SAT COURSE MASTER FILE


 

Well done for taking up the challenge to complete the SAT course!

This online theory course involves 6 units of learning, You should aim to complete this online learning BEFORE you attend your practical induction to give you a broad knowledge of swimming and water safety. Please note completion of this online course is only one part of our blended training program.

You will also need to:

Good luck on your journey to becoming a qualified Swimming and Water Safety Teacher. 

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Swimming in Australia

The Aquatic Industry


The Aquatics Industry unit of study examines the large variety of aquatic activities available, the main aquatic organisations that service this industry and potential employment prospects and career pathways for swimming and water safety Teachers.

The Aquatic Industry

Lifestyles

The majority of Australians (and inhabitants of many regions of the world) have historically resided near the coastline and along inland waterways, using these environs as a ready source of food, transportation and recreation. Thus swimming is entrenched in many cultures as a necessary part of the everyday life.

Today, the level of economic development of a nation directly impacts upon the likely drowning toll of that nation. As a general trend, the higher the economic development the lower the drowning rate. This may be due to affluent societies having:

      • greater control and governance over the quality of water transport and swimming pools

      • more children taught to swim

      • higher quality and more abundant water safety education programs

      • less need for individuals to fend for food from aquatic environments

A Brief History of Swimming and Water Safety...

Records from the earliest time of Aboriginal and European settlement show that Australians have been at risk in aquatic environments with many drowning over the years.

As development spread, the urban footprint tended to follow the line of easiest transport routes which usually meant along waterways and the coastline.

Due to this close proximity to water, the need for the general population to have knowledge of and ability for swimming and water safety was born out of necessity for survival. This necessity still exists today.

The life saving movement commenced operations in Australia in the 1890’s and formalised into a movement in 1907 in response to the increasing risk of injury to recreational swimmers as people began to “enter the water” more and more. From the 1880’s to around the beginning of the 1900’s swimming groups organising competitions began to form in each state. With the speed of transportation increasing, competitions began to take place until today we have many local, regional, state and national competitions

Swimming Around the World

Swimming around the world varies greatly from culture to culture. Some cultures rely greatly on water for food and transport, yet do not venture into the water to “swim”. Children in some cultures seemingly have an innate fear of water either through the actions of parents or lack of opportunity to gain swimming and survival skills in water.

The concept of being taught to swim is largely unheard of in all but the OECD countries (Organisation of Economically Developed Countries) excepting that international schools in the hotter third world countries with western trained Teachers do conduct lessons. As a result, the drowning toll in many underdeveloped countries is much higher. Raw statistics from some third world countries suggest many drownings occur within 20 metres of the victim’s residence.

Wherever there is water there is a need for people to know basic swimming and water safety skills.

Swimming Around the World

Swimming and Water Safety Within Australian Culture

Some telling statistics in Australia:

  • 1 in 5 residences have a pool. Many other homes have rivers, canals,
          dams or lakes in close proximity
  • there are over 7,000 accessible ocean beaches
  • there are an estimated 60,000,000 annual beach visitations
  • after car accidents, drowning is the biggest preventable cause of childhood
          fatalities in children and youth of Australia
  • more Queensland children under 5 year of age were drowning than were
          dying in car accidents prior to the introduction of pool fencing legislation
  • for every drowning there are 4 near drowning incidences that require hospitalization
  • it is estimated to cost the community between AUD$370,000 and
          AUD$463,511 per drowning death or approximately AUD $100 million each year overall
  • Surf Life Saving Australia has over 300 clubs patrolling over 400 beaches
          and over 165,000 members, rescuing more than 11,000 people each year

Aquatic Activities

In the international arena, Australia is recognised for its strong competitive performance in elite swimming, masters swimming and lifesaving competitions especially when measured on a per capita basis.

Australia’s performance in associated competitive activities and the ease of accessibility to water also drives a desire by the majority of the population to gain proficient aquatic skills. This educational demand has lead to a large number of schools investing in quality aquatic facilities to enhance their students’ learning. Local government councils have also invested heavily in aquatic facilities for the general community. A more professionally managed approach by swim schools has also seen a rise in the number of commercially built facilities.

A whole sector of the aquatic sport and recreation industry has evolved around the teaching, administration, training, servicing and delivery of aquatic education. Countless Australians are alive today, thanks to their own personal survival skills or to the efforts of volunteer and paid lifesavers, lifeguards and bystanders utilising skills learnt through the myriad of swimming and lifesaving organisations operating at national, state and local level.

With aquatic environments being so accessible, Australians have increasingly found more creative ways to play in the water. The aquatic environment is now an intrinsic part of everyday Australian life from “womb to tomb”. This may be for work, recreation or some other form of activity.

Below are the many and varied environments.

Aquatic Activities

Recreational Pursuits

  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet-skiing
  • Sailing
  • Swimming training and competitions,
  • Water Polo
  • Synchronised Swimming
  • High Diving
  • Underwater Hockey
  • Deep water running
  • Fin Swimming
  • Open water
  • Distance swimming
  • Water Skiing
  • Wake boarding
  • Para gliding
  • Surfing/Kite boarding
  • Body boarding
  • Surf skiing
  • Fishing
  • Triathlon
  • Diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Spear Fishing

Swimming and Water Safety Organisations

Australia has a well defined group of peak aquatic organisations delivering a range of services to constituents. Swim Australia Teachers should know about these major organisations and the roles they play in the aquatics Industry.

This understanding will assist with whatever future pathway a Teacher may choose to follow and provide some direction for further training and teaching resources.

Swim Peak Bodies

Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association (ASCTA)


Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association (ASCTA) www.ascta.com
is the industry body for Swimming Coaches and swimming and water safety Teachers.

ASCTA offers membership to swimming Coaches and Teachers. First year non-voting membership is included as part of entry level coaching or teaching courses (including ASCTA Teacher membership for trainees of the Swim Australia™ Teacher course)

ASCTA provides:

• a range of support services via its website

• resources for purchase such as books, videos, CDs, DVDs

• registration and accreditation for Coaches and Teachers

• ongoing professional development via journals, emails and websites

• swim school services, support and promotion via Swim Australia

• training courses and professional development via asctaAccreditation and VET recognised training via asctaCOLLEGE.

• conferences and workshops

• website advertising employment vacancies both domestic and international

• sample employment contracts

 

Swim Australia

Swim Australia www.swimaustralia.org.au is a division of the Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association, that was launched in 1997 to develop "learn to swim" in Australia to its full potential; resulting in all Australians learning to swim and gaining water safety knowledge through safe and enjoyable swimming lessons.

Swim Australia’s mission is to; help all Australians become safer, smarter and stronger through swimming. This is primarily achieved by developing and empowering our swim school network through the delivery of world’s best practice guidelines, professional development programs, growth opportunities and business support. It’s also about fun, and knowing Aussies are safer in and around water, as a result of their Swim Australia Registered Swim School experience, and their resulting knowledge.

To this end, Swim Australia:

• registers Swim Schools that meet industry standards as determined by ASCTA

• promotes the many excellent benefits of learning to swim and water safety

• provides the Swim Australia Registered Swim Schools with products, services and professional development programs to significantly enhance their operation.  Swim Australia is endorsed by Swimming Australia and the Federal Government’s Active Australia.

Swim Australia has over 600 registered swim schools Australia –wide and internationally. Swim Australia can assist if you are setting up your own swim school.

 

asctaACCREDITATION

asctaACCREDITATION
asctaACCREDITATION is the educational division of ASTCA. asctaACCREDITATION oversees the delivery of ASCTA training and education programs via the ASCTA Registered Training Organisation status and assists in the development of training management systems and quality assurance of courses.

asctaACCREDITATION oversees the delivery of the following entry-level courses:

·   Swim Australia™ Teacher (SAT)

·   Swim Australia ™ Teacher of Competitive Swimming (SAT CS)

·   Swim Australia ™ Teacher of Babies and Toddlers (SAT B&T)

Once students have completed the above pre-requisite course or courses, they can go on to take further specialist training in the following areas:

·   Adults and Adolescents (SAT AA)

·   Learners with a Disability (SAT LWD)

·   Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (SAT CALD)

asctaACCREDITATION also accredits professional development opportunities, such as “in-house training” at swim schools and in conjunction with some state associations offers other coaching courses.

asctaACCREDITATION provides other training opportunities such as a self-paced Swimming Pool Plant Operations course by correspondence and plans to release further teaching specialist courses in the near future.

In 2015 ASCTA launched asctaCOLLEGE which is a progressive, industry specific, education program within a VET regulated system which provides swimming Coaches and swimming and water safety Teachers with the knowledge and resources required to professionally develop themselves and the organisation in which they operate. Not only will Teachers and Coaches have the ability to continue their journey along the Swimming Australia Coach Accreditation Pathway they will now have access to a vast array of world class Learner Resources, specifically designed to create truly outstanding practitioners throughout our sport. 

Should you have suggestions to improve any of ASCTA’s course please submit these in writing to asctaACCREDITATION. Contributors whose submissions are used will be acknowledged in subsequent releases of the course.

 

Swimming Australia Ltd (SAL)


Swimming Australia Ltd (SAL) www.swimming.org.au is the peak body for the sport of swimming in Australia. SAL and its state affiliates conduct state and national competitions for age groupers and elite swimmers in short course (25 metre pools), long course (50 metre pools) and open water for both able bodied and swimmers with a disability.

Swimming Australia consists of the following member organisations:

• State and territory swimming associations

• ASCTA

• Australian Swimmers Association Inc.

Swimming Australia has a range of programs to assist the sport to grow such as:

• accredited training for coaches

• accredited training for officials

• incentive programs for members e.g. “Go Swim”

• swimming club development assistance and promotion via programs e.g. “Go Club”

Via their state associations, SAL delivers Bronze and Silver coaching courses as well as coaching extension courses relating to Open Water Swimming and Swimming with a Disability.

SAL flags

Federation Internationale De Natation (FINA)

Federation Internationale De Natation (FINA) www.fina.org  is the world swimming governing body. SAL is the only organisation representing Australia in FINA.

FINA governs swimming worldwide from its base in Lausanne, Switzerland and determines what the competitive rules of swimming, high diving, synchronised swimming, open water swimming, masters swimming and water polo shall be and oversees international events in all these disciplines.

Other countries have a similar peak body to SAL either specializing in aquatics or acting as the Olympic Games liaising agency for swimming.

Some strongly competitive swimming countries such as USA, Canada, South Africa, United Kingdom, Sweden and New Zealand have some system of accreditation for Teachers and Coaches, but generally recognise the Australian issued certificates through some sort of crossover arrangement.

Internationally, other organisations such as Red Cross and YMCA are also involved in delivering and training Teachers of Swimming and Water Safety.

To contact overseas swimming organisations visit the FINA website for links to all affiliated nations.

Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA)

Surf Lifesaving Australia (SLSA) www.slsa.com.au lifesavers have saved more than 530,000 lives since 1907. Surf Life Saving Australia has over 165,000 members, of all ages, in over 400 surf lifesaving clubs around the Australia coastline. Females were first admitted as full members of Surf Life Saving Australia in 1980 and now make up around 41 per cent of its total membership. Community education plays a vital role in aquatic safety. SLSA provides a number of courses that help understand the surf, along with community courses in first aid and resuscitation.

School education programs provide a popular and important introduction to the surf environment for many children. SLSA currently provides education packages through its Surf Survival, Surf Awareness, Surf Smart and Surf Safety programs. These programs are specially designed to give students an understanding of the surf environment and give them basic survival and rescue skills. SLSA also extends its school education to rural and remote communities through its Telstra Beach to Bush program.

SLSA also offers a wide range of education and training, from basic surf rescue to workplace training & assessment and post-graduate qualifications in Coastal Management linked with the University of Sydney. As a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), SLSA offers nationally recognised training to its members, industry and the general public.

Community course and education programs are conducted throughout the country via surf clubs and state offices. Entry level courses for kids start with the SLSA nipper programs.

Royal Life Saving Society Australia (RLSS)

Royal Life Saving Society - Australia (RLSS) www.royallifesaving.com.au  aims to prevent loss of life and injury in the community with an emphasis on the aquatic environment. Royal Life Saving is dedicated to turning everyday people into everyday community lifesavers.

They achieve this through:

      • education

      • training

      • health promotion

      • risk management

      • advocacy

      • sport and participation

      • research

      • community development

In Victoria, the state branches of Surf Life Saving (SLSA) and Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) are one organisation known as Life Saving Victoria, whilst in other Australian states each organisation operates entirely separately.

Both provide supervision of community aquatic venues on a commercial basis and within a volunteer club network, competitions, education and training. The general determining factor is that RLSS look after “still water” and SLSA “white water” though this is by no means the rule in practicality.

Internationally, many countries have a standalone life saving organisation, or sometimes this is part of Red Cross, Red Crescent or other emergency services. Both Australian organisations have assisted many overseas countries with training and education.

Masters Swimming Australia

Masters Swimming Australia www.mastersswimming.org.au is the trading name of AUSSI Masters Swimming in Australia Inc.

Masters Swimming Australia is the peak body and National Sports Organisation for adult swimmers aged 20 and above. The organisation is affiliated with FINA through Swimming Australia Ltd.

Masters Swimming Australia is a non-government, not for profit organisation, constituted in 1975. The organisation does not receive funding from any government source. Some Branches are eligible for and receive funding from State Governments.

The mission of Masters Swimming Australia is “to provide at club, State and National level an environment to encourage all adults, regardless of ability, to swim regularly and compete in order to promote fitness and improve their general well-being”.

The motto of the organisation is “fitness, friendship and fun”.

Masters swimming clubs and national organisations exist in many countries of the world.

The Australian Water Safety Council

The Australian Water Safety Council (AWSC) draws together most government and non-government agencies with an interest in reducing preventable drowning. A national strategic plan has been developed to assist in the delivery of services in a coordinated approach by AWSC stakeholders. The next plan will be released in 2016.

Member organisations representing swimming and water safety are:

·   Australian Swimming Coaches & Teachers Association (ASCTA)

·   Royal Life Saving Australia (RLSSA)

·   Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA)

·   Austswim

·   Swimming Australia Ltd. (SAL)

Member organisations from other related areas include:

·   Kidsafe Australia

·   Farmsafe Australia

·   Australia & New Zealand Safe Boating Education Group (ANZSBEG)

·   Australian Local Government Association (ALGA)

·   Surfing Australia

·   Aquatic and Recreation Institute (ARI)

·   Australian Leisure Facilities Association (ALFA)

·   Australian National Sports Fishing Association (ANSFA)

·   Diver’s Alert Network (DAN) Asia-Pacific

 

The Aquatic and Recreation Institute

The Aquatic and Recreation Institute www.aquaticinstitute.com.au  is a not-for-profit professional association of Aquatic and Recreation practitioners, which includes recreation facility managers, industry specialists, community recreation providers and decision makers and recreation organisations.

They provide support, direction, training, information and networking opportunities for all members who are involved in sport and leisure services throughout Australia.

What is the Purpose of the ARI?

The ARI is committed to the following principals:

        • to provide a professional body for the leisure industry workers which fosters personal and        
           professional growth and development through training programmes and networking

        • to develop and strengthen networks between individuals, suppliers and professional associations
           involved in the provision of leisure

        • to represent the leisure industry by making submissions on issues of recreational policy that affect
           the provision and development of leisure resources

        • encourage efficient, effective and socially equitable management of leisure resources

        • assist in establishing guidelines for leisure opportunities for local communities

        • to provide support to leisure professionals in their delivery of quality leisure services

        • representation on Industry Boards and Committees

The Swimming Pool and Spa Association (SPASA)

The Swimming Pool & Spa Association (SPASA) is an industry association made up of pool builders, retail, service and maintenance companies.

