Learning to Swim: A Skill You Can’t Learn Online
Now more than ever, children are turning to the internet to learn new skills―from sports to art, music, dance and everything in between. There’s a lot that children can do online but there’s one thing they CAN’T do online: learn to swim! While the internet can be a helpful resource for those wishing to supplement proper lessons, children cannot swim via YouTube alone. Swimming―and especially the techniques critical for surviving a water accident―is far too important of a skill to learn without proper instruction from a certified professional. Enrolling in formal swim lessons can dramatically reduce the risk of drowning and provide experiential training, such as swimming in clothing and practicing self-rescue.
Formal Swim Lessons Reduce the Risks of Drowning
Drowning is one of the leading causes of death for children, and an alarming number of children haven’t learned to swim or lack the swimming abilities necessary to save themselves during an emergency. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “from 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States―about ten deaths per day.” The CDC adds that “about one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger.”
The good news: most drownings are preventable! Statistics reported by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) show that participation in formal swim programs, such as those offered by British Swim School, can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children who are most at risk for accidental death by drowning.
Are Swim Lessons Safe with Coronavirus?
Formal swim lessons are an important step towards water safety, but are they safe right now? The CDC has listed swimming as one of the safer activities for children during the COVID-19 pandemic and in fact, the CDC's reporting on Aquatics Venues indicates that there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread directly from water in pools, and that properly maintained pools should deactivate the virus that causes COVID-19. Outside of the water, indoor swimming pools are ventilated at a very high rate, which removes byproducts, viruses and germs from the air quickly, minimizing the duration of exposure. Of all of the spaces within a building, the indoor pool area will have the highest air turn-over, introducing fresh air into the space and improving the air quality! Indoor pool environments are also humid spaces by design, which recent studies have indicated are better than dry environments at preventing the transmission of viruses!
In tandem with the United States Swim School Association’s (USSSA) "COVID Action Plan” and the BSS Cares Campaign, we're using CDC guidelines to further reduce the risk by conducting daily health check-ins with all staff, swimmers and families, staggering class times to allow for additional cleaning and sanitization, limiting the equipment used in our instruction, and much more! Please visit our Health & Safety Measures page for more detailed information and answers to frequently asked questions!
Safety remains our number one priority, and we are committed to providing an environment that allows children to continue water safety and swimming lessons! Since re-opening, British Swim School has held over 7,000 lessons without one reported case of COVID spread at one of our pools! Furthermore, data reported by the USSSA reports that private indoor swim school businesses that are operating are doing so without a single outbreak of COVID!
5 Factors to Consider When Choosing A Swim School
A common question once families are ready to get started is, “how should we determine which swim school is right for us?” Here are five factors we'd recommend taking into consideration when choosing the best swim school for your children!
1. Safety & Survival Focus
The most important factor that goes into choosing a swim school is safety. Should all other safety precautions fail, water safety and survival skills can save a child’s life if they ever find themselves in the water unexpectedly. As a part of the program’s water safety training, children should learn to swim without goggles and experience what it feels like to jump, roll and float while wearing regular clothing. Having these experiences in a controlled environment―rather than in a “life-or-death” situation―will help to prevent panic if they ever find themselves underwater without their traditional swim gear.
2. Highly Trained Instructors
Strong swimming skills don’t always translate to strong teaching skills. When it comes to swim lessons, leave it to the experts! Instructors should be adequately trained and certified through nationally recognized, reputable organizations. Affiliations with programs such as The United States Swim School Association, Stop Drowning Now and the U.S. Center for SafeSport are also an indication that a swim school is focused on proper education for their staff and students!
3. Clear Objectives & Achievable Goals
Clear objectives are the foundation of a productive learn-to-swim program. It’s important for children to follow a thoughtfully planned curriculum, with goals and benchmarks to ensure they’re progressing over time. Far too often, children become stuck at the same level for an extended period of time or advance to the next level based on age rather than ability. Some children progress more quickly than others, but in all cases, steady and constant progress needs to be maintained.
4. Small Class Sizes
When assessing swim schools, it’s important to find the proper balance in class size. Classes that are too large can become overcrowded and lack personalized attention, while class that are too small can cause children to miss out on valuable social opportunities. Typically, class sizes between 4 – 6 students are considered the gold standard. Small groups provide valuable social interaction while keeping students engaged at all times, whether it’s in the pool itself, observing classmates from the pool wall, or on the pool deck taking part in activities!
5. Fun Environment
Bottom line: swim lessons should be fun! While lessons should be taken seriously and follow a structured curriculum, students will progress faster when lessons incorporate songs, splashing and fun! After all, the goal is to build a lifelong love for swimming and water fun!
British Swim School is Committed to the Best Instruction Available
Swimming is an essential safety technique that should not be taught haphazardly. When it comes to choosing a swim school, assessing the five factors outlined above will help parents determine the important balance between convenience, price and quality. No matter which of our swim schools you attend, British Swim School remains committed to providing the best instruction available!
Interested in learning more? Find a British Swim School location near you and contact their friendly team of local experts today!