What you learn in swimming school

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Keep your head above water with a simple flotation device
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Swimming school teaches students to relax and get a feel for the water

Swimming school is the first stop for many people who are ready to learn how to swim. Each swim school will have its own approach to how students are taught, but the basic skills you’ll learn are the same.

Unlike many activities, learning how to swim is a mental and physical challenge. A good swim school addresses students’ fears and builds their confidence level one skill at a time.

Learning to swim is a process that takes time. For students with a fear of water and adults who haven’t had much exposure, swimming is a lot harder than it looks. Still, swimming across a pool for the first time is extremely empowering, and just the beginning of developing a fun, healthy hobby.

You can expect to learn a variety of skills in swimming school, from the mechanics of different strokes, to holding your breath, to treading water. Most swim courses occur over several weeks, multiple times a week. Be patient.

The first few classes are about getting comfortable in the water. Swim instructors often focus on getting students to feel calm and confident in the water with small challenges.

Swimming School Basics

* Many swim classes start students with flotation equipment. This enables students to focus on learning the strokes and kicking without worrying about floating and sinking. (Flotation devices are to be a swimming aid for beginners, but you shouldn’t rely on them to keep you above water.)

* Infant and toddler aquatic programs are intended to introduce young children to water and teach parents about safeguarding toddlers around a pool or open water.

* One of the big goals of swimming school is to show students that the water can be fun. If you don’t feel comfortable putting your face in the water, consider bringing goggles so you can see how cool it looks beneath the surface. As you learn how to float, your fear of putting your face under water will most likely decrease.

* Learning the mechanics of popular strokes and how to breathe properly while swimming is challenging, but fun. The front, crawl, breast and back stroke will be some of the first swims you learn in swim school.

* Water safety is something your instructor will continually reinforce. You’ll learn to never ever run around a pool, to always look and make sure the path is clear before you jump or dive in and to never swim alone – to name a few important water safety rules.

When you’re shopping around for a good swim school, make sure to check your local parks department. Some offer free swim lessons. New York City’s Parks Department, for instance offers free swim classes to children under 14.

Attending swim school is an exciting step whether you’re a child or adult. Learning how to swim will open your world to the weightless sensation of gliding through the water. If you’re tossing the idea of swim school around in your head, go for it!

Learn 4 Good: Swimming
Red Cross: Be Safe by Learning to Swim

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