Open swim can help
Almost everyone has heard the phrase, “practice makes perfect,” right? When it comes to swimming, there is nothing more helpful that constant practice. Open swim times are probably one of the best opportunities for that. If you are just starting to swim, training for a triathlon, or anything in between, open swim times at the local pool are always beneficial.
For children, this is where Family Swim comes to play. Over the years, I’ve seen lots and lots of children who are starting to swim at an older age. Parents are bringing their child in for their first swim lesson and the child is clinging to them, not wanting to swim. One big reason that I’ve noticed new students get so scared on their first day is because they have had little to no opportunity to get into the water with the people they trust the most; their parents. They are being handed to a stranger for their first experience in the water. Of course, there are many factors as to why parents would rather have an instructor be with their child on their first day in the water, but swimming with someone they already know and trust can be especially helpful.
When I can tell the child is not getting comfortable at a “normal” pace, I suggest parents take them to an open swim time. Here, the child is able to explore. With the whole family, it can create a more fun and engaging experience. They are going to be more likely to put their face in the water and swim if they are with someone they know. Children are able to test their limits in a safe and positive way by playing. It is no longer a swim lesson, it is just fun. Little do they know, they’re practicing, and with practice, comes progress.
If you are a parent wanting to take your child to open swim, remember to bring a safe flotation device such as a puddle jumper. Bring toys that float and toys that sink. Depending on their comfort, they can practice submersion, reaching, etc. You could even bring a plastic cup and practice getting their face wet and let them get your face wet. Make it fun!
For adults, this is a great time to practice without your instructor staring at you for 30 min. This is free range. Figure out what feels good to you. Get comfortable with your body and how it moves in the water. The more you do it, the easier it will come. Swimming once a week may not be enough to make the progress you want to make, but even just getting in the water and floating or kicking for 15min outside of class can drastically help you progress.
I have been swimming all my life, I am in the water all the time for work, and I still enjoy going to an open swim time to keep up my endurance. I learn something about myself every time I go. You will too.
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