The association provides a range of benefits for its members including:

• a forum for communications

• government liaison e.g. Office of Fair Trading, Departments of Planning

• an Annual Pool of the Year program

• conducts Annual Pool & Spa Expos

• conducts Trade Expos with educational workshops allowing participants to build their CPD (Continuing
   Professional Development) points

Above all, SPASA provides an industry network where members can benefit from each other and promote the industry to consumers, and government instrumentalities at all levels to ensure that the industry is given consideration as required.

Contacts for each S.P.A.S.A office in each State are as follows…

NSW      [email protected]

QLD      [email protected]

VIC        [email protected]

WA        [email protected]

SA         (08) 8364 4211

WA        (08) 9479 6100

Internationally, comparable organizations exist in the UK (Swimming Pools and Allied Trades Association) and in the USA (National Spa and Pool Institute).

Employment in Peak Industry Bodies

Employment within peak aquatic industry organisations are primarily administration, management, marketing and training focused roles. Employment opportunities arise on a regular basis at the peak aquatic organisations.

Generally a very specific skill set is required for the job. Advertisements for such positions usually appear on the organisations website and appear in their members email newsletters.

If you are interested, you should subscribe to their e newsletters and check their websites regularly.

Merit based employment selection usually requires experience across broad facets of the organisation with many organisations promoting from within their own ranks.

Many current employees started out as volunteers moving to casual or part time employment and then into full time or contract employment.

Volunteering to assist the organisation on a regular basis will also allow them to assess your capabilities whilst providing you with a valuable insight into their corporate mentality and organisational strengths and methods of operation with the added advantage of knowing when employment opportunities become available.

Employment Availability

Careers in Swimming

In order to immerse ourselves in this aquatic environment, many people have increasingly sought Teachers with the knowledge to teach basic aquatic skills.

The demand for swimming and water safety Teachers is year round, but the industry is affected by seasonal fluctuations and the vagrancies of weather.

With the increase in indoor heated pools, more professional management, better training  and service delivery, more Teachers than ever before are achieving a satisfying career.

Careers in Swimming

Industry Employment

Many Teachers in recent times have specialised in tutoring niche groups such as:

• Infants

• Preschoolers

• School aged swimmers

• Stroke improvers

• Adults or triathletes

• Special needs such as physically or mentally challenged

• Culturally and linguistically diverse populations

The industry is seasonal, though opportunities exist for full time, year round employment for good reliable Teachers and Coaches with a diverse range of skills.

Conversely, there are many opportunities for casual or part time employment. Many Australian trained Teachers also find they are highly valued overseas for summer camps in the UK, Europe and USA and swim schools and International schools around the world.

Industry Employment

 

Career Pathways

Teachers have also focused on delivering skills for specific environs such as:

    • Open water
    • Surf
    • Swimming pools

or diversified into teaching other aquatic activities such as:

    • coaching junior to elite swimmers
    • lifesaving
    • SCUBA instruction
    • water polo
    • synchronised swimming
    • underwater hockey
    • fin swimming
    • spring board and high diving
    • aqua aerobics
    • hydrotherapy
    • surfing
    • kiteboarding
Career Pathway

 

Training Pathways

Training pathways for Swim Australia Teachers are:

  • Coaching – Swim Australia ™ Teacher of Competitive Swimming, Swimming Australia Bronze Coaching License, Swimming Australia Silver Coaching License, Swimming Australia Gold Coaching License levels and extension qualifications in Adults, Open Water and Swimming with Disability
  • Teaching –Babies and Toddlers, Adolescents and Adults, Learners with Disability, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse, Indigenous.
  • Presenting, assessing, lecturing and mentoring other Teachers
  • Program management
  • Lifeguarding
  • Pool plant operation
  • Venue management

A range or mix of qualifications and experience will further assist Teachers to gain employment.

Complimentary qualifications are:

  • SAT Competitive Swimming, Bronze, Silver, or Gold accreditation
  • Specialist extension Swimming Teacher courses
  • Bronze Rescue awards specifically Bronze Medallion, or Pool Lifeguard and higher awards
  • Pool Plant Operators Certificate
  • Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (combined with 5 years industry experience)

The ability, opportunity, experience, training and likes or dislikes of the Teacher are all factors that affect the type of client group and career pathway chosen by each individual.

The main area of employment demand is for teaching swimming and water safety to 5 - 12 year olds (primary school age). Other opportunities are very much reliant in the first instance on the venue environment.

Employment demand in the aquatic industry is similar to a pyramid, with most demand at the base for swimming and water safety Teachers tapering off as client’s skill levels increase. There are an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 swimming and water safety Teachers working at any one time whilst there are about 7,000 coaches. Only about 120 of these coaches are training elite swimmers.

Employment availability

The need for swimming and water safety Teachers internationally seems to grow in direct correlation to the increase in affluence and leisure time of a particular country.

Australian trained Swimming Coaches and swimming and water safety Teachers are well respected worldwide for their enthusiasm, skill, knowledge and track record.

To find employment:

  • Check the ASCTA Employment Pages; These include Job listings, and a page to post your CV
  • Contact your local swim school
  • Register with an employment agency.
  • Check out job vacancies under casual, part time or full time, general employment and teaching vacancies in your local and regional newspapers. Pool leases often appear in the Tender section of the classifieds or as separate stand-alone advertisements
  • Visit large nation-wide job websites such as www.seek.com or www.careerone.com.au  
        

Professional Development

Effective Teachers continually strive to improve their knowledge and technical proficiency through ongoing Professional Development, realising that any knowledge and skills gained will “age” unless continually refreshed.

Professional Development for a Swim Australia Teachers is a learning that either improves their knowledge of aquatics or their ability to teach. Most aquatic organisations offer courses, workshops, conventions and regular newsletters, all providing pertinent and up to date information.

Here are some examples:

ASCTA Major National/International Convention, quarterly journal, website, e-news, e-flashes, pod casts, mentoring and scholarship programs, state branch conferences www.ascta.com

Swim Australia Touring workshops in metropolitan and regional Australia, e-newsletters, technical articles (Swim Tips) www.swimaustralia.org.au

asctaAccreditation Coaching and teaching courses, Pool Plant Operations, in-house Professional Development, specialist Teacher courses www.ascta.com

Other organisations may also provide Professional Development opportunities via their national or state branches.

Professional Development

 

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Practical Biomechanics

Practical Biomechanics

Biomechanics is the name given to the study of forces and their effects upon living things.
An understanding of some biomechanical principles will provide an explanation of:

• Why people float (or sink)

• What makes people move through the water

• What slows people down as they move through water

• Why people have differing body positions and efficiencies in their movements

Biomechanics

Principles

In order to assist swimmers to learn and improve, a Teacher of Swimming and Water Safety needs to have a clear understanding of:

• Buoyancy (Archimedes Principle)

• Momentum (Newton’s first law)

• Action and reaction (Newton’s third law)

• The influence of changes to the centre of gravity and the centre of buoyancy

• Positive drag and lift principles (Bernoulli’s Lift Principles)
 

Archimedes Principle

Body Position and Buoyancy

Put simply, when a person enters the water, the more their body submerges, the lighter in weight they feel.

As a person submerges, water is displaced to make a space for their body. Archimedes (one of the worlds’ three greatest mathematicians and a Greek scholar, 287 – 212BC) developed the principle that a buoyant force occurs as a result of such an act.

Archimedes’ Principle states that “the buoyant force is equal to the weight of the displaced liquid”. Note - A buoyant force acts in an upward direction.

From this, it can be deduced that the more water that is pushed aside or displaced, the greater the buoyant force will be. This could be due to a swimmer submerging more of their body, taking a deep breath or because one person’s body is larger than another person.

Thus, there are two forces acting against each other - gravity in a downward direction (measured by weight) and buoyancy in an upward direction (measured by the weight of the water displaced). Once these two forces are known, determining whether a person will float or sink is a simple case of math.

If the buoyant force is greater than the gravitational force, then the person will float, or conversely, if gravity is greater than buoyancy, a person will sink. The lower a person gets in the water, the more likely they are to float as the amount of water they push aside will increase (thus the buoyant force increases) but their weight will not change.

E.g. if a person weighed 80 kilograms (downward force) and displaced 86 litres of water (one litre of water weighs one kilogram – 86 litres weighs 86 kilograms and is an upward force) the upward buoyant force would cancel out the downward force and still have 6 kilograms of upward force left!
 

Centre of Gravity

Also to be considered is where the body components that float and those that sink are located.

What are the heavier than water components of the body? Answer – Muscle and Bone.

The largest of these heavier than water components such as bones (hips) and muscles (Quadriceps and Gluteus Maximus) are located around the hips and thighs.

If we balance out where all the heavy components are located this provides the location of the Centre of Gravity. Usually this is around the lower abdomen area. Centre of Gravity in males usually tends to be lower than in females.
Centre of Gravity

Centre of Buoyancy

Similarly, if we look at where the lighter than water body components are located and we balance them out, we can determine the Centre of Buoyancy.

The lighter than water body components are air (lungs) and fat (generally located around the hips and breasts in females and stomach in males).

The centre of the lighter than water components such as air and fat tends to be centred in the lower chest area.
Centre of Buoyancy

Body Angle


 

How vertically or horizontally a body will float (or sink) in water is determined by the relationship between the Centre of Gravity and Centre of Buoyancy as the two will vertically align as shown in the video.

A person can change the Centre of Gravity and Centre of Buoyancy by moving body parts or adding floatation aids or weights.

By altering the Centre of Gravity and the Centre of Buoyancy so that they are positioned closer to each other, a person’s body position in water will become more horizontal in angle.

A person with physical disabilities may also have an altered Centre of Gravity due to variations in the muscle mass brought about by altered strengths or weaknesses. Missing limbs or part thereof will also affect balance and body position in the water.

 

 

Water Density

A factor in buoyancy is that not all water is the same.

Ocean water contains dissolved salt. 120 litres of fresh water weighs 120 kilograms whilst the average 120 litres of ocean water weighs 124 kilograms (4 kilograms of salt are dissolved) so the buoyant upward force increases in ocean water by 4 kilograms yet the downward gravitation force remains the same – so a person will float better in the ocean. Imagine how well you would float in a relaxation tank with 1000 kilograms of salt dissolved in only 100 to 200 litres of water. This explains the intriguing photos of people seemingly “sitting up” in the Dead Sea in Israel which has 34% salinity (roughly 8.6 times saltier than the ocean).
Water Density

Body Density

Another factor in gravity and water displacement is evidenced if we compare two people. Both displace the same amount of water and thus have the same upward force acting on their body. One floats and the other sinks. Why?

Our body is primarily made up of water, bones, muscle, fat and air. As you understand from previous sections, bones and muscle are heavier than water, whilst fat and air are lighter than water. A small person with light bones and lots of fat may displace the same amount of water as a heavy boned, muscular person but the first will float and the latter will sink as their body weights (and gravitational forces) differ.

Hence a student who doesn’t float well may need more floatation or support when learning , and will need to develop a stronger kick to ensure a high streamlined body position

Note: Not being able to float does not mean a person cannot learn to swim. It simply means they will have to swim to stay on the surface of the water.

Application of Buoyancy Principles


 

Here is an example of how to use the knowledge you have gained thus far.

A learner is experiencing difficulty floating. A Teacher could place a buoyant aid such as a kick board underneath the learner’s chest. This has the effect of increasing buoyancy as the displacement of the water has increased, but gravity has not significantly increased as the board is “light”.

In this situation, the body position will also alter, as the Centre of Buoyancy has been moved down the body towards the Centre of Gravity and the body will become more horizontally positioned on the surface of the water.

If instead, the learner placed the kickboard out in front of them, their legs would sink as the Centre of Gravity and Centre of Buoyancy have moved further apart.

 

 

Moving Through Water

A relatively horizontal body position is ideal for moving through the water.

In order to explain some concepts of how a body moves through water, analogies relating to common land-based movements have been used.

When a swimmer places their hand in the water and presses back against the water, ideally the hand stays 'anchored' in that position and the body moves past the hand. A swimmer does not grab the water and drag it back to their leg. Similarly when a person is walking they do not put their foot on the ground and drag the ground back (unless they are on a treadmill), rather they place their foot on the ground and leverage their body forward past their foot.

The longer the distance a swimmer presses back against the water for, the further forward they will leverage themselves. Similarly, if a person is walking and takes longer steps they will go forward further in a step.

As a swimmer presses against the water to leverage their body forward, the hand and the arm act as a lever. Have you ever tried to lift yourself over the edge of the pool keeping your arms straight? Impossible for most! Biomechanically, the arm acts more efficiently as a lever when the elbow is bent at approximately a right angle (between 80 and 110 degrees) as it passes the centre of the body. In short, “bent arms are strong arms”.

If you look at a proficient swimmer swimming slowly, and compare their body position to when they are swimming fast, you will notice that the angle of the body in relation to the surface of the water has changed. This results in the feet position becoming lower in the water, thus sprinters need to kick more in order to raise the feet closer to the surface of the water. The effects of kicking and changes to body angle will be discussed later in this unit. A Teacher of Swimming and Water Safety should aim to have a swimmer immerse about half their head in the water when they are floating, but swim with only their face in the water when sprinting.

Research using high speed underwater photography with elite swimmers shows that the swimmer’s hand speed in all strokes commences slowly when the arms are at full stretch in front of the body and accelerate at an ever increasing speed as the body is leveraged past the hand.

The explanation is that when the hand makes a sudden change in direction it has to stop going one direction before proceeding in a different direction. As the hand commences the stroke there is a sudden change in direction in the pathway of the hand as it begins to press back. Once the hand begins to move backwards, water starts to also move back (similar to pushing against a treadmill). Because of pressing back against already moving water, the hand speed has to increase in order to maintain the same amount of hand pressure on the water.
Moving Through Water

Newton's Laws of Motion

Newton's First Law of Motion: "An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an opposing force".

A swimmer moving through the water finds it difficult to continue to move forward due to the opposing forces (resistance) of water.

Newton's Third Law of Motion: "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction".

When swimming, as the hand presses against the water, the water moves back in reaction. A proficient swimmer's hand will search for "still water" by moving the hand in or out and/or up or down subtly. This provides greater resistance to the hand moving back and thus provides more leverage forward. Once a mass of the water out in front is moving back, the only way to continue to maintain the same amount of pressure against the water as the hand presses back is for the hand to increase speed. A novice Freestyle swimmer whose hand does not change direction at all in the water will find they achieve less leverage and that their arms are "spinning" with little resulting forward travel per arm stroke.

Why is this important? Have you ever swum in a current where the water is moving back at the same speed your hand is moving back? No leverage is achieved so your body does not move forward. This is what would happen if your hand speed did not increase.

In Freestyle, both arms work independent of each other so as one hand is moving relatively slowly out in front, the other is moving past the leg and recovering through the air at a relatively high speed. Thus, one hand will nearly "catch up" to the other out in front, whilst at another part of the stroke the hand will be 180 degrees apart. Acquisition of this variation in arm speed is as important as learning the correct pathways of movement.

Bernoulli's Lift Principle

Daniel Bernoulli was an 18th Century Swiss Mathematics Professor who experimented with forces that created hydraulic lift. Bernoulli's Principle states that "as a gas or fluid increases in speed, the pressure decreases due to the fluid or gas particles being spaced further apart (less dense)".

