effective swimming program for kids with special needs takes a patient understanding of each swimming student as well as a well-thought-out plan for how the lessons can be adapted to each child.  Here are some tips on teaching swimming lessons to kids with special needs:

  • Give each child individualized attention — Because swimming with be a new experience for most of these children, they may be hesitant or reluctant to “take the plunge” at first.  Be patient, and work with kids at their own speed to get them adapted to being in the water and moving in the water.  Additionally, children with epilepsy with need “spotters” at all times.
  • Utilize appropriate adaptive equipment — Some students may benefit from adaptive equipment that makes the water experience more positive for them.  Life jackets other flotation devices like floating mats may sometimes be used to help children with motor disorders enjoy swimming safely.  For children with tubes in the ears, specialized swim plugs or caps will need to be used to prevent the water from doing damage.
  • Limit distractions — Special needs children often do better in areas of the pool with no distractions.  Try to limit harsh lighting or background noises.
  • Be consistent — Since many special needs kids thrive with specific, predictable routines, it is essential that instructors be consistent in their teaching times and methods.  Any necessary deviations from normal schedules should be planned in advance.
  • Adapt to the needs of each child — Some children may benefit from visual cues (for instance, with flash cards or diagrams) as opposed to verbal instructions.  Other children may learn better with physical demonstrations.  It is important to adapt the lessons to match the ways in which each child learns best.
  • Emphasize basic water skills — Before attempting to teach swimming via traditional strokes, it’s important to make sure that each child masters basic water skills like breathing, maneuvering underwater, and flotation.  These skills will not come naturally for many children, which is why a patient, consistent teaching method is best.
  • Make it fun — Getting into the water for the first time can be a scary experience for many special needs children.  Try to reduce water anxiety by making their experience fun and giving them plenty of praise and encouragement.
  • Plan for safety — Make sure that safety is a top priority in your swimming program.  Safety measures include having a small class sizes, clean water, good leadership, qualified swim instructors, and a documented emergency plan.

Swimming is an important skill that can save the lives of special needs children.  Parents and educators can work with swimming instructors to create adapted swimming programs that fit the need of each child individually.

Written by: Teressa Dahl

Brush Up on Your Pool Talk With This Handy Swimming Glossary

By Alex Kostich

On the bottom, we’re going to descend 5 x 200 at 3:00, even split, 3:1 with full gear.

If the above sentence makes no sense, it may be time for you to brush up on your swimming vocabulary. Regardless of whether you are a Masters swimmer or a weekend warrior who trains alone, it is helpful to familiarize yourself with swimming lingo should you come across a situation that requires it (you know, cocktail parties, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, or simply using Active’s Swimming page).

What follows is a brief list of terms that can handily be printed, posted, or memorized should you venture onto a pool deck and feel the need to blend in!

50: generally refers to 50 yards or meters, a common repeat distance for sprinters and endurance athletes alike.

100: twice the length of a 50, and a common pace distance.

500: 500 yards or meters, this is a longer distance common in many endurance workouts (equivalent to 0.33 of a mile).

Short course: a 25-meter/yard pool where four lengths (or two laps) equal 100 meters/yards.

Long course: a 50-meter pool where two lengths or one lap equals 100 meters. Also referred to as Olympic distance. Nonexistent in yard format.

Length: distance swum in one direction in any given pool.

Lap: distance swum up and back in any given pool.

Set: a grouping of distances composing part of a workout or drill; 5 x 100 is a set that is 500 meters long; 500, 400, 300, 200, 100 is a set that is 1,500 meters long.

Interval: the time given to complete a certain drill. A 2:00 interval for 100 meters means that if you can swim 100 meters in 1:40 minutes, you will have 20 seconds of rest before repeating the next one.

Repeats: the components of a set; 5 x 100 is a set of 100 repeats.

Threshold: the maximum time you can hold, or repeat, for a given distance during a highly aerobic set.

Pace: the time per repeat you can hold consistently during a set, and ideally the time (per 100 meters, for instance) that you can hold during a race.

