“Why learn to swim?”

Swimming has long been recognized by doctors and athletes as one of the best workouts you can give your body because it works almost all of your major muscle groups at the same time. Since you’re floating in the water and not in contact with any hard surfaces, there’s less pressure on your joints and bones. You’re a lot less likely to suffer certain kinds of injuries than with other sports.

Cool Swimming Facts:
  • Because water lowers your body temperature, you don’t get as hot and sticky when you’re swimming as you do when participating in other forms of exercise or sports.
  • The workout in swimming comes from moving against the resistance of the water which is equal to more than ten times the resistance of air. So you get a cardio workout (like when running or doing aerobics) and a resistance workout (like when weight training) simultaneously.
  • Swimming is more than a fun sport and a way to stay healthy; it’s a skill that could save your life or help you save someone else’s life in an emergency.
  • Swimming regularly can help build muscle mass and reduce body fat.

“When should my child start swimming?”

As early as possible! As soon as your child is capable of independent motion, they are capable of getting into water and drowning. Swimming and water familiarisation are life skills essential to lowering the risk of drowning. Enrolling your child in swimming lessons is a Lifetime Investment.

“How long will it take my child to swim?”

All children progress at a different rate. Children that have positive experiences in the water tend to learn to swim and exhibit water safety sooner than those children who have had negative experiences in the water. Just like any skill that is being learned, it takes time and practice. The earlier your child starts swimming, the sooner your child will learn to swim. Please remember that no child should ever be considered “drown-proof”, regardless of swimming experience or ability. No-one is ever “drown proof”. We do however say that a child is “water safe” once they can swim by themselves. Different people react different ly to different situations, and even the most experienced swimmers can drown in certain situations. The emphasis needs to be on safety and so children should never be left unattended around pools or open water.

“How do I know when my child knows how to swim?”

We are in the business of teaching children to swim and save lives. That means a person can maintain themselves indefinitely in the water. To do so, requires the ability to exhale used air and inhale new air. That’s called Aerobic Swimming (just like being able to talk while you jog). Our standard is that a person should be able to swim 250 meters non-stop, and swim 6 different styles of swimming, to be considered a “swimmer.” 200 meters is important. Scientists have found that humans can swim 200 meters without being able to breathe effectively. But without the ability to breathe effectively, eventually that person will get in trouble, and possibly endanger their life. That goal won’t be quickly achieved. It takes time. But it can save your child’s life. That’s worth the investment of time. After all, learning to swim is a LIFETIME GIFT.

“How do I know when my child is a strong swimmer?”

Most parents have unrealistic perceptions about their child’s swimming skills. Isolated demonstration of a skill (like holding your knees face down and “bobbing” in the water like a chicken nugget in a vat of frying oil… favourite trick!) or “loves playing in the water” does not exemplify the endurance and confidence it takes to sustain a stoke over distance. A healthy love and respect for the water is essential, but the most assuring confirmation of your child’s ability is to see them swimming an uninterrupted, masterful and confident 300 meter freestyle.

“How many lessons should we take?”

Swimming is a skill in which the more time and proper exposure you can acquire, the better off the swimmer will be. If you want your child to swim safely, in a relaxed manner with adequate technique, several sessions of eight to twelve classes should be expected. Most of our parents notice that after each class, their child progresses significantly. Since they want such progression and mastery to continue, they proceed with back-to-back sessions. If fun and overall comfort in the water is your goal, then fewer sessions will be needed.

“When should my child stop taking swimming lessons?”

This really depends on you and your child’s goals. Our teaching methods are geared to take children from 6 months all the way up to recreational swim team. We love to see our swimmers move on and compete in swimming at a team level.

“To what level can you take my child in their swimming?”

We have the highest standards in all of our levels starting with our baby classes through to our junior & adult squads. We will teach your child to swim and race with the best technique in all 4 competitive swim strokes, but most importantly our aim is to teach children to be extremely confident swimmers, whether it is for ocean swimming, scuba diving or surfing!!

With regular race practice & preparation in our training programs, your child will be well prepared for school swimming galas, nippers and a healthy active lifestyle.

“What can I do to help my child learn how to swim?”

