Register your kids for lessons today at SwimWest's
Fitchburg location on 6220 Nesbitt Road (call 276-7946)
or at our Madison location on 1001 Deming Way (call
831-6829) or at our east side location inside theCrowne
Plaza hotel (call 512-5071).
Come see a Banana Lady TM show and receive a
free swim pass!
Everyone wants to be in or around the water. Hanging
out at the pool or the beach on a hot day is a great
way to beat the heat. Most people don't think much
about water safety — but they should. For people
between the ages of 5 and 24, drowning is the second
leading cause of accidental death. It doesn't have
to be that way, though. Most water-related accidents
can be avoided by knowing how to stay safe and following
a few simple guidelines.
"Buddy up!" That's what swimming
instructors say. Always swim with a partner, every
time — whether you're swimming in a backyard
pool or in a lake. Even experienced swimmers can become
tired or get muscle cramps, which might make it difficult
to get out of the water. When people swim together,
they can help each other or go for help in case of
Get skilled. It's always good to be prepared.
Learning some life-saving skills, such as CPR and
rescue techniques, can help you save a life. A number
of organizations offer free classes for both beginning
and experienced swimmers and boaters. Check with your
YMCA or YWCA, local hospital, or chapter of the Red
Know your limits. Swimming can be a lot of
fun — and you might want to stay in the water
as long as possible. If you're not a good swimmer
or you're just learning to swim, don't go in water
that's so deep you can't touch the bottom and don't
try to keep up with skilled swimmers. That can be
hard, especially when your friends are challenging
you — but it's a pretty sure bet they'd rather
have you safe and alive. If you are a good swimmer
and have had lessons, keep an eye on friends who aren't
as comfortable or as skilled as you are. If it seems
like they (or you) are getting tired or a little uneasy,
suggest that you take a break from swimming for a
Swim in safe areas only. It's a good idea
to swim only in places that are supervised by a lifeguard.
No one can anticipate changing ocean currents, riptides,
sudden storms, or other hidden dangers. In the event
that something does go wrong, lifeguards are trained
in rescue techniques. Swimming in an open body of
water (like a river, lake, or ocean) is different
from swimming in a pool. You need more energy to handle
the currents and other conditions in the open water.
If you do find yourself caught in a current, don't
panic and don't fight the current. Swim with the current,
gradually trying to make your way back to shore as
you do so. Even a very good swimmer who tries to swim
against a strong current will get worn out. If you're
going to be swimming in an open body of water, it's
a great idea to take swimming lessons beforehand that
provide you with tips on handling unexpected hazards.
Some areas with extremely strong currents are off
limits when it comes to swimming. Do your research
so you know where not to swim.
How to Choose the Best Swim School. The following
is a list of qualities you should look for when choosing
a swim program for your child.
1. A Reputation to be Proud Of. A good swim school
will be pleased for you to see their program before
enrolling. They will also have lots of happy customers
prepared to tell you about their experiences and children's
2. Friendliness and Helpfulness. As a provider of
early childhood and educational services, the school
will have a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Staff will
strive to meet your family's needs, answer your questions
and address your concerns.
3. Well Maintained, Clean Pool and Facilities. Pool
water will be clear and well sanitized. Good swim
schools will test their water quality at regular intervals
throughout the day and be happy to share the results.
4. Comfortable Water and Air Temperature. Babies,
young children and beginners need very warm water
and warm air. The warm atmosphere may be uncomfortable
for spectators, however this is only for a short time
and they usually appreciate that learners need to
be comfortable and relaxed.
5. Well Qualified Staff. All teachers should have
a nationally recognized swimming teaching and/or coaching
qualification, and a current resuscitation certificate.
Qualifications should be appropriate to the level
being taught. A good school will also have a core
of experienced teachers with specialist qualifications,
and will have consistency of philosophy and methods
throughout the school.
6. National Certification. A good swim school will
strive to achieve high standards through certification
with Swim Australia and ongoing development of their
staff and their programs.
7. A Child-Centered Teaching Philosophy. Skills
will be appropriate for the child's age, development
and ability. Children should never be placed under
stress during a swim lesson. Nervous beginners will
be reassured and gently introduced to new skills as
they gain in confidence.
8. Parental Involvement. Young children need the
security of having a parent close by. Until around
2 or 3 years of age babies need a career in the water
providing physical and emotional support. Having a
parent in view and showing positive interest is important
to all young children, especially preschoolers and
nervous beginners. A good school will welcome your
9. A Progressive Approach. Classes should be based
on a sound progression of swimming and water safety
skills. A good school will provide parents with written
information explaining the schools philosophy, levels
and skill progression.
10. Water Safety Skills. A good school will teach
children appropriate safety and survival skills whilst
acknowledging that no child is ever water safe. Children
must not be placed in stressful situations in order
to teach survival skills. Parents will be taught that
constant supervision is the only way to ensure a child's
11. Well Grouped Classes. All children in a class
should be at approximately the same level. This allows
the teacher to better cater for individual needs.
A good school will give consideration to children
with special needs.
12. Small Class Numbers for Young Children and Beginners.
Water depth will affect the number of children that
can be safely and effectively catered for in a group.
ASCTA recommends maximum group numbers for each level.
A good school will adhere to the guidelines and be
pleased to make them available.
13. Short Lessons for Learners. Young children and
beginners may become cold and tired if lessons are
longer than 30 minutes. Advanced swimmers will benefit
from longer sessions to build fitness and endurance.
14. Maximum 'Time on Task'. Children need to repeat
skills many times to learn and remember them. A good
school will provide repetition and 'quality practice'
- they are the key to developing good swimming technique.
15. Interesting and Challenging Activities. Activities
should be varied and fun. Children must be motivated
and challenged to learn well. Games and activities
will be carefully planned to develop and practice
16. A Comprehensive and Professional Program. Programs
should be ongoing, providing a range of programs from
beginners through to advanced swimmers.
17. Opportunity to Participate in Competitive Swimming.
A specialist swim school will be able to recommend
a good coaching program and club. Many swim schools
will provide higher level coaching programs and will
encourage developing swimmers to pursue swimming competition.
18. Safety At All Times. The good swim school will
always use equipment wisely and ensure children are
vigilantly supervised when under their care.
19. A Motivating System of Rewards/Awards. Children
in a good swim school will be confident and happy
to participate. Most schools will have a system in
place marking progression between levels, eg. certificates.
Smiles and laughter will be the norm and praise will
be given in large doses.