Negative splitting: the act of completing the second half of a set distance faster than the first half.

Even splitting: the act of completing both the first half and last half of a set distance at equal speeds.

Descending: increasing one’s speed incrementally during a set distance (She is descending her one-mile race by 100 meters).

On the top: starting a set on the 12 o’clock (or 60-second) mark on a poolside pace clock.

On the bottom: starting a set on the 6 o’clock (or 30-second) mark on a pace clock.

Tapering: the act of paring down your workouts (in length and intensity) for the weeks or days leading up to a specific race.

Full gear: all pulling equipment (buoy, tube, paddles) worn simultaneously during a pull set. The best way to get an upper-body swim workout.

Buoy: flotation device used to stabilize the legs and correct body position in the water.

Tube: a basic inner-tube from a small wheel used to bind your ankles while wearing a pull buoy; prevents kicking and helps keep legs together (and buoy from slipping).

Paddles: plastic hand-disks used to maximize an upper-body pulling workout. Available in several shapes and sizes, depending on your skill and preference.

Dragsuit: a baggy, nylon unisex swimsuit, worn over a regular practice suit to add resistance to everyday training.

Band training: dry-land workout using rubber stretch cords to strengthen muscles used in all four strokes.

Hypoxic training: any type of set where a breathing pattern is the focal point of the drill.

3:1: Breathing pattern where you take one breath for every three strokes; this is a bilateral breathing pattern (you breathe on both left and right sides).

2:1: Breathing pattern where you breathe once for every two strokes (you only breathe on one side, your left or right).

Circle swimming: swimming in a lane in a standard counter-clockwise direction, up the right side and back down the left. Preferable when more than one person is sharing your lane.

Catch-up stroke: special drill where basic crawl (freestyle) is altered so that each arm catches up with the other before completing the next stroke (one arm is stationary above your head, in beginning-stroke position, while the other completes a full stroke rotation).

Sculling: special drill using only your hands (not your arms) to scull your way through the water; arms at your sides, with your wrists whipping back and forth in a waving motion (designed to develop feel for the water). Good workout when lap swimming is not an option (hotel pools, crowded slow lanes).

Vertical kicking: special drill executed in deep water (diving wells and deep ends of hotel pools when lap swimming is not an option) where one kicks in a vertical position with arms crossed over chest, or extended above head for various intervals/sets.

Apple Watch for Swimming: A Review from the Lap Pool

Unless you live under a chlorinated rock you’ve heard of the Apple Watch. Like it’s brother and sister products the iPad, iPod and iPhone, it’s a ground-breaking piece of electronic gear that made smartwatches mainstream.

Since then other players have jumped in, including Garmin (and their Garmin Swim watch as it related to swimmers), along with FitBit and their waterproof watches, and others including Speedo (and their MisFit Shine 2).

The Apple Watch, however, is a true smartwatch: a device that runs as a digital home on your wrist for everything from playing tunes, sending and receiving text messages and adding third-party apps that can do just about anything you can think of.

As it relates to swimmers and crushing their swim workouts, the Apple Watch is also a massively powerful tool for measuring and tracking your swimming.

Whether you use the native app that comes bundled with the smartwatch, or pick up one of the popular third-party apps that add workouts and videos to the logging features, the Apple Watch is one of the best waterproof fitness trackers for the casual and competitive swimmer.

The first Apple watch was announced in 2014 and launched in the spring of 2015. New editions have followed since then, with the most recent Apple Watch being the Series 3.

The Apple Watch is a fancy-pants smartwatch. There’s no question about that. We could get endlessly lost in its capabilities and features.

Instead, we will talk exclusively about how powerful the Apple Watch is for swimming laps.

The Apple Watch Series 3 for Swimmers

It’s surprising to think how long it took most of the wearable makers to show up when it came to creating devices and apps for swimmers. With the millions of people that hit the pool every day, from casual lap swimmers to triathletes to competitive swimmers, the market for this audience is massive.