  • The best way to get your child swimming is to take part in quality swimming lessons from as early as possible. We start babies from 6 months of age.
  • Lessons need to be consistent and all year round to be of most benefit. Twice per week is best.
  • Be on time, have a good pair of goggles a comfort table cap and get involved!!
  • Children love being watched and love to show off & feel proud of their swimming achievements, so lots of claps and compliments.
  • Outside of lessons there is much you can do to enhance your child’s progress. Spend time together enjoying the water whether it be at bath time or at the local swim Centre.
  • Be an example, children do copy & imitate what they see so if you love the water and swimming, so will they!!
  • Give your child opportunities to just have fun around water outside of lesson times. It is a good idea to keep lessons and play times separate. Lessons are for learning and being challenged by their teacher and play times are for fun where children can experiment and practice their skills in their own time.
  • Swimming is not only a lifesaving skill but will bring so much joy and health to your lives and family relationships. So get swimming and have loads of fun!!

“Do you recommend my child use a flotation device?”

No, not without the supervision or instruction of one of our instructors. Our instructors are adept and assessing a child and how a device may help that child swim. Water wings and other flotation devices that are similar only give the child a false sense of skill and safety in the water. The best flotation device, used by our instructors, is one that keeps the swimmer horizontal – not vertical.

“How are you qualified to teach swimming?”

Each of our instructors has, at the very least, three years of aquatic instruction experience-in some cases much more. Our instructors are all “Learn to Swim” qualified through Swimming South Africa. We also instructors qualified in “Bay Swimming” and in Water Aerobics.

Additionally, each of our instructors is qualified in First Aid.

“Why does my child seem to be “stuck” in a particular level?”

Children often hit a plateau and get stuck at a certain point. This is common when a child progresses very quickly in the beginning or takes sessions off. Our instructors are trained on how to motivate the swimmers that have been in the same level.

Please it bring to our attention when you feel your child has been in a level longer than you would anticipate. We can then evaluate the reason why this may be happening and come up with steps to help your child move forward.

“Can my child swim more than once a week?”

Of course! The more a child is exposed to the water the faster they will learn to swim. Just be sure not to overdo it. Children need all kinds of activities to stimulate their minds and bodies.

“Do lessons continue during bad weather?”

The best really is to just remain open for all those faithful Capetonians who brave ANY kind of weather and show up. For those of you who ask the question “Are they open?”. The answer is YES, ALWAYS! The only danger in bad weather are potential thunder storms which, fortunately, we hardly ever get in Gordon’s Bay.

“Are parents allowed to be on the pool deck during lessons?”

Yes, we encourage parents to watch their children swim! Our program is meant to be seen, heard, learned, and enjoyed by everyone participating… including parents! The majority of our students do NOT need parents to leave. It’s a good thing! Your job is to cheer them on. Watch! Be ready with the towel and a big hug. However, it is never appropriate for a parent to become overly involved in the lesson or to try to instruct. That’s what you’ve hired us for, after all!

We know that having you close by gives your children a sense of security. Sometimes for the very young, timid swimmer we will have the parent come and sit by the edge of the pool with the child near them. The child can watch the teacher interact with the other students and see that this is a safe place. They will quickly join in.

Occasionally we will ask a parent to leave the room if the child refuses to cooperate. This is usually due to a strong will and only done when nothing else works. 99% of the time, the child will cooperate when they realize that they cannot control the situation! The parent then comes back into the swim area and the child has fun with their class!

“How does your program cater for special needs students?”

We like to take the approach that all children are equal in the water and so we encourage all of our special needs pupils to undergo the same program as our mainstream students with of course personal considerations depending on individual capabilities and needs. We do not like to put limits on what any child can achieve and aim high with all of our students!!

We love to see all children learn to relax and experiment with their personal buoyancy & floatation in the water. We also love to see all children learn how to behave safely in and around water and to practice survival skills at each lesson.

The water is such an amazing environment for all children and for special needs children it is even more so as it is such a weightless and stimulating environment. All children can learn to swim which is such a boost in their confidence, physical development and social interaction with other children. We would absolutely love to assist you wherever we can so please get the ball rolling and contact us.

“Why is warm water important?”

We keep our pool at 28-32 degrees Celsius year-round because it allows our students to swim in a relaxed environment. A cold pool usually results in cold, shivering students. A warm and relaxed environment creates a comfortable and fluid swimmer.

“Why does the water feel cold when the instructors tell me the temperature is 28 degrees?”

Water transfers heat nearly 25 times better than air. That means the body’s heat is leaving it at a rate 25 times faster in water than in air. Thus, 28 °C water feels the about the same as 18 °C air. As a result, you may feel cold if you don’t swim to generate body heat. This is why we keep the water warm.

“Why are my kids so tired and hungry after swimming?”

