Year Round Swimming
Year Round Swimming
Heading into Easter marks the end of Queensland’s hotter weather, and with this change in seasons many parents choose to forego swimming lessons in favour of other winter sports or activities. WAIT! There are several critical issues to be considered by parents in respect of swimming as an activity that their child ought to continue all-year round.
The most important of these issues pertains to the dangers that are posed by water which do not abate just because the months are cooler.
While aquatic activities are generally associated with the summer months, Queensland enjoys an inherently warm climate where swimming in pools, spas and at the beach is possible even when the temperature falls. Also, many and most homes possess potential drowning hazards such as baths, ponds, pools, laundry tubs and water features.
Learning to swim is the only sport that when learned will assist in saving a life. Many parents make an informed decision to enrol their children in swim lessons as a part of their child’s water safety education so, with the foregoing safety issue in mind, any subsequent decision to postpone or replace these swim lessons in the winter months should be considered carefully.
Swimming should not be regarded as a substitute or an additional summer sport, but instead should be given priority in the family schedule and budget. Apart from the issue of safety mentioned above, discontinuation of lessons typically results in a decline in a child’s water confidence and/or their independence, technique and stamina within a period of several weeks or even less.
Months of summer lessons end up “going to waste” as swimmers lose their “feel for the water” both physically and psychologically. Children need maintenance and reinforcement of existing skills to build to new levels and to progress and develop.
For those in the infant, toddler and pre-schooler age group categories where learning development and social interaction is just beginning to occur, such maintenance and reinforcement is particularly important.
Swimming has been proven to assist in brain development and, for school-aged children, is regarded as vital for the development of academic performance, and for the development of attributes including coordination, motor skills, balance and concentration.
Humans are very adaptable when it comes to activities on land, but progress and development in the aquatic environment requires greater persistence and commitment. Although other alternative winter activities and sports with associated “in-water” activities may be undertaken, sequential and continuous swimming lessons are the best way to prevent swim development regression over the winter months.
Failure to attend lessons consistently invariably leads to the child being unable to perform at the level they were previously able and, in turn, to a decline in performance.
In terms of the family budget, it may be economically more advantageous to swim all-year round than to pay for either additional summer lessons or for extra lessons within a term to compensate for the decline in the child’s swimming development that has occurred over the winter break.
So make swimming a priority all year round! After all, a continual commitment from parents and children to swimming will guarantee successful aquatic skill development.
© 2009 Julia Ham/Hampton Swim School Pty Ltd