The first edition of the Apple Watch was not made for swimming: the Series 2 and Series 3 editions, however, are not only water-proof but come fully loaded with their own app for swimmers.

The Apple Watch Series 3: What Does It Track?

The fancy-pants engineers at Apple installed an accelerometer and gyroscope to capture all the rollicking and rolling we do in the water with our wrist, and as a result can quickly figure out what we are doing (backstroke, freestyle, breaststroke) and quantify it.

While the accelerometer tracks velocity and motion, the gyroscope helps figure out what stroke you are doing judging by the angle of your wrist. The gyro also helps to figure out when you are doing a flip-turn.

The Apple Watch will track total time swum, the number of meters or yards completed (all you have to do is input the pool size before getting in the water), how many strokes you are taking per lap (a barometer for efficiency), the type of stroke you are doing, lap time, and somewhat (but not really) heart rate data.

Critically, it can also sense when you start and stop and will keep track of your bouts of rest.

Fun Facts About Swimming with Your Apple Watch

The app provides all the basic features you would expect from a waterproof fitness tracker: you get your total time elapsed, splits, stroke count

The screen locks once you start a workout. When you kick off a swim practice your Apple Watch screen locks. The reason for this is that you will register fewer disruptions in the monitoring of your session in the water from unintentional tapping of the screen against the water.

Set pool distance before you start. Seems obvious but plugging the length of the pool before you start swimming will give you more accurate results. If you are unsure, ask a lifeguard or the fast swimmer in the pool—they’ll know.

How do you pause the workout mid-swim? Because the screen is locked when in waterproof mode, the normal way to pause a workout is out the window. Apple has thought this through—pressing on the side button and the crown at the same time will pause your practice.

Apple Watch Swimming

It will try to measure your heart rate. Like most fitness smartwatches the Apple Watch struggles to measure heart rate while swimming.

Although a lot of waterproof fitness trackers have leaned away from having a heart rate monitor (the Garmin Swim does away with this feature completely, for example) the Apple Watch measures your heart rate in the water. Just don’t expect the results to be perfectly accurate.

Water inevitably slides between your watch and your wrist, making detection difficult. Apple themselves note that this feature doesn’t work that well (“Water might prevent a heart-rate measurement”). If you are really serious about tracking heart rate while swimming check this guide to water-proof heart rate monitors.

It will track pool length of any type. And I mean any type. You can set the pool length to be as short as 1m. Which is great news for all you bath-tub athletes who are crushing laps in the bathroom.

But in all seriousness, this would come in handy when swimming in random hotel pools, which come in all shapes, sizes and lengths. Before you get in fire up the swim app and you will be prompted for a pool size. Punch it in, and off you go.

It’ll GPS your butt in open water. Fancy yourself some open-ended swimming in your local lakes and ocean? The Apple Watch can track you while you do that too.

Although the GPS chip doesn’t broadcast through water, once your arm breaks the surface it will ping the satellite signal each time you perform one of those majestic arm strokes.

Third Party Logging Apps

One of my favorite features of the Apple Watch is the availability of third party apps. Swim logging apps like MySwimPro and Swim.com can give you much more information than the workout app that comes stock.

If you are using your Apple Watch for straight bouts of freestyle swimming these added features won’t matter much, but if you are doing different strokes, drills, kick, and want more flexibility in your workouts and want to try some expertly-crafted sets, than the added features of the third-party apps can come in handy.

MySwimPro and Swim.com come packaged with workouts and sets. You can upload your own favorite sets and workouts to the watch as well. This is probably the best feature, particularly for you swimmers who train on their own and like to have a clear idea of what’s being served at practice when you step onto the pool deck.

The Apple Watch for Swimming: In Conclusion

The one thing I will say about the logging and tracking abilities is that the Apple Watch is highly, highly accurate. Probably the best I’ve seen among the smartwatches, and even when compared against the swim-only wearables that are available.

I love the third party apps—both outstanding in their own right and developed by former competitive swimmers, making them intuitive as well as feature-rich.

The only downside to the watch?