Certainly, swimming is a physical activity but ½ hour of swimming often seems to be much more exhausting than ½ hour of other sports activities. If your child is in an upper-level class, the answer may lie in your water bottle.  It’s easy, and common, to mistakenly figure that because your sweat isn’t obvious, that it’s not happening. You can sweat off up to 0.25 litres every 15 minutes in the pool.

Proper hydration is especially important particularly in a warm water facility like ours. 

Here are some Smart Swimmers Drinking Rules:

  • Take a healthy swig of fresh water (not pool water) every 15 minutes.
  • Pre-hydrate. Drink 2 to 3 cups of water an hour before swimming.
  • Drink before you are thirsty.
  • Staying fully hydrated will also help with the post swim munchies.

“Why do some people float better than others?”

With few exceptions everyone floats, however, most people think that they are the exception. The degree of buoyancy is dependent upon several factors: the ratio of fatty tissue to muscle tissue; the amount of bone mass; and lung capacity. Generally, persons who are physically fit are less buoyant. Our goal is to teach proper body position and balance so that each swimmer can maximize their buoyancy.

“How do you ensure that babies and small children don’t drink or choke on the water?”

Babies are born with a “swimmer’s reflex.” This reflex stays strong for at least the first six months of an infant’s life. This means children involuntarily hold their breath when submerged in water as the environment mimics their surroundings in the womb. In addition, our instructors use a method of teaching in which repetitive motions and verbal cues are used so that students are expecting the submersion. Swimming truly becomes natural and effortless for students, at any age, to learn comfortably.

“What benefits do babies receive from swimming?”

We begin our parent and child swimming classes with babies as young as 6 months old. There are many benefits that babies receive during these lessons. Babies less than a year old accept the water more readily than older children. Fear or anxiety about water is acquired as children grow older. The longer the baby is kept away from water, the more likely the child will develop this fear or anxiety.

Infants are well adapted to swimming. When they are submerged, they automatically hold their breath and make swimming movements. These reflex behaviours begin to fade as early as 5 months and must be renewed with practice. Babies can exercise more muscles in the water than on land. They are less restricted by gravity and their inability to sit or stand when they are in the water. This increased strength often translates into early acquisition of physical skills.

Early mastery of water movement has shown to provide babies a head start in learning basic swimming skills. Water helps improve coordination and balance by allowing babies to move bilaterally to maintain their equilibrium. Warm water, combined with exercise, relaxes and stimulates babies’ appetites. They usually sleep better on swimming days. Babies flourish in the focused attention their parents lavish on them during swimming.

Studies have shown that children who swim are 11 months more advanced in their oral expression and 6 months ahead in their mathematical reasoning. Swimming will enhance your child’s emotional development, their social development, cognitive development and of course their physical development and all this in addition to the safety & survival skills.

“Where can I change my child or baby?”

For your convenience, we provide changing cubicles and a baby changing station inside our facility.

“What Tips have you for a Successful First Baby Lesson?”

Condensed from “The Baby Swim Book” by Cinda L. Kocken & Janet McCabe

  • Pack your bag
  • Parent & baby’s swimsuits
  • Accessories to tie hair back
  • Three towels
  • Baby’s snack
  • Lotion
  • Diapering needs
  • Baby’s favourite water-resistant toy
  • Arrive early to allow time to acclimatize to the new environment.
  • Dress comfortably and familiarize the child with the suit they will be wearing. (Remember children that are not potty trained MUST wear a cloth snug fitting, reusable swim diaper.)
  • Feed your baby a light snack such as a cracker or piece of banana 15 minutes before the lesson and bring a snack for after the lesson. Swimming is hard work.
  • Accommodate your child’s nap time and if possible schedule a nap before the lesson.
  • Come prepared to participate fully, your interactions and participation will set the tone for your baby’s involvement.

“Do I need to be in the water with my child during their swimming lesson?”

Our baby classes (6-24 months) do require each child to be accompanied in the water by an adult as our classes are designed to teach you, the parent, confidence in the water with your child. It is our aim to encourage and develop both of you together.

We will teach you how to submerge your child underwater safely and confidently, how to hold your child in the water, how to develop good techniques in floating, kicking and gliding so that your child will feel safe and relaxed in the water.

These are skills that you will be able to take with you into everyday bath time, holidays, social swims and beach times. You are the most important part of your child’s swimming experience!!

Once your child progresses into the “Learn to Swim” classes, from 2 years old and up, then you will not be required in the pool.