Swimming Year Round Makes a World of Difference

Date:  Sep 07-2007

            Most children take swimming lessons for a few weeks, or even a few months during the summer only. This is fun and convenient, as the pool is a nice place to cool down and have some fun, and Mom or Dad can get a tan while s/he waits. However, there are many benefits to swimming year ‘round.
            Swimming is a skill. Everyone can see the difference between a child who learned to swim on his/her own and the child who has developed swimming skills. The thrashing, splashing and wasted energy is quite evident. It may not even matter to the parents, until the unskilled child gets tired, panics, or finds him/herself in a predicament he/she is not accustomed to. The skilled swimmer usually finds his way through these predicaments without incident. An excellent swim program is one that teaches children how to help themselves when they panic.
            Swimming is a lifelong skill that is not only used in sport and recreation, but is lifesaving as well. Children are drawn to water and need every layer of protection they can get. Teaching this vital skill is like fencing your pool or locking your doors that open out to the pool. Every layer of protection may help buy you time to save your child’s life!
            Year ‘round swim programs have year ‘round swim instructors. As redundant as it sounds, an instructor working for 1 year, all year, has more experience than an instructor who has worked for 3 years, summers only. It’s always amusing and misleading to hear that a seasonal instructor has 10 years experience.
            Your child’s progress grows exponentially when skills are learned, defined and refined. When progress grows, confidence, skills and proper habits are developed. When practice stops abruptly, some skill level is lost. Would you even think of putting your child in piano lessons or karate for 6 weeks a year, hoping to gain great skill or confidence? It is true that children who love water will practice swimming on their own more than they would piano or karate, but practicing the wrong skills breeds bad habits, too.
            Finally, there is a compromise that makes a great deal of sense. In swimming, children develop the most confidence and skill taking lessons three times per week, so that bad habits are abolished and good habits reinforced, without losing the confidence gained in the last lesson.   More lessons in a week tend to be overwhelming and the fun is lost. As long as it is hot and everyone enjoys going to the pool, sign up for lessons two or three times per week. When school resumes and the days are shorter and cooler, drop down to once a week, so that all the skills developed in the Summer are reinforced, as well as the confidence and growth of new skills. When the following Spring rolls around, you will be amazed at the growth and progress of the previous year, and you will be confident that your time and money were well spent. Your child can be confident in having learned swim skills that will last a lifetime.