If you are buying it solely for swimming it’s a bit of a kick to the teeth when it comes to cost. It retails for $300-400, which makes it the second most expensive watch I’ve tried out (the Garmin Fenix 5 being the priciest at $600+).

If you plan on wearing it outside of the pool (and why wouldn’t you—it’s a badass watch), then it’s a bit of a no-brainer.

Where to buy the Apple Watch Series 3:

Apple Watch Series 3 Swimming

by:  Olivier Poirier -Leroy

Swim Schools in Roodepoort and Randpark Ridge

Image result for swim

Swimming Schools in the Randpark Ridge and Roodepoort Area

Name Address Area Contact
Aqualand SA Swimming School 18 Catalenti Road Randpark Ridge 0825212360
Splashmates Swim School 47 Medlar Road Randpark Ridge 0117935904
Happy Feet Swimming School 1834 Scott Avenue Randpark Ridge 0783709698
Aquarius  Aquatics Swim School 1083 Chateau Avenue Roodepoort 0114752313
Amanzi  Scuba and Swim Centre 21 Beverly Drive Roodepoort 0832689777
The Swim School 88 Alexandra Street Roodepoort 0116742530
I Can Swim – Swim Academy 1085 Kajuit Turn Allens nek 073594407
Mony Swim School 4 Rowan Place Constantia Kloof
Aquanauts Swim School 190 Wilgespruit Street Roodepoort 0832561774

 

The 5 Best Swimming Drills to Get Jacked in the Pool

Muscular swimmer stretching in pool

There will be days this summer when your outdoor workouts are perfect. You’ll breeze through a HIIT routine or bang out a bodyweight workout at a local park, and you’ll keep your cool—literally and figuratively. But then there will be days when there’s no trace of a breeze, and your body’s taken such a banging, you can hardly walk to the park. Now what?

Hit the pool to build muscle, drop weight, and give your joints a break.

“Swimming is one of the best full-body, low-impact physical activities you can do,” says Jimmy Minardi, personal trainer and creator of Minardi Training. “It offers something no other aerobic exercise does—the ability to work all the major muscle groups without harsh impact to your skeletal system. Every kick and every arm stroke becomes a resistance exercise—which is the best way to increase overall fitness, strength, flexibility, and muscular endurance, enabling you to re-sculpt your body.”

With these swimming exercises, you’ll turn fat into muscle, and torch calories all-summer long—instead of the heat torching you all-summer long.

Precooling: The Pre-Workout Technique You Need to Try This Summer >>> 

1. Kick Drills

Hold a kickboard in front of your body at arm’s length. Tighten your core muscles while you flutter kick or dolphin kick across the length of a pool. “Focus on flexing your foot past 90 degrees,” Minardi says. “It’ll give you greater propulsion and better results.” Try these alternate kicks to target different muscle groups:

Flutter Kick: Legs are extended straight back, in line with your body, as you kick them up and down.

Works the transverse abdominis—the deepest ab muscle group under the obliques.

Frog Kick: Bend your knees and bring your feet together, drawing your legs up toward your body (resembling a frog’s). Next, straighten your legs as far as you can, and then quickly bring them back up again.

Works the inner thighs and glutes, and is excellent for toning and shaping.

Butterfly Kick:
 Bring your legs together completely from your thighs to your feet. Point your toes. Use your hips to kick your legs, keeping them together, acting as a fin to push through the water.

Works the internal abdominal oblique (deep ab muscle, which is a great stabilizer and postural muscle group), the external abdominal oblique (the muscle alongside your abs), and the rectus abdominis (aka your six-pack).

“Take it up a notch by ditching the kickboard and lying on your back with your arms overhead,” Minardi says. “This forces you to rely more heavily on your abdominal and leg muscles, giving you a more intense exercise.” Beginners should complete 150 meters of kicking, and intermediate swimmers should complete 400 meters.