Thus, an object moving through a liquid such as water will have particles flowing past it. If the flow on one side is faster than the flow on the other side, an area of relative high pressure will develop on the side where the particles are spaced closer together. The result will be that the object will move away from an area of high pressure towards an area of relatively low pressure.

In an aircraft wing the under surface is flat and above is curved. As air passes under or over the wing, the air particles going under travel a shorter distance than the air particles which pass over the wing. This extra distance, spaces the spread of air particles further apart above the wing. The distance between particles is commonly referred to as density.

The less dense a gas or fluid is, the lower the pressure. The object (the plane wing) will have a lift force acting on it as an area of low pressure is created above the wing and an area of high pressure underneath. As a plane moves faster, such as on take-off, the difference between the pressures above and below increases and the wing rises. This lift force can also be altered by changing the distance of the air flow above or below the wings such as by use of wing flaps. In swimming, we see this Principle in effect in a number of situations.

1. As a swimmer moves through the water, the pressure above their body is less than that underneath. The faster the swimmer moves forward the higher the differential between the pressures above and below their body which results in the swimmers body position becoming higher as they go faster.

2. As a swimmer presses backwards with their hand and arm, an area of high pressure results in front of the direction of travel, whilst an area of low pressure is created in the eddy behind the hand and arm. This then creates a lift force acting in the opposite direction to the direction of hand and arm travel. This is technically referred to as "positive drag".

E.g. in Freestyle as you try to press your hand back a force is acting to pull it forwards at the same time.

The benefit this has for a swimmer is to help "anchor" the hand and arm to the one spot and allow the leverage of the body past the hand and arm rather than allow the hand and arm to "slip" backwards through the water.

Hence, sculling drills are a great part of any swimming and water safety curriculum as they improve a swimmer's feel of the water and traction ultimately developing a more efficient stroke.

Action


 

By understanding biomechanical principles, Teachers will have a better understanding of why certain actions happen and how improvements to strokes can occur. Biomechanics should also be translated in simplistic terms to learners and swimmers from a very early age.

E.g. If you lift your head up your feet will sink and this will slow you down. If you put your head down, your feet will go up and you will go ………….? (come on, you know the answer!)

The average 4 year old can grasp this concept of cause and effect.

Through discovery learning (experimentation), a Teacher can derive a similar result by getting swimmers to try and swim with their head out of the water and then try with their heads in the water. Which is easier?

 

Floating


 

Floating is a difficult skill for a basic learner to acquire. First tries are usually attempted as a short float towards a point of safety (usually the side of a pool). This assists in the learner recovering to a standing position.

As the initial float and recovery skills improve, stationary floats and longer glides can be attempted. These should begin with the learner crouched down in the water to shoulder depth and gently falling forwards with the head down between the arms. To recover to a standing position from a front float, bend the knees, lift the head, scull down with the hands, place the feet on the floor of the pool, and stand up.

Variations on a front float are:

  • "Starfish float" (once called the Deadman's float) where the arms and legs are apart in a position like a star to aid in stability
  • "Jellyfish float" with the arms and legs hanging down in the water
  • "Mushroom float" where the arms wrap around the knees
  • "Torpedo float/glide" (or arrow, or pencil) where the arms and legs are stretched out front and back and the body is a straight and long as possible.

Back floats can also be done as a star float or a torpedo style float.

When teaching back floats, learners should commence with a smooth controlled transition from a standing /squat position with shoulders in the water to a horizontal position. Initial attempts can be assisted by the Teacher placing their hands to support the learner.

The Teacher could position their hands:

  • Holding two hands behind the learners head
  • With one hand behind the learners head with the other hand/arm along the learner's back
  • Holding on to the learner's elbows with the learner having their hands behind their head
  • Holding with one hand on the learner's hands with the learner having their hands behind their head
  • Hooked under the learner's chin and gently towing the learner through the water

Whatever hold is used, learners should be encouraged to have the back half of their head in the water and to look up at the sky or roof. The sun shining into learner's eyes can be disorientating. If possible, position the learner to keep the sunlight off their face.

To recover from a back float, learners should be reminded to bend the knees, lift the head, scull the hands towards the feet, place the feet on the floor of the pool and stand up.

Remember, by moving through the water in a glide, Bernoulli's Lift Principle will assist in keeping the learner on the surface and the forward speed will keep the body more stable but as the glide speed reduces the learner will experience increasing instability.

 

Movement

Movement through the water usually begins by learning actions such as arm or leg movements on land or at the edge of the pool then progressing gradually with the assistance of kick boards and other aids to attempts whilst floating or gliding.

It is important that a balanced ratio of attempts with and without the use of aids be maintained. A common sequence for the teaching of a stroke is floating and gliding, kicking, arms, breathing.

Walking across the pool, simulating arm strokes with or without a kick board gives the learner a feeling of resistance especially as they try to move the arms faster. Running or walking fast also creates the same effect.

Movement

Gliding and Streamlining

Gliding and Streamlining is discussed in more depth in water familiarisation but is usually the first area of movement taught.

By being well streamlined, a learner will:

  • Have a better sense of buoyancy
  • Be more likely to move their arms and legs in the proper manner
  • Swim with greater energy efficiency

Generally, for people with a low body density, the water should do the work of "holding" the swimmer up. The swimmer should do the work of moving forwards. A swimmer should not have to swim to stay afloat unless they are one of the few who have an overall body density higher than that of water!

If learners are only moving slowly through the water or are not well streamlined, they will often have a tendency to be very unbalanced. A better body balance can be achieved by:

  • Positioning the arms and legs wider apart
  • Streamlining better by tucking the head between the arms and stretching the arms and legs out
  • Improving the push off and increasing speed through the water
  • Adding a kick (one or two fin/s can be also used whilst kicking) to assist in balance

Gliding & Streaming

Kicking


 

Kicking is often the first action taught once a learner can float and glide. It is important that Teachers ensure the body position of the learner mimics that of a swimmer when practicing kicking drills.

Therefore, if kicking holding onto the side of the pool, one hand should hold the top of the wall (should the wall not be too high above the water level) or the kicking bar and one hand should be on the wall with fingers pointing down. This method ensures the kick is practiced with the body in a horizontal position. Alternately, kicking in short bursts with the Student's face in the water will also achieve the correct horizontal body position.

If both hands hold onto the bar or the top of the wall and the head is out of the water the feet will sink and the body will assume a semi-vertical position. The resulting kick in Freestyle is a bicycle type kick (cyclic) or in Breaststroke, a scissor kick (one foot turned in) as the learner is kicking to get their feet to the surface.

As the body does rotate when swimming, Freestyle and Backstroke kick can also be practiced by advanced learners on their side. Breaststroke and Butterfly kick should also be practiced with the body moving in a manner similar to when swimming e.g. Butterfly wiggles with the whole body rather than just a kick with the legs or Breaststroke with shoulders moving up and down and a breathing action in time with the leg kick.

Arm Stroking

Leverage is one of the two prime methods delivering propulsion to a swimmer from their arm movement. The hands should be held comfortably flat, with the wrist straight in line with the forearm. Fingers are either together or loosely apart.

Ideally, a Teacher should promote arm patterns as follows:

Freestyle - a long underwater "S" pathway stroke with as quick a recovery as possible. The hand should enter with the elbow raised slightly so that the fingers enter before the rest of the hand

Breaststroke – commencing with a scull to just wider than the shoulders, then scooping down, around and in to under the chin. Then with hands together and elbows tucked in, recover the arms to a full stretch in front

Backstroke – with the arms straight, little finger enters the water first in front of or just wider than the shoulders. Then, roll the shoulders down to get the hand under the water followed by a pull through past the shoulders and a push to the legs. There is 900 elbow bend about half way through the pull/push to maximize efficiency. Recovery with the arms should be as high as possible over the body, with the shoulder rolling up first to assist the arm out of the water

Butterfly – commencing from in front of the shoulders, a long keyhole stroke with the arms recovering wide. On the recovery, the thumbs point down and the back of the hand leads

In all strokes except Backstroke, the second half of the stroke (the recovery) is done much faster than the first half (the propulsive phase).

Once the student's stroke pathways are developing to the desirable patterns, then the subtle variations in speed of the arms can be introduced and promoted.

Arm Strokes

 

Sculling

Sculling is the second of the two prime methods of gaining propulsion from the hand and arm movement. It is a term also used to describe a movement of an oar in water. The result is that a force is created at an angle to the direction of the scull. This force can be used to generate forward propulsion for a person if the hands, acting as an oar, are placed in the correct angle.

The hand moves in a direction (1.). A high-pressure area develops in front of the hand (A.) whilst an area of relatively low pressure (B.) develops behind the hand. A lift force results (3.) in the opposing direction to the generated force (2.). The hand therefore moves away from the area of high pressure towards the area of low pressure.

Rather than allow the hand to move in this direction as a result of the sculling action, a swimmer will usually press in the direction of the generated force (2.) with an equal amount of pressure to that of the resulting lift force (3.) This effectively cancels the two opposing forces out and thus the hand appears to stay in the same plain yet the swimmer is able to lever their body against their hand. In very simple terms, the back of the hand will need to face the direction the swimmer wishes to travel.

Sculling

Body Position

Body Position changes with speed similar to a boat. When a boat is not moving it sits flat on the water, but as the boat begins to move forward, the angle of the boat relative to the surface of the water changes with the front rising. A similar situation occurs with swimmers. When swimming slowly, the body is relatively flat on the surface of the water but as forward speed increases, the body lifts higher in the water and the angle on the body changes with the front lifting slightly.

When a swimmer practices lots of slow swimming they will become a proficient slow swimmer but have difficulty changing styles for sprinting as the style and body position changes for speed swimming and they have become comfortable with a "slow swimming" body position.

The pathways of the arms also change when swimming faster. The centre of gravity alters and thus the angle of the body in the water. This topic is discussed in further depth in coaching courses where proficiency in swimming speed is promoted.

E.g. In a slow swimming learner, the head is usually positioned so the swimmer is "looking at the bottom of the pool" with the front half of their head in the water. As the swimmer becomes more proficient, the Teacher will gradually move the head position until the swimmer is looking forward underneath the surface of the water with the water level somewhere between the eyebrows and hairline.

Resistances

Resistance is the name given to forces that act to slow movement. In water, for every unit of increase in speed there is approximately a four-fold increase in resistance. A resistance force may have little impact on a body at low speed, but as speed increases, the effect caused by the resistance will increase.

Try walking through water, then try running through water. You will notice increased pressure acting against you as you increase speed.

Imagine running on land as against running in 1 metre depth of water. Which is slower? Why is there a difference? As water is denser than air, decreasing the resistance forces as we swim or move through water is more important than for land based movement.

There are three main resistance forces acting on a swimmer. They are called:

  • Frontal resistance
  • Eddy resistance
  •  Surface friction

Frontal Resistance

Frontal resistance is caused by an object moving forward having to "push aside" water in order to make a space for it to move into. In a boat this is evidenced by the creation of a bow wave which is simply a pressure wave of water. Dolphins and the occasional surf board rider will position themselves in front of a bow wave on a ship and simply be pushed along by this pressure wave whilst exerting very little effort.

A well designed boat will have a pointed front so that the water is pushed aside easily, smooth surfaces so the water flows over the hull quickly and without disruption and a rounded stern so that the void left behind as the boat moves forward is quickly filled. Faster boats also have less of the hull in the water, increasing the air resistance but reducing the water friction which is the greater resistance of the two.

types of resistance

Frontal Resistance in Swimming

In swimming, we see frontal resistance in many ways.

Freestyle: Swimmers who have their legs lower down in the water create a bigger frontal resistance and thus reduce speed more than a swimmer on the surface of the water. For most Freestyle swimmers their arms pull them through the water faster than their legs can push them. Kicking however does contribute to forward speed by raising the legs and decreasing resistance, thus allowing the swimmer to move forward quicker. Lifting the head will cause the legs to sink lower. How fast can you swim with your head out of the water when compared to swimming with the head partly submerged? What happens to the feet when the head is raised?

Breaststroke: Breaststroke is the slowest of the four competitive strokes. This is due to the increased resistances created by the hands pushing forward together from the breast, on, under, or over the water with the elbows under the water. If, on the arm recovery the elbows remain out like wings, instead of "tucked" into the side of the chest the frontal resistance increases and speed is reduced even more.

Backstroke: It is common for many inexperienced Backstroker's to raise their head, causing the hips and feet to sink thus increasing frontal resistance and slowing forward speed. A good body position reduces resistance, thus allowing increased forward speed without extra effort.

Butterfly: After a breath, many Butterflyer's fail to bend their neck and drop their head into the water instead, dropping the top of their body whilst still looking forward. Their face is submerged but their legs remain low in the water. Thus, they appear to be swimming up for a breath, then falling down and their forward speed is slow. Simply by dropping the head, the legs are forced up towards the surface of the water and forward speed increases as a result.

"One of the best things a Teacher can ever do for a student is to establish a streamlined, high body position. The time spent developing a good head position and constant kick – the essence of the desired position – is rewarded many times over. This stage should not be rushed! Adding arm movements and breathing patterns before this fundamental technique is mastered, is to greatly reduce the student's chances of achieving efficient stroke skills down the track." Ross Gage

Eddy Resistance

As the boat or a body moves forward, it leaves behind a space that it previously occupied. This space is an area of low pressure. In the boat example, an eddy force (2) acts on the body drawing it towards this space. As the propulsive force is greater than the eddy force, the boat or object will continue to move forward, but at reduced speed.

For a swimmer, eddy resistance is caused by the void left behind as a swimmer moves forward. This void is an area of low pressure. The void behind a swimmer creates a suction effect that causes water to rush in; creating a force acting in the opposing direction to the swimmer.

One of Bernoulli's principles, as discussed previously, is that an object will always travel from an area of relatively high pressure to an area of relatively low pressure. Decreasing this area of void by having the legs positioned close to or on the surface of the water is vital to increasing speed without extra effort.

However, Breaststroke has the legs lower than the other strokes so eddy resistance tends to have a greater impact in this stroke for many learners.

Surface Friction

As the boat or an object moves forward through the water, the water must flow over, under or around it. Where the water comes into contact with the surface of the boat or object, the flow speed is slowed. This impedes the forward movement of the boat or object and is called surface friction (3). A surface with protrusions or a covering that slows the flow of water over it will increase the resistance forces resulting in the speed forward decreasing if the propulsive (forward) force remains the same.

For the swimmer, surface resistance is caused by the friction of water passing over the surface of the body. For example, reductions in surface friction occur when a swimmer is wearing body hugging swimsuits, bathing caps or undergoes a body shave. Such actions allow the water to pass over the body and reduce the "drag".

Surface resistance also increases if the hips sway from side to side as a result of the arms recovering too wide due to the inability of water to slip easily over the body (you also end up swimming a further distance).

Wearing clothes whilst swimming will slow your speed through the water as it is more difficult for the water to pass over. In outdoor learning situations, similar difficulties are experienced by students wearing sun protective body suits or wet shirts.

Swimmers in tropical areas wearing stinger protection suits or colder climate swimmers wearing wetsuits/ dry suits also will increase their surface friction and thus reduce their potential speed through the water. In some instances where the "suit" provides additional buoyancy this drag may be counterbalanced by the reduction in frontal resistance due to a higher body position from the extra buoyancy.

Some elite competitive swimmers wear suits which actually enhance the laminar flow of water over their body and thus gain some advantage over swimming in skin!

