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Swim Lessons for Survival and Watersports

Swimming is an enjoyable fun sport, but the main purpose is to help you survive an emergency.

Lesson Goals: Overcome anxiety and learn proper breath control, comfort with submersion, float on the front and back, kick to and from the wall, roll onto the back as a place of safety, and elementary backstroke.

The first session teaches how to move, balance and enjoy swimming. Take time to focus on individual skills instead of one overwhelming exercise.

Build up your fitness levels and water confidence as you socialise with others in this fun activity. Laughter is a good way to release some of the tension. When scared or nervous, most people tense up, losing their ability to react to the water. Shake it off, dance it out, have a giggle or smile. Remember, we do this because it is fun.

Water Test

A water test helps to assess your swimming ability and suggests areas of improvement. You want to be confident in the water with your head above and below.

Basic Swimming Strokes

Primary Focus: This foundational swim class is for beginner students to achieve comfort with the six basic swimming strokes and skills needed to stay safe.

Improve Skills and Swimming Strokes

Primary Focus: Participants will gain proficiency in advanced aquatic skills and swimming strokes. This swim class includes control of breathing for underwater swimming. It is for students with no anxiety when submerging or floating on their backs.

Student Goals: To efficiently move through the water demonstrating confidence of breath control, freestyle and backstroke.

Learn Swimming in Clothes

Do you fancy a swim in your clothes? Whether you're experienced in many watersports, or simply want to do something different on your holidays, you should be able to swim at least 50 metres fully clothed, just in case.

During many watersports you often have to swim in clothes. It is an essential skill because a good soaking is often part of their appeal. For most activities like sailing, canoeing, kite surfing or adventure racing, you'll wear more than just a pair of shorts. When your boat capsizes, or you fall in, or you decide to go for a spontaneous swim, you will get soaked, voluntarily or not.

Any true watersport gets you soaking wet. While safety precautions should be taken, the nature of watersports recommends that you wear attire which reduces the possibility of mishap. It is all part of the adventure. Great fun when practiced often. You will get quite fit over time doing this. Come prepared to get soaked and have a lot of fun swimming in your boating kit.

Better swimming lessons start easy and get progressively harder when they include elements of survival swimming. Clothing is used for realistic lessons and training to be prepared for an eventual emergency. The Dutch Zwem ABC is the probably the best programme that uses this approach. Start with light clothing, then jogging suits or tracksuits, and finally a canoeing cag/anorak with spray deck.

Objectives: Get familiar with your watersport clothing and adventure kit in the water. Most watersports involve getting wet from spray or going into the water, sometimes often, sometimes only occasionally.

You keep warm in special clothing designed for immersion during watersports, plus the usual sportswear or casuals. Function and comfort are as important as preparedness and familiarity. Swimming in your watersports clothes is great fun to learn and practice before you go for any adventures.

Student Goals: Once you've carefully chosen your adventure kit, try it in a local swimming pool. Wear different outfits in the water to see if you can swim well in them. They should not hinder your movements or trap large amounts of air or water. Above all the should fit well and feel good in and out of the water.

Essential Safety Lessons

You can learn this in survival swimming lessons, so you get used to wearing all your kit in the water. Swimming lessons come in different stages and levels, from easy for beginners to tough survival lessons.

With fun and games, beginners learn about water safety, the basic swimming strokes, how to build fitness, and help keep others safe in and around the water. Once you've mastered this, you can enjoy watersports and other wet fun activities without worry.

Essential skills like swimming in a variety of clothes can be mixed with games and challenges, designed to improve your swimming and water confidence. Your instructor should be in the water, right with you for coaching and safety.

Swimming pools provide a warm and safe environment to begin your fully clothed swim training. Get permission first and check the dress code. Pool operators prefer you to wear man-made fibres that don't clog up the pool filters. For more details about survival swimming in clothes and lifesaving rescue skills visit the Free Lifesaving Society

Reasons for Swimming in Clothes

Swimming is much more strenuous with clothing. This is a fun challenge after getting used to it and is required for every lifeguard badge. It is for your own safety if you know how to move around in the water with clothes on. It's easier than you might think at first. Still, it's very different from just swimming in swimwear.

You must be able to swim in clothes at the latest to obtain your first lifeguard badge. You even have to push or pull a second person in clothing through the water, this is the transport swim.

It is for your own safety if you know how to move in the water while wearing clothes. If you should accidentally fall or jump into the water in full gear, you are not overwhelmed with the situation.

It may be quite a challenge to swim several pool lengths fully clothed, but it is healthy fun and gets you strong over time. Try a variety of outfits to gain confidence in the water. Once you're good at swimming in your adventure clothes and have achieved an adequate level of confidence, keep it up to stay fit.

How to Move in the Water with Clothes on

Breaststroke is best for clothes swimming because your arms stay in the water at all times. This is how you minimise the force required.

With other swimming styles, your arms move well above the surface of the water, which puts the weight of your wet clothing on you.

It is advantageous if you have mastered different swimming styles, so you can change your style when you get tired. A change in style, even if it is more difficult, can help bridge the period of exhaustion. In between, float flat on the surface of the water on your back, so you can recharge your batteries and treat yourself to a break.

When you practice swimming in clothes often you'll be prepared for an emergency. You also train strength and stamina in this way. Survival swim courses are offered by some of the better leisure centres.

You can practice this in lakes or other bodies of water, but you should never do this alone. Always stay in the shallow water to get on your feet if necessary. Swim slowly and always stay within reach of the shore, as you can quickly run out of strength. Another person should be with you to help.

Regular Training Sessions

With regular swim training you can prepare and get very fit. We recommend 2-3 swim sessions a week for resistance swim training, fully clothed. Alternate this 2-3 times a week with endurance swimming just in your sleek swimsuit. Swim about 200-400 meters in each session and you'll notice how the clothes slow you down and how exhausted you get. The more you train, the longer you last.

Variety

Once you're familiar with your watersports kit in the water, vary your training more and more to keep it interesting. Try clothes for other watersports, add webbed gloves or flippers. Once you've tried all the watersports kit, switch to casual clothes like hoodies and jeans over a comfy base layer. See what difference all these clothes make to your swimming ability. This may save your life one day.

Reader Comment: Water Safety

by Martin, from Osaka, Japan

As part of an exchange programme for swimming and lifesaving teachers I went to Osaka to observe and participate in their swimming classes.

This session was focused on water safety. The students are asked to bring some spare clothes, and each had an opportunity to ‘fall’ into the water with their clothes on. They were all so surprised at how much heavier they felt when they came out of the water.

Students were led through several different exercises including somersaults, back floats with life jackets on, and proper safety steps to take before you jump into the water.

It was a unique class that the students really enjoyed. We are halfway through our swimming classes and are already so impressed with the improvements in strength and confidence we are seeing in the students. Keep it up swimmers!