2. Breaststroke and Butterfly Drill

Full body strokes like the butterfly and breaststroke engage your core muscles, and improve endurance and speed. “Breaststroke swimmers should perform one arm pull for every three leg kicks,” Minardi suggests. “And butterfly swimmers should use one arm pull for every three dolphin kicks.” Focus on tightening your core muscles, and using them to help bring your arms out of the water. Advanced swimmers should complete 10 25-meter swims with 15-second rest intervals between each.

3. Water Running

Also known as aqua jogging, this exercise provides the high-intensity cardio aspect of running without the punishing impact of striking on a hard surface. “The water should be just below your neck, and if you want to engage your arms, you can add hand paddles to engage your triceps and biceps,” Minardi says. Essentially, you run through the water just as you would outdoors (only with slight tweaks on proper form). Your back should be straight; your arms should be bent at the elbow, and your hands balled into fists as you pump them through the water. Run as hard as you can. Do 3 rounds of 5-minute running intervals.

4. Leg and Core Toners

Stand with your back against the side of the pool, and your arms extended backwards holding the edge of the pool on each side. Then, pull your legs up toward the surface, keeping them together until they’re extended straight out in front of you. Next, move your legs outward to a V-position and then back together. Keep them together, and move back down to the starting position. Keep your movements controlled, engaging your abs and glutes to complete each motion. Continue pulling them up, out, in and down for 3 sets of 20 reps.

5. Water Crunches

“Nothing beats the water resistance of a pool for targeting abs with a greater range of motion,” says Minardi.  Float in the water on your back perpendicular to the side of the pool. Put your legs, from the knees up, on the deck of the pool, while the remainder of your body is flat in the water.  Use your abdominal muscles to pull your upper body up out of the water as far as you can. Use your muscles again to lower your body back into the water. Do 3 sets of 20 reps.

by: Health and Fitness – Men’s Journal

Swimming Schools in the Randburg area

Name Address Area Contact
My Swim School Corner Blandford Street and Bellairs Drive Randburg 0114629607
Laura Swimming 40 Catherine Road Randburg 0828497592
Vorn’s Lifeguards Swimming School FitExtreme Gym Olivedale 0610595590
Lis’ Swim School 36 Buckingham Avenue Craighall Park 0114471920
Purple Turtle Swimming School 102 Mackay Avenue Randburg 0617650011
Aqua Swimming Academy 150 Standard Drive Randburg 0741251513
Blairgowrie Swimming Academy 47 Conrad Drive Randburg 0827806375

Swimming Schools in the Morningside, Rivonia and Sandton area

Name Address Area Contact
Slipstream Swim School 25 Glenian Road Sandton 0828455355
Aqua turtles Swim School 21 Van Riebeeck Street Norscot Manor 0114655662
Lonehill Swim School 35 Morgenster Crescent Lonehill 0837937887
Active Academy Swim School 1 Centre Road Morningside 0840322157
Sandown Swim School 10 Etosha Crescent Sandown 0112622461
Wahoo Swim School 516 Maxwell Drive Sunninghill 0118075118
Little Seahorses Swimming School 13-15 Ashton Road Lonehill 0846901267
Little Lifeguards 43 Darter Avenue Norscot 0625094601
Goof Swimming School Corner of Rivonia Road and North Road Rivonia 0844109242
Sleek Swim 9 Sutherland Avenue Craighall Park 0117882548
Swim Tots Rivonia Sports Centre Morningside 0825724809

Swimming Schools Near You – Bryanston

Having trouble finding swimming schools in your area? Look no further – a list of all the swimming schools in the Bryanston Area.