Application of Biomechanical Principles

Application of Biomechanical principles can be undertaken pragmatically or holistically. Usually, improvements of one area of a stroke will lead to improvements in other areas at the same time.

E.g., Improving streamlining of a swimmer by lowering the head will reduce the frontal and eddy resistances but also will enable the arms and legs to move more efficiently.

So whilst we have discussed areas individually, an improvement in one area will often have the affect of improvements in efficiency elsewhere in a swimmer's stroke.

Improving Movement

Improving movement is a combination of increasing efficiency in the actions which provide propulsion and decreasing the actions and movements which slow forward speed.

No matter which stroke is examined, the whole action of the stroke only takes about one to two seconds to complete and then it is repeated. This repetition means that small faults or inefficiencies are magnified when we swim over a distance. Small positive changes can compound to become large improvements.

Swimming can be improved by:

  • Increasing the length of our stroke thus increasing the distance travelled per stroke
  • Improving the "grip" on the water by fine tuning the angle of the hand in the water
  • Ensuring correct hand pathways through the water
  • Decreasing resistances

Decreasing Resisitances

Decreasing resistances is vital as a swimmer starts to make their way through the water. For every increment increase in speed there is a four-fold increase in resistance.

Frontal resistance may be decreased by ensuring:

  • The feet are kept in a streamlined position near the surface of the water
  • The legs are kept as much as possible within the line of the body
  • The body stays near the surface of the water in a relatively horizontal position
  • In Freestyle and Backstroke the body remains aligned and rolls along an axis down the middle of the body from head to feet
  • The head is kept at optimal position. In Freestyle and Backstroke this means with a similar amount of the head in the water at all times. For Breaststroke and Butterfly this means positioning the head so that the body returns to a streamlined position after the head is lifted for a breath.

Eddy resistance may be decreased by ensuring:

  • The feet are kept in a streamlined position near the surface of the water
  • The legs are kept as much as possible within the line of the body
  • Ensuring the knees do not bend more than necessary
  • The hips remain high in the water
  • The body stays streamlined and relatively horizontal.

Surface friction may be decreased by ensuring:

  • A reduced amount of clothing is worn
  • Lightweight, body hugging swimsuits are worn
  • Shaving off excess hair (in elite swimmers at speed)
  • Wearing a swim cap

Identifying Faults

Identifying faults is usually quite easy for swimming and water safety Teachers.

One method is to simply carry a mental picture of the ideal model stroke and compare each swimmer to what is ideal and "spot the differences". The hard part is usually identifying the actual cause of the fault.

E.g. in Freestyle, a swimmer's hips may sway from side to side as a result of an arm recovery being too wide and thus the hand swinging across the centre line of the body as it enters the water. By getting the elbow to bend and lift higher on the recovery, the hand will come closer to the body and enter near full reach in front of the shoulder, thus stopping the hips swaying.

Faults are generally a reaction to an action. Determine what action is causing the fault. Alterations can then easily be made.

The skill of a Swim Australia Teacher to correctly identify the cause of faults will improve with practical experience.

Using Aids



An aid can be used to improve a physical movement but at the same time can create major problems due to over-reliance or by promoting undesirable movement patterns. To what extent changes are made (and benefit gained) will depend on the duration of usage and the "correctness" of the drills undertaken using the aid/s.

A swimming aid should enhance and assist the Teacher to empower a Student to achieve goals. Aids should not be used for an entire lesson. Usage of an aid should be determined after weighing up the needs of the individual and the likely benefit to be gained by the use of an aid.

All aids should be checked regularly to ensure correct fit and readiness for the use to which they are being put. Any aid is good if it produces the desired outcome, but long term overuse will create a psychological dependence by the learner. Generally once a skill has been mastered using an aid, the Teacher should begin "weaning" the Student off the aid by reducing:

·         Reliance on the aid

·         The amount of benefit gained by use of the aid

·         The size of the aid

·         The time the aid is used

Teachers may also wean Students by using alternate drills to achieve the same results e.g. replace using a kickboard by using fins instead.

Some Aids and Potential Uses

Swim Aid UsesRatings from * Not recommended in learn to swim to ***** Highly recommended

Bands *

Tyre-tubing cut into bands and used around the legs or ankles.
Restricts usage of the feet and legs, alters body position. Mainly used in a squad situation for Butterfly kick/ strength work. Can be combined with pull board for beginners.

Body boards ***

Large float board used for body surfing.

Ideal for younger children and beginners. Provides good buoyancy and stability and promotes correct kicking technique.

Drag plate *

A square float with two holes through which the ankles are placed.
Increased drag promotes strength. Advanced swimmers only. Does little for technique.

Drag Suits *
A belt fitted with open pockets that collect water and increase resistance.
Increased drag promotes strength. Advanced swimmers only. Does little for technique.

Fins/ Flippers *****
Large "feet" made of rubber or plastic into which the feet are placed.
Plastic fins with straps are hard on the feet. Improves kicking efficiency and speed of a swimmer through the water.

Float mats ***
Large mats made of buoyant EVA foam material.
Create buoyancy without pressure points. Good for beginners, useful as fall safety mats when commencing entries.

Floatation suits ***
A swimsuit with front, side and back pockets into which buoyancy can be placed/removed.

Useful with handicapped and autistic children. The ability to vary buoyancy positions is a plus. Getting children into the suit can be difficult.

Floaties/ Arm bands *
Floatation placed around the arms.

The centre of buoyancy is moved away from the centre of gravity, causing the feet to sink. The feet then kick around in an incorrect cyclic motion

Kickboards *****
A floatation device in a variety of shapes and sizes. Assists in floatation, kicking and arm drills for all strokes.

Used in a multiplicity of ways. Like all aids if overused, reliance can become evident.

Life Buoy **
A buoyancy ring that goes around the body under the arms.

The danger is a child can easily slip out of the aid, however because the buoy is close to the centre of buoyancy (meaning head up, feet go down) a useful confidence builder if used sparingly.

Lifejackets/ Buoyancy vest *
Lifejackets will keep an unconscious person face up. A buoyancy vest will float a person on the surface.

All Students should learn how to put them on and swim with them. Not useful for learn to swim as they are restrictive to movement.  Ensure size is age appropriate.

Noodles ***
A buoyant foam tube about 1 metre in length.

Useful for positioning across or along the lateral axis under the body.

Paddles *
Generally a reasonably flat surface slightly larger than the hand, strapped to the fingers.

Caring for Training Aids

Swim Aids Care
Teachers, Parents and Students must fully understand when aids are used that:

·         All aids should be used under close adult supervision at all times. The use of an aid should never replace supervision

·         All aids should be used for the purpose for which they were designed

·         No aid is a 100% sure lifesaving device

·         Aids can develop a false sense of confidence which in turn may result in a drowning at a later time

·         Teachers should use aids as an adjunct to other teaching skills and progressive drills

·         Where a reliance on an aid becomes evident, the Student should be encouraged to become less reliant on the aid through gradually decreasing the usage or the benefit gained (less buoyancy, smaller fin blade etc.)

·         Aids should be adjusted for correct fit and checked to ensure they are operational and safe

·         Inflatable aids should be manufactured so that they have a minimum of two inflating chambers (in case of failure)

·         Aids should be positioned safely within the pool environment when not in use

·         Hygiene of all aids, especially those that remain wet after use needs to be carefully considered

Goggles

Goggles are not really considered to be a swimming aid but rather an aid to swimming.

Who really wants to submerge their head in a cocktail of chemicals, suspended dirt, body fat and sunscreen amongst other pollutants? Goggles are therefore a necessary piece of swimming equipment to protect the eyes from harm.

After studying the section on personal safety and survival, Swim Australia Teachers would understand that most people who drown are not wearing goggles as they did not intend entering the water. Therefore, for safety reasons, all swimmers must learn to swim and play in the water without goggles, though for good eye health, goggles may be worn the majority of times.

To correctly fit goggles, make sure the goggles have a soft seal around the lens and that the lens size for one eye piece will fit into the eye socket. Then adjust the spacing between the two lenses to suit the face and place the goggles on the eyes and pull the head strap over the head. Ideally, the strap should be split as this ensures the band is held in place. The band should be tight enough to hold the goggles firmly on the face and only leave a slight impression when removed.

At times, goggles can be of assistance to a swimmer by modifying their actions. A swimmer can see clearly and maybe able to follow through on a Teacher's instruction to "look" at a certain point in the pool. Goggles also keep long hair out of a swimmer's eyes and stop them "flicking" their head when they turn it to breathe in Freestyle.

Teachers can also use goggles to go underwater and actually observe Student's actions as they swim.

Goggles

 

Technology

Some aids are really teaching tools, that tend to be used more in stroke development and coaching rather than teaching. However, their use in learner lessons can be of some assistance and should be considered as part of the ongoing continuous learning steps from beginner to competent all round swimmer.
 

·         A recording camera and playback for starts and stroke correction to aid in improving technique and to provide a better understanding of incorrect actions. Often what a swimmer is actually doing and what they think they are doing are two different things. In coaching the use of underwater cameras is widespread , but for learner situations they are little more than novelty value

·         A whiteboard/ chalkboard. Diagrams and visual explanation help some learners, especially males. Used more in squad situation for writing training programs

·         Pace clock. Can be used in learning situations to eliminate the teacher becoming a traffic cop. Students depart on a set time or set interval. For younger students make sure the explanation is simple. e.g. "Bill you go when the hand reaches the number 30 and Sam you go when it reaches the number 40"

·         Backstroke flags.  These can be positioned so the learner knows where the wall is in Backstroke and assists in preventing them hitting their head and developing the undesirable habit of "looking for the wall"

·         Lane lines. Used to assist learners to swim straight and takes their mind off the distance they are swimming. Trying to swim straight assists in fine tuning swimming strokes. Learners will need to be made aware of the lines and their use as a directional guide. The "T" on the end of the lines also indicates the wall coming up

·         Diving blocks are used in the advanced learning stages to develop techniques for entering the water from a height. This could be diving for competition or mimicking a natural aquatic environmental height with Students performing a safe entry

·         A mirror positioned so that a learner can see what their legs are doing whilst they Breaststroke kick on the side of the pool is a useful teaching tool as it allows for visual feedback

Learning swimming and water safety skills still remains the preserve of the Teacher with little in the way of technology providing enhancements on the process.

Technology

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Introduction to Water

Introduction to the Water

"He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches", George Bernard Shaw.

Some of the best swimming and water safety Teachers are not good swimmers themselves. Good Teachers display an empathy with their Students. To impart the knowledge you have effectively is a more desirable trait than the depth of knowledge known.

In order to be considered professional by others, a Swim Australia Teacher needs to dress and act the part. It is said, "First impressions count".

The first 15 seconds of contact with someone creates a lasting impression that is difficult to alter.

Always treat Students with respect and fairness. Often overlooked by Teachers are simple actions such as Teachers introducing themselves to Students, their parent/s or carers and Students being introduced to each other.

Niceties like "Have you had a good day at school?" show that a Teacher cares about the Student as a person.

Swim Australia Teachers can even teach their own children successfully provided they set aside time for swimming and water safety lessons on a regular basis for a set period e.g. 30 minutes, twice each week.

A recommendation to parents and those teaching their own children is to allow their children to have free-swimming time at times without providing further sideline teaching during playtime or placing too many restrictions on the activities that their children may choose (other than set rules for safety reasons).

Introduction to Water

Prime Factors

Two major factors in learning aquatic skills are:

  1. Quality tuition
  2. Time on task

    Quality tuition should not be solely relied on as the only form of exposure to the water in order to gain new skills. Time in the water should not be overlooked as a necessity in acquiring new aquatic skills.

Play in the water under supervision allows:

  • Trial and error
  • Discovery learning
  • Mimicking of others
  • Reinforcement of learned skills

Whilst play is important, the commercial reality is that parents and carers expect Teachers of Swimming and Water Safety to provide tuition and not be playground supervisors. A small amount of playtime within a class may be acceptable on rare occasions. This does not negate the possibility for tuition within a class structure to be fun or structured as a game.
 

 

Physical Contact

A common practice for Teachers of physical activities has been to physically hold on to a Student's arms or legs and to manipulate them in the desire action or movement pattern.

This is permissible as long as the physical contact is:

  • Appropriate
  • Necessary
  • Done in an open manner
  • Without undue intimacy
  • With the prior permission of the Student. "Can I hold your arms and show you what to do?

There are two basic types of physical manipulation. Passive and Active

Passive manipulation has the Teacher requiring the Student to relax their muscles and to allow the Teacher to move the body part in the desired manner. As the muscles are relaxed, no neuro-muscular pathways are being retrained and the likelihood of the Student retaining the skill is low. A parent may appreciate the effort with their child (the Student) but Active movement has a far better chance of success.

Active movement requires the Student to physically move their body and press or push against the Teacher. E.g. in teaching Breaststroke kick, the Student is on the edge of the pool with legs in the water. The Teacher is standing behind the Student to guide them in the correct kick pattern, where the Student moves their feet towards the buttocks by pushing against the Teacher's hands and then press against the Teacher's hands with their instep as they push back.

Passive movement would have the Teacher hold the feet and move the legs in the desired circular pattern.

As the Student is "participating" in the active movement, the retention of the skill that was practiced is much higher. The preferred teaching process is to use a passive movement to show the Student what to do, followed immediately by the Student participating in an active movement drill.

Physical Contact

 

Before the First Lesson

Communication should occur prior to lessons commencing about "Housekeeping" items such as:

  • What do Students have to do if they wish to go to the toilet?
  • Where do Students wait for lessons to begin?
  • Can Students have a swim before or after lessons?
  • What is the process for marking the attendance of Students?
  • How to obtain swimming aids for the lesson?
  • Does the teaching location need to be defined to Students?
  • What should a Student do if they require assistance?
  • Your expectations. "I am not going to ask anyone to do anything that I don't think they can. All I expect is that everyone will listen and watch and then try their best!"
  • In commercial swim schools this may be provided to parents in the form of an information booklet or an individual introduction, whilst in school groups it may be a more formal presentation to the class of Students as a whole.
  • Of course, it is assumed a Teacher would have deduced by now that you should also seek out what information they are responsible for passing on to Students when commencing employment as a Swim Australia Teacher.

Readiness to Acquire Skills

The type of teaching method will vary from Teacher to Teacher. Most effective Teachers will use a combination of styles during the course of tuition such as:

  • Friendly and approachable while maintaining a professional distance
  • Clear and precise. At times, especially regarding safety issues - a direct approach
  • Humorous when appropriate
  • Laissez faire, or casual
  • Organised and efficient
  • Motivational and encouraging
  • Disciplinarian, including modifying undesirable behaviours

Various styles of teaching are covered in greater depth in the Excellence in Teaching Unit of study.

To gain the ability to do something willingly, that one has previously not been able to do, requires knowledge and confidence. Non-Swimmers are all generally capable of swimming. They either lack the knowledge of what to do and/or the confidence to do it. Usually when commencing teaching a new skill, small progressive steps of skill acquisition occur. As knowledge and confidence grows, the skill steps can become bigger.

A child forced to perform a skill through threats and bribes will be less likely to gain confidence. The likelihood of the skill being performed a second time is reduced as a result.

Has the skill been learned, if it cannot be performed again?

The first few lessons are a "getting to know you" period, where the Teacher views the Student's capabilities and the Student adapts to the Teacher's delivery methods.

A range of drills are taught, that are gradually put together to form more complex tasks.

