Creating Safe Swimmers

Want your child to be safe and confident in Singapore’s many pools and waterparks? We get the lowdown from leading swim programs, State Swim and Marsden Swim School.

State Swim

What’s the end goal of swimming lessons?  
“While not everyone can become an Olympic gold medallist, all children should be confident and safe in the water by the time they leave primary school,” says State Swim Operations Manager, Melisa Tay. “We believe that a strong and safe swimmer is someone who can swim 400m of freestyle confidently with good technique, this is what we offer in our 400-Gold program.”

What age is best to start swimming lessons?
“We start at four months old and I honestly believe the younger you start the better,” says Marsden Swim School coach Sam Jackson. “Swimming is a confidence sport and infancy is a great time to introduce them to water in a safe environment, before any anxiety has set in. A relaxed body is a buoyant body and a tense one sinks! Classes are a wonderful way to pick up the tools to take home and a fun environment for kids to build confidence together.”

Finding the right coach is crucial

Is swim squad a good idea for my developing swimmer?
“Once graduating from the 400-Gold program, our swimmers can then move into our squad program,” says Melisa. “It helps keeps children fit and active, whilst developing their technique. In Australia, we have over 1500 children per week enjoying our squad program, participating in time trials and inter school carnivals. It’s a fantastic step in encouraging kids to have fun with swimming and set personal goals.”
“At Marsden, we encourage competition from national level down,” adds Sam. “We compete in the fun Merlion League where everyone from first timers to the more seasoned swimmer can enjoy low pressure competition. It’s a wonderful motivator, but we encourage our kids to understand we all develop at different speeds. At the end of the day if they continue to set their own personal bests, they are winning.”

How can you encourage a reluctant swimmer to enjoy water?
“Don’t rush them,” says Sam. “Forcing a child underwater can be traumatic. Make it fun, smile lots, and keep encouraging. Our coaches are very patient and have always found taking it at the child’s pace is the fastest way to creating a confident swimmer. Be patient!”

What’s the key to water safety in Singapore?
“With so many unfenced pools in Singapore it’s so important our kids learn a respect for water, and we are extra careful monitoring them,” says Sam. “Right from the start we can teach kids to relax, float, and turn and swim back to the wall if need be. Even practicing climbing in and out of the pool is essential. Please watch your kids.”

What’s the secret to buying good googles?
“Find something that fits their smaller eye socket – kids should wear kids-appropriate shapes. Also, the reason goggles don’t last is that they’re worn far too tight. They need to cover the eyes, be comfortable, and a light push should ensure a seal!”

Tips for finding the right coach
• AUSTSWIM certified and continually updates their skills
• Enthusiastic, engaging and knowledgeable
• Understands all stages of development, from babies to competitive swimming
• Encourages kids to try their best in their lessons, without bribery or punishment

stateswim.com.sg
marsdenswimschool.com