 

Name Address Area Contact
Zogs Swim School 1 Banbury Street Bryanston 0823346973
BSwimSafe 27 Chesterfield Road Bryanston 0836499067
Little Fishes Swimming School Bantry Road Bryanston 0114638389
Quick Strokes Swimming Pool 256 Bryanston Drive Bryanston 0824861983
Goof Swim School 115 St Audley Road Bryanston 0118078027 or

0844109242

Free Style Swimming 165 Bryanston Drive Bryanston 0832532998

 

Water Games To Play With Your Child

We have the following suggestions to help your little one get used to water:

  1. From an early age, pour or trickle water over his head and wet his eyes with a small cup, bucket, wet face cloth or sponge.
  2.  Never wipe his eyes to dry them and teach him from an early age to blink when he has water in his eyes.
  3. Blowing bubbles in the bath is fun. As he gets older, he can practice blowing through a straw. Blowing bubbles is essential for breathing during swimming.
  4. Floating toys in the pool is a great way to get him to move his arms and legs to get the toy.
  5. The ideal way to hold your baby in the pool is to hold him with your thumbs on his shoulder blades, ensuring that his chin is touching the water but making sure his mouth isn’t submerged so he doesn’t swallow water.
  6. From an early age, get him to jump to you in the water from a step or the side of the pool. Make sure you always catch him as he lands in the water (and not in the air).

By: Britt – Living and Loving.

Read more at: https://www.livingandloving.co.za/baby-blog/baby-general-articles/baby-swimming-lessons-everything-you-need-to-know

Teaching Your Baby to Swim

By: Dean Beaumont

Teaching your baby to swim can be incredibly rewarding: not only are you boosting their confidence, it’s great exercise, supports a healthy lifestyle, and it’s also one of the best ways of spending some fun, quality time together.

When your child’s older, you might sign him up for swimming lessons, but there’s plenty you can do to build your baby’s confidence in the water from day one.

START SMALL

 There are lots of ways you can get your baby used to water at home, long before you first introduce him to your local swimming pool.

This can start from baby’s first bath. You could

  • Splash water gently over his body.
  • Lay him on his back and move him gently through the water.
  • Over the next few months, get him used to having water on his face by gently squeezing a sponge of water over it.

Jane Saddington of the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) recommends using cue words. She says:

“Try saying, ‘one, two, three, go!’ when you put water on his face. Babies have a reflex action, so he automatically holds his breath when water hits his face. In the future, you can use those words to help him hold his breath underwater.”

When you move your baby to a big bath, use enough water so he can float. Support him on his front and back, and very gently manipulate his arms and legs in a swimming motion.

Hanging out with a newborn

THE FIRST TRIP TO THE POOL

Before your first trip to the pool, you’ll need to take:

Towels for you both – a hooded towel for them to help keep them warm after getting out the pool can be handy

  • Swimming nappies – these come in both reusable and disposable varieties, so you can pick what suits your family
  • A swimming costume for them – babies can get cold in the pool which can affect their mood, so insulated bodysuits can be a good idea
  • If your little one is weaned, take a snack with you, as swimming can them hungry
  • If your baby is bottle fed, you may want to take a bottle with you, but most swimming lessons are only around 30 minutes, so even if your baby is breastfed this doesn’t mean it is impossible to take them out. Of course, mum may also want to come and either join in or sit and watch you have some quality time too!

Life skills to teach your kids

HOW TO START

When your baby’s ready for his first dip, Jane Saddington suggests carrying on where you left off in the bath:

“Move him around the pool so he experiences the water on his skin. Support him on his front and back and simulate kicking, which babies naturally do as a butterfly kick, with both legs.”

  • Also let your baby splash and play with his bath toys – throw one a few feet away and zoom him through the water to retrieve it.
  • Put your mouth under water and show your baby how to blow bubbles – this is important for him to learn, as he can’t inhale when he’s blowing.

Play time

LESSON TIME

There is a wide variety of parent and baby swimming classes which are now available around the UK. There is not a lower age limit for when a baby can go swimming, but check with your local swimming school in case they do have their own rules.

“Water confidence classes are a great way of getting kids used to the water – there are games, toys and music, which they love,” says Jane.

The most important thing is to make swimming fun, so your baby learns through play.

During the adult and child lessons your child will learn the basics, such as jumping into the pool, kicking his legs while holding the side, and holding his breath for short periods underwater.