A common sequence for teaching skills in any of the strokes is:

  • Floating and gliding
  • Kicking
  • Arm stroking
  • Breathing
  • Developing correct timing of the whole stroke

Skill Uptake

The learning rate is relatively slow at first with an increasing rate of skill uptake after this initial period. Students learning on a regular basis will tend to retain more information and thus acquire skills more quickly.
Skill Uptake

 

Teaching Methods to Achieve Skill Acquisition

The same outcome can be achieved by instruction delivered in a range of different "packages". The following are some options:

Progressive adaptations – A Student commences learning small skills that are a variation on skills already acquired. As confidence and ability grow, larger progressions in the degree of difficulty of the skill steps can be introduced. The rate of learning will increase as the Student's ability improves and they become more attuned to the Teacher's methods and drills.

Whole teaching method – The complete skill is described and then attempted. For many this is too complex and requires a memory recall beyond the capacity of many learners.

Part-whole method – The skill is broken down into component parts. Each part is taught, and then put together with other parts until the whole skill is achieved. The difficulty with this method is that the Student does not know what the final result will look like. For this reason, the next method is preferred.

Whole-part-whole method – The skill or desired end result is demonstrated, and then the skill is broken down into component parts. Each part is taught, and then put together with other parts until the whole skill is achieved.

Demonstration - The skill is shown, and then attempted. Many younger Students will learn through visually seeing the task, "monkey see, monkey do". Children will often attempt a swimming stroke and achieve quite good results simply because they saw someone else doing it. Show an intermediate learner how to do Butterfly and then look at the results. Most likely, their arms will go around together in the correct direction, there will be some up and down movement of the body, and breathing will be attempted by lifting the head forwards.

Do we therefore have to teach these requirements of the stroke if they already know them?

Command and response – An explicit instruction is given with little or no explanation as to why to follow the command. Upon performance of the skill, the Teacher provides a response that could be either feedback on the performance, the next command or encouragement.

Discovery – For some Students, skills are best acquired through doing and experimenting rather than watching. Discovery learning allows Students to try a variety of options to find out what suits them best and to discover what does not work.

Try swimming Freestyle with your fingers wide apart, a little way apart and closed together. Which works best for you? That was discovery learning!

Problem solving – involves setting a range of boundaries and allow the Student to roam within those boundaries. "Try to get to the other side of the pool, on your front, using both arms at the same time and without touching the floor of the pool or letting your arms come out of the water." This is a problem and the solution most Students would come up with would be a form of crude Breaststroke. The Teacher may then:

  • Allow Students some time to trial a variety of methods (discovery)
  • conduct some races to determine who in the class is more efficient at the skill. Select some of the better performances for viewing by the rest of the class (demonstration)
  • Have the Students in the class perform the task one by one and provide feedback (whole teaching method)
  • Teach the class to undertake a progressive set of drills relating to the activity (part teaching method)
  • As each skill is acquired, progress to a slightly more complex task (progressive part)
  • Put the parts together and attempt the whole skill (part whole)

Effective Learning

Effective Learning usually involves:

  • The Teacher providing information and the learner accepting the information from the Teacher. How this is achieved will depend on the method of delivery used by the Teacher such as showing a small demonstration (seeing), giving simple directives contained in two to three sentences (hearing), moving the learner's limbs (feeling) or describing what to do via description (visualisation).
  • The learner interpreting or translating the directive. This can be enhanced by making a small progression from what the learner already knows, having a learner demonstrate their interpretation and discussing or questioning the class on what was seen.
  • The learner performing their impression of the directive. Try to keep directives simple and specific. Allow ample time and space to practice. Make learners aware of how to self-assess their performance.
  • The Teacher providing feedback based upon the performance. Feedback should be positive and based upon the directive. Feedback should be provided as soon as possible after the performance.
  • The learner translating this feedback into a modified performance.
  • The learner performing a modified version of the task or going on to a new task.

Retention of Learning

How well a task appears to be learned rather than just "performed in a one off situation" depends on the assessment goals set by the Teacher.

If a Teacher sets high goals, it will be difficult for most Students to achieve. Most goals for a learner should be achievable in the short term.

How well information and tasks are remembered depends on:

  • The language level of verbal instructions
  • The complexity of a demonstration
  • How enjoyable the learning experience is – is the learner having FUN?
  • Whether the information is related to what is already known by the learner
  • The lack of outside interference – environmental distractions, parent/teacher dichotomy
  • The quantity of information provided
  • The learners prior swimming experience

The Learning Environment

Effective Teachers will use a variety of methods to obtain the desired result. Variations may occur for many reasons.

Teacher   

  • History of interaction with the Student
  • Preferred style of Teaching, use of aids
  • Experience and knowledge of aquatics, confidence in own ability
  • Ability to adapt to changing circumstances
  • Previous success
  • Modifications based on feedback and empathy with Students
  • Employer policies and requirements
  • Re-evaluation and improvement in teaching methods
  • Preparedness and lesson planning
  • Level of class control, class safety
  • Empathy and patience
  • Communication skills 
    • Consistency, conciseness, clarity and consideration
    • Multiple teaching and delivery methods

Environment    

  • Background noise, distractions
  • Weather including wind, air temperature, microclimate,
  • Water quality, clarity, depth, temperature
  • Perceived and actual dangers
  • Size of teaching space
  • Location e.g. indoor pool, outdoor – pool, river, lake, dam, beach
  • The suitability of equipment/ aids

Student            

  • Level of physical and mental ability
  • Prior learning, state of mind, ethnic background, parents' ability, fear
  • Number of Students in the class group
  • Comparative ability to other Students, class dynamics
  • Motivation, peer pressure, enthusiasm
  • Relationship to Teacher
  • Previous experience
  • Sight and hearing capabilities

Activity    

  • Level of inherent risk
  • Complexity of task
  • Aids available

Feedback 

  • Correct action versus incorrect action
  • Level of understanding by the Student
  • Language, literacy and numeracy skill level of the Student

Effective Demonstrations

A picture tells a thousand words. A good demonstration will achieve what the Teacher set out to do.

Parameters that can be used to assess the effectiveness of the demonstration are:

  • "Can all Students observe the demonstration?"
  • "Do Students understand what they are observing?"
  • "Is the safety of the class maintained whilst the demonstration is being conducted?"
  • "Is the demonstration relevant to the skill being taught to Students?"
  • feedback from Students by their response or questions
  • "Has it improved the ability or knowledge of the Student?"

A good demonstration can have the:

  • The Teacher doing the demonstration
  • A Student doing the demonstration
  • The Teacher and /or Students in or out of the water
  • Another person demonstrating
  • Skill shown correctly or incorrectly
  • Explanation delivered at the same time, before or after
  • Demonstrations shown via electronic image at a variety of action speeds and pauses
  • Same demonstration repeated a number of times, with variations on the skill

Whether the Teacher is in or out of the water will depend on many factors such as:

  • The skill being instructed
  • The needs of the Students
  • The behaviour and safety of the Students
  • How Students will best observe the demonstration

The weather conditions (cold, hot, windy etc)

Below are some examples of how a teacher may lay out a pool space for a demonstration. In image 1, the Teacher would be describing to Students what they are seeing as the demonstrator swims across the pool. The demonstrator may undertake the skill in a number of different directions so Students may view the drill from various angles.

Weather, air temperature and surrounding distractions can affect the effectiveness of the demonstration. Student's with visual or hearing impairments may need to be re-positioned to take in the demonstration better. 

In the second example (image 2), the Teacher is in the water delivering the demonstration, whilst the Students are on the side of the pool. As the Teacher can less effectively supervise whilst demonstrating, this maintains safety.

The introduction of an assistant Teacher or parent acting as a supervisor for the class will enhance the safety of the class.

The final example (image 3) shows the Teacher and Students are all in the water. This is good from a time management viewpoint. Valuable class time is lost each time the class is removed from the water.

The Teacher needs to be sure that the class can observe. The demonstration should be brief and to the point. An alternate is to have a Student or someone else demonstrate with the Teacher and class in a similar position.

Drills and Games

The basic aim of a Swim Australia Teacher is to expand the ability of the swimmer beyond their current capability.

In order to do this, the swimmer's current capabilities must be assessed. This can be achieved by:

  • Asking swimmers what they think they can do e.g., "Who can swim across the pool?" It should be noted that some swimmers might think they can swim but will not be able to, or vice versa
  • Finding out the swimmers prior history by asking parents or swimmers "Who has already had swimming lessons?"
  • Setting a simple skill that most should be able to achieve. E.g., "Let's get into the water. Those that want to dive in line up here, those that want to slide in line up here, and those that want to climb down the steps, line up here." Those that wish to dive probably have previous experiences whilst those that wish to climb down the steps are probably more tentative. Be careful as some may have the confidence to dive but not necessarily the ability!

Drills and Games

New Skills and Drills

A willingness to try new skills and drills may be tempered by a number of factors such as:

  • The depth of water - A Student who can perform a skill in shallow water may not have the same confidence to do the same in deeper water.
  • The environment - how many of us want to swim in very cold water.
  • Confidence - the Student has attempted the skill 3 times and not achieved it. How willing and motivated will they be to attempt a fourth time?
  • How close is the skill to an activity previously performed successfully.
  • Complexity of the request - the Student does not understand what is required and is fearful of doing something wrong. A growth mind-set should be fostered that recognises attempting to do something never done before makes you a success
  • Student motivation

Familiarisation

An advanced swimmer in one particular skill may be a total novice learner at another activity that they have never attempted before. There is no single method or sequence to teach any skill though some general do's and don'ts have emerged through trial and error:

How a swimmer enters the water will depend very much on the water conditions about to be entered, the Student's ability and the reason for entering the water.

A Swim Australia Teacher has an obligation to provide knowledge regarding the dangers of aquatic environments to Students so they can safely enjoy all locations.

A swimmer should not enter the water unless it is safe to do so. A swimmer should know:

  • Are there safety signs providing instruction or warning? - E.g. "No Diving", "No Jumping", red flag or crossed flags at the beach
  • What are the conditions you are about to enter? - currents, surf, water depth, exit points, location of rescue aids, distance to the other side (backyard pool)
  • Who else should know that you are entering the water? parents, carers, pool staff?

Allaying Fear

For the absolute learner, the Teacher should provide information to allay potential fears.

Explanations should include:

  • The desired method of entering the water and why the Student should use this method
  • The depth of water the Student is entering. A Teacher might stand the shortest person in the class beside them and indicate where the water level will come to when they are in the water. E.g., the water level on the Teacher comes to their hips so stand beside the Student and compare. As a Teacher you should understand that the depth of water versus the Student's height will have a great impact on the Student's ability to:
  • Breathe (due to pressure of water on their chest the more a Student is submerged)
  • Maintain balance (as level of immersion increases so does buoyancy, thus balance is more difficulty to maintain)
  • Obtain traction (as the effective weight of the person pushing down on the pool floor or ground is decreased)
  • The variations in depth (what directions do the depths change). A Teacher may define a safe teaching area by roping or marking out boundaries. Once Students have entered the water and the Teacher is in control, the class may be taken on a walking exploration around the area to satisfy the Students as to the depth and variations for themselves
  • What tasks will be undertaken once Students are in the water (fear of the unknown can cause anxiety in Students)
  • What other things will they encounter? A jet of water coming out of the wall of the pool or a sucking sound from a skimmer box or pool gutter may be all it takes to scare a wary learner who has just entered the water
  • It is very important to encourage and never force. Forcing a child to submerge will be counter-productive in the long run.

 

Entries


 

The type of entry used to gain access to water will depend very much on the water depth, the activity and the location. The following table explains some considerations.

Slide In

Description - The swimmer sits on the water's edge and rolls onto their front and gradually lowers their body in a controlled manner until their feet make contact or the body is at equilibrium with the water

When to use - When entering from the side of a pool, creek or low boat transom

Water depth - Use where the depth of the water and the condition of the bottom is unknown.

Step in

Description - The swimmer steps in from the edge staying upright

When to use - Entry point not much higher than water level

Water depth - Water depth is known and the ground is firm and level

Wade/Walk

Description - The swimmer gradually walks into deeper water

When to use - Beaches, rivers, creeks, lakes, dams, steps

Water depth - Where the depth gradually deepens

Competitive Dive

Description - The swimmer stands on the edge of a pool or diving block, toes gripping over the edge, hands near feet. The swimmer throws the hands forward, pushes with the feet, and enters the water fully stretched at a slight angle to the water's surface.

When to use - Where speed and distance is important such as in a race.

Water depth - Depth is at least 1.35 metres but preferably 1.5 metres for beginners.

Standing Dive

Description -  The swimmer stands on the edge and dives out with hands over head

When to use - Where distance is important. When diving off starting blocks and diving boards*.

Water depth - Depth is at least 1.35 metres and preferably above swimmers body height, higher when diving from a height.*

Running dive

Description - The swimmer runs then dives with a shallow entry angle. This dive is dangerous when the swimmer dives at a steep angle and should be used with extreme caution  

When to use - Where speed and distance is important such as surf competitions and rescues

Water depth - Beach - at least waist deep

Fall in

Description -  As the swimmer falls unexpectedly the body is tucked with the hands holding the head for protection

When to use - The swimmer is entering the water without warning

Water depth - Unknown

Safety Jump or Stride Entry

Description - Take a large step out from the edge, leaning forward with the head high and arms outstretched. As the body enters the water, scissor kick the feet together and scull the hands either across in front of the body or outwards and away to keep the head clear of the water

When to use - Rescue situations where vision of the patient in difficulty needs to be maintained

Water depth - Known deep and clear water

Compact Entry

Description - One hand holds the opposite elbow, whilst the other hand covers the nose and mouth. Step off the edge and keep feet together with knees slightly bent (crumple zone if shallow water entry), body upright. If entering wearing a lifejacket, the hands must hold the jacket so that: 1. crutch straps do
not ride up 2. the body slips out of the jacket 3. the neck doesn't get injured

When to use -  Emergency evacuations, entry from a height  

Water depth -  When entering from a height greater than 1 metre into known deep water (may be unknown in an emergency)

Climb in

Description - The swimmer climbs down a ladder backwards to enter the water (facing towards the ladder)

When to use - Where a ladder is present    

Water depth - A controlled entry is needed

NOTE: The height from which a person may safely enter the water is contingent upon the weight of the person, the style and body position at the point of entry and the angle of entry. Entry into water at a minimum of 1.35 metres deep is unlikely to result in permanent injury though potentially a person may still impact the bottom. Deeper water provides less chance of injury!

** The recommended minimum depth for diving instruction suitable for a learner is 1.5 metres.  Refer  to the ASCTA diving depths policy

* High diving and diving from diving boards should be under the direction of specialist diving Teachers. asctaINSURANCE does not cover high diving activities.

Swimmers should know the environmental situations under which each type of entry is used and receive tuition in all. If an inordinate amount of time is spent practicing only one type of entry, that entry is the most likely to be used in all situations to the potential detriment of the swimmer.

When teaching a learner the preferred entry method (depending on the location) will be one of the following: controlled slide on the stomach; over the edge of the pool; a climb in down a ladder/steps; or a wade-in entry. The next action to be taught is how to get out of the water again. This is a necessary skill. If an emergency signal is given, all Students must have the skills to respond and exit the water from the very first lesson.

Moving Through the Water

Having entered the water, Students should be allowed to explore the location to determine depth changes and other variations such as:

  • How slippery is the pool floor?
  • Are there jets of water entering the pool? 