The 6 Stages of Childhood Swimming Lessons

by: Premier Aquatic Services

Image result for child swimming lessons

Each child learns to swim at his or her own pace, and in order to develop a lifelong love of the water, that natural pace should be respected and nurtured. Therefore, we developed a six-stage program for our childhood swim lessons, built around skill-oriented goals.

Simply put, each little swimmer must master specific skills before progressing on to the next level, regardless of the child’s age.

Level 1 – Jellyfish

Developed for those who are brand new to swimming, the first level of swim lessons are perfect for those who have no prior experience. In this class, children learn to hold their breath and put their faces in the water. They also develop a bond with and trust for their instructor, as they build the courage to jump from the stairs to their instructor.

Level 2 – Tadpole

Progressing from the Jellyfish stage, children in this level are already proficient in holding their breath and putting their faces in the water. Now, they begin to learn how to float, fetch toys underwater, and perform basic strokes with the help of their instructor. In this stage, they grasp rhythmic breathing and explore the freestyle stroke.

Level 3 – Minnow

To advance into the Minnow stage, children are able to float unassisted for up to five seconds, retrieve toys in four feet of water, and perform assisted back floats. Level 3 classes teach them how to float on their back without assistance, move independently from the front floating position to a back float position, and kick in streamline for 15 feet. Additionally, children further develop their freestyle stroke by beginning to learn how to side breath with assistance from the instructor.

Level 4 – Guppy

Already able to float on their backs, transition from front floats to back floats, and perform assisted side breathing, Level 4 classes progress children’s strength and technique. Here, children begin to kick in streamline on their front and back. They develop their backstroke and learn to swim freestyle with unassisted side breathing. Additionally, they start developing diving skills by performing sit dives.

Level 5 – Lionfish

Students entering the Lionfish classes are moving through the water unassisted with skill. Now, they begin to learn new techniques, including the breaststroke and butterfly kick. They also graduate from sit dives to knee dives.

Level 6 – Dolphin

The final stage before “Pre Team” levels, children finalize the development of their core swimming skills. In the Level 6 class, they become proficient at all four competitive strokes – freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly. Additionally, they learn to become comfortable with deck dives

7 Ways to Keep Your Kids Safe on the Beach This Summer

THINKSTOCK IMAGES VIA GETTY IMAGES

Allow me to tell you about the angriest I’ve ever been in my life. I was a lifeguard in Long Beach, NY and the ocean was particularly rough on this day. (I know you’re thinking, But it’s NY! How rough can the ocean really get there?? Well, click on this link to have a look. http://youtu.be/PiPNAeo-174 That’s about 100 yards from the spot I worked, so lesson one is don’t underestimate any body of water you plan on entering.)

On this particular day I had a rescue when a riptide eroded a sandbar that a large group of people had gathered on. Almost everyone made it to the shore on their own except for the two small children I pulled out. They were brother and sister. He was 8 or 9 and she was maybe 11. When I returned them to land, I had expected to see mom or dad waiting to hug them; relieved that their children were safe. They weren’t there. As a matter of fact, I had the kids take me all the way to the back of the beach where I found the mom sleeping… with headphones on! She was completely oblivious to the fact that she had almost lost both of her children while she worked on her tan. Please don’t think I’m exaggerating. Her kids were at the very end of their struggle to stay afloat when I got to them. They were going to die. I was furious at this person for being so careless when it came to the safety of her kids and I made sure that she knew it.

When you go to the beach (or anywhere) with your kids, YOU are the first and most important line of defense when it comes to their safety. Gone are the days when the beach meant that you can sit in a chair and read a book, or take a nice nap in the sun. You now have to be constantly on guard. If your child is near the water, you need to be near the water too. If your child is in the water, you should be ankle-deep right behind them at the absolute minimum. You’d be shocked at how quickly a small child can go from wetting his or her toes to being knocked over and washed out with a surprise wave. A 10-second glance away could be all it takes. Consider the lifeguards a final option when all you have done to keep them safe has failed. Do not rely on them or anyone else when it comes to the safety of your kiddos.

Here is a list of things to run through before you head to big blue with the kids:

1. Know your swimming limitations

Please take note that I’m not saying “DISCOVER your limitations.” If you think the water might be too rough for you, then I assure you that you are right. Err on the side of caution always. Don’t put yourself into a dangerous situation, especially when you are with your kids.

2. Be especially cautious in unfamiliar waters

By most standards, I am an excellent swimmer. However, new bodies of water present new challenges that I might not know about and don’t want to discover when I’m in it. Always investigate the place you’re entering first. Ask locals, scope out potential problems and stay out if you’re unsure. If it’s a hot day and you see a delightful-looking area of water that is free of other swimmers, assume there is a reason for it. There might be a riptide, polluted waters or it might be off-limits for some other reason you are not aware of.

3. Recognize a Riptide

Riptides (sometimes called “undertows”) are channels of water that flow from the beach out to sea. You have all of these waves coming in and they have to go back out to sea somewhere. The water is pushed to the side by the waves that are behind it until it finds an exit. This is usually in a spot that’s deeper than the surrounding areas and when the water rushes out, it forms a channel and makes it even deeper. Take a second to watch the water before you go in. Is there a section of the beach where the waves just aren’t breaking? Does the whitewater that’s rolling in mysteriously disappear in a section? That is the deeper water. Waves break where the water gets shallow. If they aren’t breaking, it’s deeper there and you should move your kids somewhere well away from it because chances are, that’s the spot that’s pulling out to sea. What looks to you like the most serene patch of water can very well be the most dangerous. Also, don’t swim very close to jetties or piers. Riptides often form next to them as water is forced out to sea.

4. Know how to get out of a riptide

Riptides can be very scary if you’re in one. You swim and swim and swim towards shore, but either make no progress, or get farther and farther away. If you’ve never been in a riptide, imagine swimming to the end riptide-diagramof your pool, only you’re swimming uphill and the water is pushing you back. There is a very simple solution to this. Swim parallel to the shore, not towards it. The riptide might only be a few yards wide. Once you’re out of it, getting to shore will be relatively easy again.

5. Talk to the lifeguards before you go in

This is a surprisingly simple thing to do that most people overlook. You might be looking at the lifeguard and think to yourself, Pffff… That kid is 19 years old, tops. What can he/she tell me that I don’t already know… Well, when it comes to the ocean, I guarantee you that they know more than you might ever know. In one summer, it’s very likely that those “kids” will spend more time on the beach and in the ocean than most people will in their entire lives. They are the experts and you should respect that. Ask them where the safest place is for you and the kids. Have them point out dangerous spots (they’ll know where they are and where they form with changing tides). If you’re not a strong swimmer, let them know and ask them to keep a particular eye out for your children. I promise you that if you show them that you are making an effort, they will make an effort for you as well.

6. Recognize when someone is in trouble

I strongly recommend that everyone read this article and share it with everyone you know. “Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning”http://mariovittone.com/2010/05/154/. It gives you a very real description of what to look for and recognize when someone is in desperate need of help. They cannot call out, they cannot scream. They simply go under. I’ll leave this quote from it here: “Children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.”

7. Assign a guardian when you are away

There are obviously going to be times that you can’t watch the kids. You might have to go to the bathroom or feed a parking meter. A mistake that many people (especially those in groups) make is assuming someone else is watching the kids. They are there with eight other adults, so someone is looking out while you’re away, right?? The problem that arises is that every other parent is also assuming someone else has their eyes on your kids. When you need to leave, assign someone specific to watch your children. Tell them “You are in charge of them until I come back. DO NOT STOP WATCHING THEM UNTIL THEN.” Be firm about it. If you don’t give someone this responsibility, you can’t assume that someone is going to just naturally take over.

So please take caution this summer. Watch your kids at the beach, at the pool, heck, even near the mall fountain. Once you know what to look for and what to look out for, you can spend time on the beach passing that knowledge on to your children. They will be safe while you’re with them and armed with the lessons you give them, they’ll be safe in the future when they are on their own.