Observation by the Teacher of Students will give a good indication of the likely ability of Students. Timid Students will be close to the edge or even holding on to the pool side or a railing in the water whilst those with a large amount of exposure to water will be out in the middle jumping around and exploring all over the defined area.

Safe Exits


 

Once in the water, the next skill to be taught must be exiting. In an emergency, all Students should have the ability to exit the water of their own accord.

This may be by:

  • Climbing over the pool wall. The Student places both arms on the edge, pressing toes onto the wall of the pool and pushing up with both arms and legs, lift and lean over onto the pool deck. Sometimes one knee can be placed on the edge of the pool to aid in leveraging the body up out of the water. Once the body is out of the water, a Student can lift himself or herself upright onto the pool deck.
  • Another method is to hold onto the side, bob under and then use the momentum of a lifting action combined with the upward buoyant force from being under water to rise rapidly up out of the water. When the body is as high out of the water as possible, then bend over the edge and climb the last part of the way out of the water
  • Hand over handing (sometimes called spider walking or monkey walking) along the pool edge until a Student reaches the steps or a ladder and can exit
  • Walking up steps or a ramp
  • Climbing a ladder

From the earliest age possible Teachers and Carers should avoid lifting the Student out of the pool, but instead take every opportunity to teach and practice safe exits.

Face Wet and Submerging

The first few experiences in submerging the face must be well controlled so that no adverse experiences occur. No Student should ever be forcibly submerged.

Face Submersion

Here is a sequence of drills designed for a fearful Student with no "putting their face in" ability:

  • Blow air through a clear straw into a container with water in it to make bubbles. If a Student cannot blow out on land, then they cannot blow out in the water. The clear straw is so that if the Student starts to suck instead of blow the Teacher can pinch the straw and stop the Student drinking water. The Student can see the result if this drill is done correctly i.e. bubbles.
  • Blow through the straw into the pool. Student could be leaning over the edge of the pool or in a corner of the shallow end of the pool holding onto the side.
  • Cut the straw in half and repeat previous drill. This starts to move the Student's face closer to the water. (caution - a small straw may be a choking hazard)
  • Place a ping-pong ball on the surface of the water and have the Student blow the ball. As the Student blows the ball, they put their face close to the water to blow, then lift their head, breathe in and then return close to the water and blow the ball again.
  • Get the Student to place parts of their face/head in the water and observe where resistance to the activity is in evidence. Use a plastic container with holes in as a "shower" to get parts of the head and face wet. Try the back of the head; each side of the head; the chin; the top of the forehead; the chin and mouth only; and chin, mouth and eyes. If evidence of an unwillingness to do one particular drill is seen, then work around this area or eliminate this area altogether. E.g. if the Student will not place their eyes in the water, then placing goggles over the eyes will eliminate this area from the activity. Another example would be to pinch the nose or wear a nose clip for the first efforts when the nose is submerged if a reluctance to place the nose in the water was observed.
  • Place the whole face in the water. To do this the Student should take two breaths. The first breath is taken before submerging. Then, the neck is bent so that the chin dips towards the chest and thus the face enters the water. Once the face is in the water, bubbles are gently blown out through the mouth. As the face resurfaces, another breath should be taken in through the mouth. Breathing through the nose after surfacing will cause water to be sucked up the nose and should be discouraged.
  • Whilst getting the face in the water, looking towards the floor of the pool is necessary for a good streamlined swimming position, Students can experience a wide range of other floating and movement skills without this skill being refined. Undertaking these other skills will expose the Student to their face getting "accidentally" wet on a regular basis.

Floating and Recovery

Once a Student is comfortable placing their face in the water, floatation can be experienced. Initial attempts to float should be undertaken with the arms and legs apart in what is commonly referred to as a "star float". The arms and legs in this position (with either a front or back float) assist in stabilising the body and stop the Student rolling over.
Floating and Recovery

Some Students will find it easier to float on their back first. The ideal confidence builder is for the Student to learn to float on both the front and back.

For inexperienced Students, a stationary float is more difficult to master than a very short glide. Glides can be attempted without the face in the water but it is less likely that a Student could float with the head up.

Various levels of the Floatation effect can be experienced by:

  • Simply lowering the body into the water
  • Walking into deeper water so that the floatation affect on the body increases
  • Lying on flotation mats, kickboards, body boards, air mattresses etc. Try items with the most floatation and gradually move to using those with less buoyancy
  • Facing the wall approximately one body length away and squatting down in waist deep water until the shoulders are submerged. Keeping the feet firmly planted, reach out for the wall and fall forwards. Repeat the exercise moving about 10 centimetres further away from the wall each time. The Student will go through a transition from falling forward to floatation as the feet lift off the pool floor. This exercise can even be done without a requirement that the face submerge. If the water is too deep, the Student may have to stand on the Teacher's knees, a chair or platform in the water and push off from this
  • Once going to the wall and a recovery from a float has been mastered, the Student can attempt to go from the wall out into the middle of the pool. For added security, first attempts away from the wall may be done holding onto a kickboard out in front. Better streamlining is achieved if the head is positioned down between the outstretched arms. The result is better buoyancy and a longer glide
  • In chest to shoulder deep water, get Students to try to bend over and touch their toes. As the Student pushes their body into the water, their feet will rise off the pool floor. As Students lift their head up out of the water again, their feet will return to the pool floor

Using games such as:

  • Individually picking up a diving/sinking toy from the floor. Ensure the Student does not bob under the water or picks the object up with their feet (though for some this may be a milestone achievement) but rather stands and bends over to pick up objects so that the full change in buoyancy is appreciated
  • In pairs, facing each other, Students submerge and pull faces, talk to each other underwater, guess how many fingers are held up etc. Do this game in chest deep water so buoyancy is experienced. A sideline benefit is that opening the eyes underwater is also promoted
  • A treasure hunt can be used to encourage a whole of class activity. Throw a heap sinking toys into the pool and see who can collect the most. Timid Students will tend to stay in the shallows and use their feet whilst more experienced swimmers will dive under and collect toys with their hands.

Back and Side Floating and Recovery

The ability to float on the back and side are prerequisite skills to being able to swim Backstroke or roll onto the side and breathe in Freestyle. Similar to the front float, stationary floats should only be attempted after the Student has mastered the skills whilst gliding or moving through the water.
Back and Side FloatingTo encourage back float, keep the sun and water out of the eyes and place distractions such as mobiles, pictures or even your hand above the Student. Here is a sequence for teaching back float:

  • Walk backwards through the water. If the Student cannot do this then there is little chance they will float on their back.
  • With the Teacher squatting down in the water, the Student rests the back of their head on the Teacher's shoulder and is gently pulled through the water. For added security, the Teacher may have one arm across the Student's chest.
  • The Teacher positions one hand behind the Student's head and supports the head whilst gently pulling the Student through the water. Again, for added security, the Teacher may have one arm across the Student's chest.
  • The Student places their hands behind their head as though they are pretending to have a sleep. The Teacher supports the hands and head whilst gently pulling the Student through the water.
  • The Teacher's hands are turned palm up. Holding both the Student's shoulders with the thumbs over the top, the Teacher gently pulls the Student through the water.
  • Repeat the last drill with the Student holding a kick board along the sides of the board, with fingers on top and thumbs underneath pulling the board down onto their stomach region.
  • The Teacher supports either side of the Student's head with two hands and gently pulls the Student through the water. A board may be added as in the previous drill. To vary the drill, the board can also be positioned by the Student holding onto the back of the board, fingers on top and thumbs underneath, the board is then pushed away from the body and the stomach region and pushed up into the space between the arms.
  • Once the Student is at equilibrium in the water as in the previous drill, the Teacher can gently release their hands and show them to the Student. Then replace the hands, and lift the Student's head so that they gain their feet again.
  • The Student squats down in waist deep water. Holding a kickboard to the chest the Student gently lies back in the water. The Teacher is positioned behind the Student to assist if necessary in the Student lying back or recovering to their feet again.
  • The same drill as previous is attempted but with the board pushed away so that when the Student attains a back float the board is down over the knees.
  • Kicking or kicking using one or two fins can also be attempted. It is best to encourage Students to kick for a number of kicks and stop so that they do not crash into the wall with their head. It is undesirable that so early in their Backstroke swimming career, Students start to look around in fear of hitting their head.

Gliding

Gliding is a term used when a swimmer is moving through the water without moving arms or legs, relying only on the momentum gained from a previous action.

A torpedo is a refined front glide where the arms are stretched forwards together and legs are straight and together behind the body. This is a streamlined position allowing the body to "slip" through the water easily as water can flow over the body relatively unrestricted thus reducing resistance.

The hands out in front of the body act as a "depth rudder". If the hands are lowered, the swimmer will tend to go deep whilst if the hands are kept above the head in a line with the body, the swimmer will stay closer to the water surface.

When a Student is gliding or moving through the water, their body is more balanced than if they are motionless. As a Student becomes more confident and skilled at gliding, the speed through the water can be reduced so that the Student experiences a greater sense that the water is supporting their body.

Floating substances (fat included) will tend to make their way to the surface. The inclination of a swimmer gliding or floating at low speed to rollover is caused by the distribution of fat in the body that tends to amass on the front of the body. The front side wants to go up!

A good push off assists the Student to commence swimming more easily as the body is moving forward and in a relatively horizontal swimming position. Early in their swimming lessons, Students should be taught to push off the wall, using both feet, the head tucked into a streamlined position with the ears under the upper arms, arms outstretched with one hand on top of the other. As an overcorrection drill, Students with their heads too high may be instructed to put their "chin on their chest".

A good push off is a "legal cheat" allowing the Student to travel some distance before they need to expend greater energy moving their arms and legs.

Gliding

Kicking and Stroking

Students can begin their exploration of a variety of methods of moving through the water even if they are not able to get their face wet or float.

At the learner stage, Students can experiment whilst out of the water, stationary in the water, walking through the water, floating on a large kick board or body board, with or without fins or other aids using their:

Legs in a kicking motion -

  • Up and down with feet together
  • Alternating with one leg moving up as the other moves down
  • Circular - moving around together or alternately

Arms in a -

  • Circular alternating forward action (Dog Paddle, Sidestroke and Freestyle)
  • Circular and alternating backward action (Backstroke and Survival or Lifesaving Backstroke)
  • Circular over arm action (Butterfly)
  • Circular around in front action (Breaststroke)

Drill Sequencing

Usually, Teachers will use a part/whole teaching strategy where elements of a stroke such as the kick or arm pattern are taught in a controlled situation, gradually increasing the complexity of the task by adding additional components.

Combining two major acquired skills such as kicking and arm stroking then leads to the acquisition of a complex third skill (swimming without breathing).

This third skill is performed until it is learnt (becomes autonomous or automatic), then an additional component such as breathing can be added.

This combined series of actions ends with the Student "swimming".

An effective Teacher will also use discovery learning where Students are encouraged to attempt a variety of combinations in order to determine what works best. E.g. trying a Breaststroke kick with Freestyle arm action led most Students to conclude that bending your legs too much with an alternate over arm action is not very effective. This is a more effective teaching method than telling Students not to bend their legs as they have found out for themselves that it is not effective and will recall this information more readily.

An analogy of one-step backwards for every two steps forward is apt for combining swimming drills. E.g., a Student has practiced and learnt to move their arms forward in an alternating fashion and now the kick is going to be combined with the drill so that the Student can "swim". Do not expect the kick or the arm stroke to be performed to the same level of proficiency as when each was done individually.

Each new skill acquired, builds upon the knowledge and ability already achieved. General prerequisites for moving into stroke work are an ability to:

  • Get into and out of the pool or learning environment
  • Get the face wet
  • Glide and recover
  • Respond appropriately to an emergency signal

Here is an example of a sequence to learn basic Freestyle arms.

  • The Student practices their arms on the side of the pool, holding on to the back of a chair doing one arm at a time. This drill is closely monitored by the Teacher to ensure the arms are alternating and that the pathway of the arm is down in front of the body, with the thumb brushing the leg as it passes, then the shoulder rotates as the arm recovers over.
  • The Student then progresses to stationary in the water holding on to the edge of the pool. Basically, the same drill in a secure standing position, but now the feel of hands pressing against the water is felt by the Student.
  • Next, the Student does the same drill but holds on to a kick board. The kick board is less stable but its' use needs to be mastered for later drills.
  • Then the same drill is done but with the Student walking. Walking introduces the legs moving but is easier to do than progressing on to kicking.
  • If this skill is done correctly, a Teacher may then "go back" to the Student kicking using a kickboard out in front with the face in - but no arms.
  • Then same drill is undertaken with only one arm moving.
  • Then the same drill with only the other arm moving.
  • Holding on to the kick board with face in and arms alternating. The Student may try this first walking with the board and then kicking with the board.
  • Holding a smaller kick board, with face in and arms alternating. (Similar to # 8, walking before attempting with kicking is an option)
  • Then "go back" to gliding and kicking.
  • Gliding, kicking and using alternate arm action for 2 then 3 then 4 then 6 then 8 strokes before stopping and standing up.

This example shows a sequence of drills, each progressively building on the previous one. When two major drills are combined the sequence steps back a level to reinforce some previously acquired abilities, then progressively moves forward again.

Inexperienced Teachers tend to have a small repertoire of drill progressions, leading to Students being asked to take big steps up in skill levels to progress forward. This often means some Students get "left behind" or have to spend a lot of time repeating the same drill before it is properly acquired.

Conversely, an experienced Teacher will have a large range of drills, each a small progression on the previous one. Students maintain an attitude of "I may never have done this action before, but it is so similar to what I can already do that I think I can do it". By taking smaller steps the ability to perform skills is acquired relatively quickly and the Student progresses at a steady pace.  This creates a learning environment where Students are challenged and achieve incremental improvements.

To learn to breathe whilst swimming can be one of the most difficult skills to teach a Student. Acknowledging this, an affective Teacher will take many small progressive steps.

Empathy

For a Teacher to provide empathy and really understand the difficulties facing young Students it is best to experience a simulated experience.

Imagine this:

Pretend you are a Student standing in shoulder deep water (like you ask Students to) and determine what affect the following would have on you.

  • It is harder to breathe in due to the added water pressure on the chest. This same pressure forces the air out of the lungs more quickly than on land but makes it harder to breathe in. Every time you breath in the air in your lungs starts to unsteady your body and your feet lift up
  • The weight on your feet is less, so the traction with the ground is reduced. Try hopping on one foot to the other. This makes it a little easier - you can understand why Students may do this!
  • Try going from a standing to floating position in this depth - more difficult than you think

As a Teacher, imagine taking a class of 5 year olds. The water is only up to your hips. You have no difficulties. What about your Students who are proportionately in much deeper water?

Empathy

Backward Mobility

Building on from the back floating drills described earlier, the table below illustrates some of the options a Teacher could use to expand the Student's ability whilst on their back.
Backward Mobility

Personal Safety and Recue Skills

Personal safety and rescue skills should be instilled in Students from the first lesson. Personal safety relates to actions and information that a person can use to ensure greater personal safety.

Rescue skills can include learning the ability to grab an object that is offered, be pulled to safety, dry rescues such as where objects are reached out or thrown to a person in difficulty or for more advanced Student's wet rescues where the rescuer is required to get into the water. Teachers must regularly reinforce the notion that the option of last resort for a would-be rescuer is to make physical contact with the person in difficulty.

The general safety rules for a variety of locations must be understood. A holistic approach to water safety education is encouraged with education of parents, carers, Students and the general community necessary for the best possible outcome in reducing the drowning and near-drowning toll.

The Water Safety and Aquatic Survival Skills Unit covers this is great depth.

Personal Safety

Adaptations and Variations

It is often argued that the utopian aquatic learning environment of an indoor heated purpose built teaching pool is not the ideal learning environment at all because it fails to expose Students to the types of situations likely to be encountered when potential drowning situations arise.

Whilst Teachers may desire to conduct lessons in this ideal environment, Teachers need the skills to be able to simulate the range of conditions Students are most likely to encounter in real life in order to prepare them for these possible occurrences and ensure a raised level of personal safety.

Water Depth

Safe Learning Environments

In some locations, swimming and water safety lessons and most aquatic experiences for a Student may have occurred in rivers, lakes, dams, creeks, beaches, harbours, waterholes, outdoors or in unheated pools.

Each of these environs presents a different set of challenges for the Teacher.

To ensure the safety of Students, prior to the commencement of each group of classes, Teachers should:

  • Thoroughly check the area (in and out of the water)  for any potential hazards
  • Constantly monitor the weather and environment for any changes that may provide risk
  • Define the teaching area
  • Ensure rescue aids are readily available at several locations within easy distance of the Teacher
  • Place Students with a buddy if necessary. Monitor class numbers and know where all Students are at all times
  • Teach assistant Teachers, trainees, spotters or parent helpers in the emergency response process
  • Teach Students how to respond to an emergency signal, how to exit, where to assemble etc.

Water Depths

Sometimes the venue will necessitate that Students will undertake lessons in water too deep for them to stand. People do not only drown in shallow water so Students need to gain a swimming confidence and therefore an ability in deep as well as shallow water.

A Student may have the ability to swim without touching the pool floor in shallow water yet not have the confidence to swim in the same pool of water where it is deeper.

The capacity to swim is sometimes related to the confidence of a swimmer when the depth of water is a known factor.

Like all introductions to new situations, initial drills should be highly controlled and well supervised. Often Students may be taken one at a time with the Teacher in the water or close to the Student in order that assistance can be quickly offered should the need arise.

Students should understand that it is the "same water" in the deep part as the shallow part and that it will do the same things. If you lift your head your feet will still sink, but this water will also "hold you up" the same as in the shallow part.

Deep-water introductory drills:

  • Hand over handing along a pool wall into deep water, reverse and go back to the shallow part
  • Hand over handing submerging down a ladder in deeper water
  • Submerge hand over hand down a pole (such as a pool leaf scoop pole held vertically)
  • Swimming from the Teacher back to the wall in deep water over a relatively short distance compared to the swimmer's usual capacity
  • Swimming from the wall to the Teacher over a relatively short distance compared to the swimmer's usual capacity
  • The Teacher holding the hand of the Student and assisting them to go under and up again
  • Kicking or swimming from just beyond touching depth back to the shallow area
  • Swimming across the deep end beside the wall (for security)

Skill Levels and Differentiation

Skill LevelsOften the ability in a class of Students will vary. This may be due to the:

  • Particular skill set (prerequisite learning) required for the activity being undertaken
  • A general variation in experience, prior learning and ability between Students
  • The mental capacity or physical age of the Students
  • The Student's understanding and interpretation of the requirements of the task
  • The Student's gender

Teachers need strategies to challenge and progress all Students regardless of their ability in relation to others, this is known as differentiated learning.

A suggested strategy is to adapt a particular drill depending on the standard of the Students.
E.g., Student A less ability than Student B in one activity - Freestyle kicking:

  • The Teacher can discuss with both how the legs are to stay loose and relaxed, the toes pointed, legs moving up and down from the hips etc.
  • When Students A and B go to perform the task, the Teacher directs Student A to use a kickboard under the chin (placing buoyancy close to the centre of gravity improves the horizontal body position) whilst Student B is directed to do the same sort of kicking but with the hands out in front using no kick board. Thus, both Students are challenged by the task whilst still focusing on improving the same basic skill - Freestyle kick.
  • If the class group were even more diverse in range of ability for a kicking drill, various Students may all be kicking, focusing on legs stretched out and small fast kicks with feet just breaking the surface of the water. The Teacher could use the following options with a large school class of Students to challenge all Students (in order of least to most skilled).

Kicking legs and:

  • Sitting on the side of the pool
  • In the water, holding on to the edge
  • Using a large kick board with the stomach to under the chin on the board
  • Using a small kick board, close to the body
  • Using a small kick board away from the body
  • Using a small kick board fully extended
  • Using no kick board, hands extended
  • On one side holding onto a kick board
  • On the back holding a kick board
  • On the back using no board

Feedback

A Teacher can obtain feedback through a variety of mechanisms such as:

  • The actions of the Students
  • Questions and answers with Students
  • Comments from supervisors, peers, parents and others
  • Self-review by comparison to others, average performances, surveys or filming of lessons

Based upon the findings of this feedback review, the Teacher may modify skills, tasks or methods of communication and instruction to try to get a better result. Experience will enable a Teacher to make better-educated choices as to the most likely alternate method that will succeed should one method not meet expectations.

How a Student may assess their performance is from the feedback received. Feedback can be positive, negative or judgemental and be conveyed by a variety of mechanisms.

Is an excellent performance where the swimmer does the skill perfectly or where the swimmer has made some improvement (no matter how small) on previous performances?

The answer to this question will determine the type of Teacher you are. Swimming perfection is a seldom attained goal at the end of a long path and the first step along this path is any improvement on what the swimmer could previously do.

Feedback

It is important that Teacher feedback to swimmers be based upon the parameters previously indicated. 
E.g. An instruction is given to a swimmer to "Swim across doing Freestyle and remember to kick your legs".

Once the swimmer reaches the other side, the Teacher could provide the following choices of feedback:

  • "you can do better than that"
  • "you need to bend your elbows more"
  • "you are still not kicking enough"
  • "you were kicking more then, but need to do smaller kicks by moving your legs faster still"
  • "that was great"
  • "that was great swimming because you remembered to kick your legs"

Choice a. in the mind of the swimmer raises the questions of "Better than what?"; "How do I judge it is better?"; "Do you mean more kicking, better kick style, faster kicking, bigger splashes, or something else?" i.e. confusion in the mind of the swimmer prevails.

Choice b. "I was concentrating on kicking correctly"; "Do you want me to check my elbows now and forget the kick?" i.e. confusion in the mind of the swimmer prevails.

Choice c. "Big enough, fast enough, bending enough - enough what?" i.e. confusion in the mind of the swimmer prevails.

Choice d. "OK, I know I was trying last time and the Teacher has maybe recognised that I made some improvement in the right direction and I know what to do to improve more!"

Choice e. "I did something good but what was it?"

Choice f. "The Teacher has definitely recognised my effort and indicated to me why. If I want to be rewarded again, I know I have to remember to kick."

Effective feedback is usually positive and lets the swimmer know what they did correctly, this is known as labelled praise. To which response would you react most favourably?

Even the above example may be very ineffective if not directed properly. The Student must be aware that the comments made are directed to them. Saying the Student's name first, making eye contact then conveying the comment is a more positive form of communication.

A Teacher is better to say to Billy:

"Billy, (pause) that was great swimming because you remembered to kick your legs"
rather than "That was great swimming because you remembered to kick your legs, Billy"

Behaviour

A Teacher can obtain feedback through a variety of mechanisms such as:

  • The actions of the Students
  • Questions and answers with Students
  • Comments from supervisors, peers, parents and others
  • Self-review by comparison to others, average performances, surveys or filming of lessons

Based upon the findings of this feedback review, the Teacher may modify skills, tasks or methods of communication and instruction to try to get a better result. Experience will enable a Teacher to make better-educated choices as to the most likely alternate method that will succeed should one method not meet expectations.

How a Student may assess their performance is from the feedback received. Feedback can be positive, negative or judgemental and be conveyed by a variety of mechanisms.

Is an excellent performance where the swimmer does the skill perfectly or where the swimmer has made some improvement (no matter how small) on previous performances?

The answer to this question will determine the type of Teacher you are. Swimming perfection is a seldom attained goal at the end of a long path and the first step along this path is any improvement on what the swimmer could previously do.

It is important that Teacher feedback to swimmers be based upon the parameters previously indicated.
E.g. An instruction is given to a swimmer to "Swim across doing Freestyle and remember to kick your legs".

Once the swimmer reaches the other side, the Teacher could provide the following choices of feedback:

  • "you can do better than that"
  • "you need to bend your elbows more"
  • "you are still not kicking enough"
  • "you were kicking more then, but need to do smaller kicks by moving your legs faster still"
  • "that was great"
  • "that was great swimming because you remembered to kick your legs"

Choice a. in the mind of the swimmer raises the questions of "Better than what?"; "How do I judge it is better?"; "Do you mean more kicking, better kick style, faster kicking, bigger splashes, or something else?" i.e. confusion in the mind of the swimmer prevails.

Choice b. "I was concentrating on kicking correctly"; "Do you want me to check my elbows now and forget the kick?" i.e. confusion in the mind of the swimmer prevails.

Choice c. "Big enough, fast enough, bending enough - enough what?" i.e. confusion in the mind of the swimmer prevails.

Choice d. "OK, I know I was trying last time and the Teacher has maybe recognised that I made some improvement in the right direction and I know what to do to improve more!"

Choice e. "I did something good but what was it?"

Choice f. "The Teacher has definitely recognised my effort and indicated to me why. If I want to be rewarded again, I know I have to remember to kick."

Effective feedback is usually positive and lets the swimmer know what they did correctly, this is known as labelled praise. To which response would you react most favourably?

Even the above example may be very ineffective if not directed properly. The Student must be aware that the comments made are directed to them. Saying the Student's name first, making eye contact then conveying the comment is a more positive form of communication.

A Teacher is better to say to Billy

"Billy, (pause) that was great swimming because you remembered to kick your legs"
rather than "That was great swimming because you remembered to kick your legs, Billy"

Behaviour

Class Structure and Duration

Swimming and water safety lessons will vary in duration and size depending on a vast range of variables.
Class Structure
In order to determine the duration of lessons and the size of the lesson group, the following should be considered:

  •  The number of Students in the lesson. A large number may require more time to achieve the same level of results, or a small number may mean Students will tire quicker
  •  The lesson environment. If outdoors, is it windy or the water too hot or too cold? This will affect how long a Student may comfortably stay in the environment. Remember that Students will not learn if distracted by being too cold or too hot
  • The weather. If the lesson is planned for the middle of the day how long can Students safely stay in the sun? If the air temperature is cold what affect will this have on Students. Remember wind chill is a very important factor, even on a hot day, if it is windy younger swimmers can feel the cold.
  •  The swimming capacity of Students. Students with larger body sizes tend to be able to endure cold conditions better. Swimmers who are kept moving will "last longer" than learners who tend to be less active time on task. Take the example of a school group who has to assemble, be transported by bus or walk to the pool, change out of school uniform and split into groups at the pool. Then they receive a lesson and change, travel back to school. The preparation and return may take 40 minutes to one hour without accounting for the lesson time. A lesson of 45 minutes may produce a lot more learning time than a lesson of 30 minutes due to the inevitable wastage of time at the beginning and end of lessons. A 40 minute lesson out of 45 minutes pool time with one hour of travel is better than 25 minutes of lesson out of 30 minutes of pool time and 1 hour of travel
  •  The venue capacity. What size pool area do you have to work with? What is the bather load limit on the pool?
  •  The type of activity undertaken. If you are doing Backstroke with inexperienced swimmers, the number of swimmers you can safely place in a set area may be limited

Commonly, lessons in school class group situations have generally at least two Teachers per average size school class for grades four upwards and three Teachers/ parent helpers with younger grades. The actual Teacher to Student ratios for school groups undertaking swimming may be regulated by school authorities. Swim Australia Teachers should check the requirements prior to commencement of lessons.

In commercial swim schools, it is common to have class sizes of three, four, five or six Students for a duration of 20 minutes to 30 minutes. As a general rule, the younger or the more inexperienced the Students are, the smaller the class size and the shorter the duration of the lesson.

The question also arises as to "How often a lesson should be conducted?".

General observation tends to suggest that Students attending twice a week will learn more than twice as fast as Students only attending once each week.

Short intensive periods of lessons e.g. five times a week over school holidays will boost the learning rate and produce results in a shorter period of time. Although progression is quicker, the skill may not be "bedded in" due to the lack of time to practice between lessons.

With school groups, a two-week intensive block of lessons may be effective, but must be tempered by the possibility in outdoor pools of inclement weather for the majority of the time counteracting any advantage that may be gained.

Temperature and Weather

Swimming and water safety lessons will vary in duration and size depending on a vast range of variables.

In order to determine the duration of lessons and the size of the lesson group, the following should be considered:

  •  The number of Students in the lesson. A large number may require more time to achieve the same level of results, or a small number may mean Students will tire quicker
  •  The lesson environment. If outdoors, is it windy or the water too hot or too cold? This will affect how long a Student may comfortably stay in the environment. Remember that Students will not learn if distracted by being too cold or too hot
  • The weather. If the lesson is planned for the middle of the day how long can Students safely stay in the sun? If the air temperature is cold what affect will this have on Students. Remember wind chill is a very important factor, even on a hot day, if it is windy younger swimmers can feel the cold.
  • The swimming capacity of Students. Students with larger body sizes tend to be able to endure cold conditions better. Swimmers who are kept moving will "last longer" than learners who tend to be less active time on task. Take the example of a school group who has to assemble, be transported by bus or walk to the pool, change out of school uniform and split into groups at the pool. Then they receive a lesson and change, travel back to school. The preparation and return may take 40 minutes to one hour without accounting for the lesson time. A lesson of 45 minutes may produce a lot more learning time than a lesson of 30 minutes due to the inevitable wastage of time at the beginning and end of lessons. A 40 minute lesson out of 45 minutes pool time with one hour of travel is better than 25 minutes of lesson out of 30 minutes of pool time and 1 hour of travel
  • The venue capacity. What size pool area do you have to work with? What is the bather load limit on the pool?
  • The type of activity undertaken. If you are doing Backstroke with inexperienced swimmers, the number of swimmers you can safely place in a set area may be limited.

Commonly, lessons in school class group situations have generally at least two Teachers per average size school class for grades four upwards and three Teachers/ parent helpers with younger grades. The actual Teacher to Student ratios for school groups undertaking swimming may be regulated by school authorities. Swim Australia Teachers should check the requirements prior to commencement of lessons.

In commercial swim schools, it is common to have class sizes of three, four, five or six Students for a duration of 20 minutes to 30 minutes. As a general rule, the younger or the more inexperienced the Students are, the smaller the class size and the shorter the duration of the lesson.

The question also arises as to "How often a lesson should be conducted?".

General observation tends to suggest that Students attending twice a week will learn more than twice as fast as Students only attending once each week.

Short intensive periods of lessons e.g. five times a week over school holidays will boost the learning rate and produce results in a shorter period of time. Although progression is quicker, the skill may not be "bedded in" due to the lack of time to practice between lessons.

With school groups, a two-week intensive block of lessons may be effective, but must be tempered by the possibility in outdoor pools of inclement weather for the majority of the time counteracting any advantage that may be gained.

Lightning

Swimming and water safety lessons will vary in duration and size depending on a vast range of variables.

LightningIn order to determine the duration of lessons and the size of the lesson group, the following should be considered:

  •  The number of Students in the lesson. A large number may require more time to achieve the same level of results, or a small number may mean Students will tire quicker\
  • The lesson environment. If outdoors, is it windy or the water too hot or too cold? This will affect how long a Student may comfortably stay in the environment. Remember that Students will not learn if distracted by being too cold or too hot
  •  The weather. If the lesson is planned for the middle of the day how long can Students safely stay in the sun? If the air temperature is cold what affect will this have on Students. Remember wind chill is a very important factor, even on a hot day, if it is windy younger swimmers can feel the cold.
  •  The swimming capacity of Students. Students with larger body sizes tend to be able to endure cold conditions better. Swimmers who are kept moving will "last longer" than learners who tend to be less active time on task. Take the example of a school group who has to assemble, be transported by bus or walk to the pool, change out of school uniform and split into groups at the pool. Then they receive a lesson and change, travel back to school. The preparation and return may take 40 minutes to one hour without accounting for the lesson time. A lesson of 45 minutes may produce a lot more learning time than a lesson of 30 minutes due to the inevitable wastage of time at the beginning and end of lessons. A 40 minute lesson out of 45 minutes pool time with one hour of travel is better than 25 minutes of lesson out of 30 minutes of pool time and 1 hour of travel
  •  The venue capacity. What size pool area do you have to work with? What is the bather load limit on the pool?
  • The type of activity undertaken. If you are doing Backstroke with inexperienced swimmers, the number of swimmers you can safely place in a set area may be limited

Commonly, lessons in school class group situations have generally at least two Teachers per average size school class for grades four upwards and three Teachers/ parent helpers with younger grades. The actual Teacher to Student ratios for school groups undertaking swimming may be regulated by school authorities. Swim Australia Teachers should check the requirements prior to commencement of lessons.

In commercial swim schools, it is common to have class sizes of three, four, five or six Students for a duration of 20 minutes to 30 minutes. As a general rule, the younger or the more inexperienced the Students are, the smaller the class size and the shorter the duration of the lesson.

The question also arises as to "How often a lesson should be conducted?".

General observation tends to suggest that Students attending twice a week will learn more than twice as fast as Students only attending once each week.

Short intensive periods of lessons e.g. five times a week over school holidays will boost the learning rate and produce results in a shorter period of time. Although progression is quicker, the skill may not be "bedded in" due to the lack of time to practice between lessons.

With school groups, a two-week intensive block of lessons may be effective, but must be tempered by the possibility in outdoor pools of inclement weather for the majority of the time counteracting any advantage that may be gained.

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Water Safety & Aquatic Survival

Water Safety and Aquatic Survival

Every year, it is estimated that over 400,000# people drown which makes drowning the second leading cause after road traffic injuries, of unintentional injury deaths globally (#This total excludes drowning by floods, transport accidents or suicide.)

Drowning rates increase in low and middle income countries. E.g., In many African nations drowning rates are about eight times higher than Australia. This is likely to be the result of the majority of drowning deaths resulting from everyday activity as compared with recreation or leisure in more affluent countries. In 2000, 129,000 drowning deaths occurred in China, 86,000 in India and around 6,500 in the USA. New Zealand has the highest rate of 1-14 year olds drowning of any OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) country. In most affluent countries the reasons for and statistics of drowning overall mirror that of Australia.

Identified factors by WHO (World Health Organisation) include swimming alone, drinking alcohol (including impairment of supervision of children) and boating.

Worldwide, children have the highest mortality rates.

"No one is such a good swimmer that they cannot drown".

Water Safety 2

Parental Need

By studying the statistics of drowning and near drowning, swimmers will gain a better understanding of the scenarios likely to be faced when required to respond as a rescuer. This knowledge will enable Swim Australia Teachers to better focus on the areas of greatest need for Students.

When asked why they take their children to swimming lessons, most parents respond that they do not want their children to drown. In order to teach children to “not drown”, a Teacher must have an understanding of what the factors are that lead to drowning.

A study of the circumstances surrounding drowning events promotes to Teachers that a holistic approach to water safety involving education of children, parents and the whole community is required.

Drowning Trends

Many of the patterns evident in Australian statistics on drowning are common worldwide.

Approximately 250 - 300 people a year drown in Australia (down from over 500 in the mid 1970’s).

The proactive role of volunteer lifesavers and professional lifeguards, personal water safety and community CPR programs and personal swimming and water safety survival skills taught by Teachers, all assisted in achieving this outcome.

Recently, in some states of Australia, State governments have introduced legislation and provided large amounts of funding which has had dramatic impacts upon the yearly toll. Examples of this are the pool fencing legislation in Queensland mimicked by other states; the formation of Aquatics and Recreation Victoria; boating and life jacket legislation in Tasmania and indigenous swimming programs in the Northern Territory.

Based upon statistical analysis of drowning and near drowning data education programs promoted in particular by Surf Life Saving and Royal Life Saving targeting specific user groups such as immigrant populations have reduced drowning in these groups.

The Australian Water Safety Council has drawn together most government and non-government stakeholders to create a well-documented and comprehensive national strategy to assist in driving the drowning rate even lower.

More comprehensive drowning data has become available in the last ten years. This has enabled a better understanding of the factors leading to drownings and thus directed the focus of education and training programs for the prevention of drownings.

 

 

Drowning by Age

Drowning in all age groups less than 45 years of age are trending downwards whilst older age groups are constant or in the majority of cases up on the 5 year average. Males are still accounting for the highest deaths in the age group, with beaches being the location where the highest number of drownings occur in the 55+ age group.

This may reflect a more active ageing baby boomer population retiring to beach and canal side areas, an increase in the actual number of people in this age group and the fact that they are more recreationally active in aquatic environs.

Aquatic education and activity should be a whole of life experience. Currently very few Teachers have specific skills and training in the adult education area. The statistics appear to indicate that this is an area still requiring community education. Alcohol and the lack of life jackets are major factors in many of the recreational activity fatalities in this age group.

In the 0 to 5 year age group drowning rates had consistently been declining in the past ten years, despite a slight rise in 2012/13. Swimming pools continue to be the location where most drownings occur in this age group.

In the 6 to 14 years age group in 2012/13 drowning reduced by 46% on the 2011/12 and is a 40% decline on the ten year average, possibly reflecting the parents educated in aquatic skills 20 years ago passing on the folklore to their children.

Assisting this result is the pervasive nature of:

  • Swimming and aquatic recreation in everyday life
  • Public education campaigns
  • Water and personal safety instruction
  • Current education systems inclusion of learn to swim and water safety programs
  • Pool fencing legislation in states and barrier safety standards.

Decreasing Childhood Drownings

The prime factors in decreasing childhood drowning, the majority of which occur in swimming pools are to:

  • Constantly supervise children at all times. Remember that flotation devices are no substitute for constant supervision
  • Maintain fences and physical barriers to water, compliant to Australian Standards
  • Maintain gate security – keep the lock operable and self-closing
  • Progressively teach water familiarisation, swimming and water safety skills from birth
  • Learn resuscitation skills

“Child drowning in Queensland residential swimming pools accounts for one-quarter of paediatric injury deaths and are the most common cause of traumatic death for children aged under 5 years.” “For every toddler drowning there are approximately 14 taken to a hospital emergency department”

Of note is the statistics of drowning in this young age group with containers of water. Water left in containers such as baths and ponds should be emptied out or covered to stop access.

“In Australia, the number one cause of preventable death in children under the age of five is drowning”

These two statements are powerful arguments for teaching personal water safety to preschool children, toddlers and infants.

If Swim Australia Teaches are going to provide water familiarisation, swimming and water safety tuition to infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school age children, then the parents must also be educated as they are the key to reducing drowning in early childhood.

To put it succinctly, renowned Australian swimming and water safety Teacher and former Olympic coach Laurie Lawrence promotes “Kids Alive - do the Five”.

Kids Alive, do the five,

Fence the pool, shut the gate,

Teach your kids to swim,

It’s great!

Supervise, watch your mate –

And learn how to resuscitate.

Decreasing Childhood Drownings

Drowning by Gender

Does this mean that males go swimming four times more often than females? No, it is probably more of an indication of the intrinsic risk-taking mentality of many males.

From a Teacher’s viewpoint - watch the boys in your lessons. They are more likely to over-estimate their ability and should be taught what the limitations of their capabilities are. Males tend to drown in the ocean and estuary areas, although they appear strongly represented statistically in drowning accidents involving inland waters and whilst engaged in activities like boating, fishing and SCUBA diving.

“Most females who drowned were under 5 years or over fifty four. Females were most likely to drown in private swimming pools and bathtubs and were far less likely to drown in the ocean”

Drowning by Location

Rivers, lakes, dams and creeks are the locations where most drowning occurs. Anecdotal evidence suggests that metropolitan inhabitants are at greater risk in rural areas leading to speculation that people (three out of four being males) are at greater risk when they are away from familiar situations as they are less aware of what the dangers are.

There are a disproportionate number of tourists and indigenous people drowning. Pool lessons should not be the only form of aquatic education. We must teach learners that environments vary from location to location. Ask locals about local knowledge and historical precedents for aquatic environs before you swim.

A further illustration of this is the 163 international tourists who died by drowning, recorded in Australia between 2002 and 2014. Overseas tourists were highly represented in ocean related drowning and drowning while snorkelling or diving.

One estimate is that alcohol is a contributing factor in 21% of all drowning cases and possibly up to 50% in drowning cases where the victim was engaged in a recreational activity.

Drowning by Activity

As indicated in the graph below, many who drown did not expect to enter the water and some were clothed.

Drowning Overseas

Extracts from the USA (http://www.emedicinehealth.com/drowning/article_em.htm) Compare it to what you have read about Australia and you can see the trend in OECD countries is similar.

  • Drowning claims nearly 8,000 lives annually. It is the fourth leading cause of accidental death in the United States. For children, it is the second leading cause of accidental death for school-age children and the number one cause for preschoolers
  • Two-thirds of drownings happen in the summer months: 40% occur on Saturday and Sunday. Some 90% occur in fresh water even in states with large coastal regions. More than half of these cases occur in home swimming pools
  • Although drowning equally affects both sexes, males have a rate 3 times higher than females because of increased reckless behaviour and use of alcohol
  • Children less than age 1 year tend to drown in bathtubs and buckets because they are not coordinated enough to get out by themselves when they fall in. Older children age 1-4 drown in swimming pools, while those age 5-14 years tend to drown in lakes, ponds, rivers, and oceans. The adolescents and adults tend to drown because of impaired swimming ability from alcohol or illicit drug use
  • States with the highest drowning rate are Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oregon, and Florida

Situational General Knowledge

If every person who went swimming had the ability to correctly critique an environment and the personal water safety skills to stay safe, fewer people would drown.

Swim Australia Teachers will enhance student’s ability to remain safe by educating Students to be safe in all aquatic environments encountered, knowledge of the likely dangers and safety rules of various aquatic environments (both locally and distant).

For all locations, students should know how to –

  • Stay calm and think before acting
  • Always swim with a buddy
  • Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return
  • Always wait after a meal before entering the water
  • Check for safety signs in the area and obey them
  • Seek local knowledge. Ask someone who knows the area if in their opinion, it is safe to swim?
  • Always observe the environment for 5 - 10 minutes before entering
  • Enter cautiously and check the depth
  • Watch for changes in the weather and environment
  • Swim when wearing clothes including shoes
  • Judge the survival value of swimming with or removing clothing
  • Recover should they fall in unexpectedly
  • Judge the best and safest form of rescues. E.g. –whether to perform a rescue or go for assistance.
  • Type of rescue - Reach Throw, Wade, Row, Swim, Tow

Anecdotal evidence suggests that Students who are exposed to a range of conditions that simulate expected scenarios will respond much better in “real life”. Prior experience is a powerful survival tool!

Inland Waterways

Situations: rivers, lakes, dams, creeks, lagoons, billabongs

Inland Waterways

Environment:

  • Flat surface, calm appearance, sometimes brown or green colour
  • Depth unknown
  • Underlying obstructions
  • Pollution, water quality, algal blooms and rubbish can pose threats
  • A concentration of conflicting users can create additional risks
  • Seasonal variations, currents, drought, flood and erosion can alter the environment
  • Dangers from a variety of natural and introduced animals
  • Variable currents

At risk profile:

  • Metropolitan people in rural locations, people in unfamiliar situations, many in boating situations
  • In rural and remote farm locations, generally young males with a lack of fenced safe play area, left unsupervised whilst the parent/ carer performed work tasks. Young child often followed a pet or animal to the water source. Steep slopes on the dam caused child to slip in. Majority were residents of the farm on which the fatality occurred.

Stay safe actions:

  • Throw a twig to see what the current is like
  • Check for submerged objects
  • Do not stand near overhanging edges
  • Be careful of changes in conditions e.g. heavy rain may lead to flash flooding
  • Winds may case wave action especially in large bodies of water
  • Reeds, weeds, soft silt deposits
  • Thermoclines – temperature differences between the surface and underlying water causing cramp or body shock
  • Water sources on farms are often impractical to fence. Farmers should eliminate any unnecessary water sources. Securely cover and/or fence where this is practical
  • Create a securely fenced safe play area such as a house yard where a child can play
  • Be aware of dangerous animals
  • If shooting or fishing and wearing waders ensure you stay in shallows and have quick release buckles
  • Swim away from other users, especially those in motorised pursuits

Teacher implications: Teachers should teach students to:

  • Know potential botanical, fauna and environmental hazards
  • Check for currents, depth and submerged objects
  • Understand the use of wade in, step in and slide in entries
  • Swim with and without goggles and swim in unclear water (or swim with blacked out goggles to mimic this)
  • Use appropriate search patterns for the situation
  • Understand that temperature variations can occur between the surface and underneath
  • Have respect for other users
  • Be aware that boat safety is as important in “fresh water” situations
  • Use the correct Personal Floatation Device for the activity

Around the Home

Situations:

  • Swimming pools (in ground, above ground and collapsible)
  • Bathtubs
  • Garden ponds
  • Hot tubs, spas, Jacuzzis
  • Nappy buckets, pet bowls, fish tanks
  • Toilets and washing machines
  • Water tanks

Around The Home

Environment:

  • A container holding water – usually clear though not always clean
  • Depth is known, no currents present
  • May have objects that motivate the victim to want to go to the water source
  • Lacking an effective physical barrier
  • Adult supervision is lacking

At risk profile:

  • Primarily 0-5 year olds with the peak age 1-2 years of age. Surprisingly many drowning occurrences are mid week and between 6 pm and 9 pm leading to speculation that many instances occur when both parents are present and supervision is low due to this dichotomy of responsibility. Also surprising is the relatively even spread of drowning incidents across all months of the year
  • In swimming pools, a typical victim is a child aged less than 5 years, unsupervised by a carer, the pool is not fenced or inadequately fenced, (i.e. broken gate lock, fence broken or gate propped open) objects were readily available to assist the child to climb over the fence. Tempting objects may also be present in the pool area
  • In bathtubs the propensity is for the victim to be 2 years of age or younger, left in the care of siblings a couple of years older and left “unattended” for a short time (i.e. 2 -15 minutes) whilst the carer completed housework or answered the phone

Stay safe actions:

  • Continually maintain effective physical barriers to all water sources including removing climbing “possibilities” from all water sources
  • Supervise children at all times. Do not rely on other children to take on an adult’s supervision role or rely on water safety aids. Know which adult is responsible for supervision – do not assume the other partner is
  • Learn CPR
  • Remove all “objects of desire” that may motivate a child to go to water sources
  • If possible, empty all containers of water immediately after use
  • Replace lids or place covers over water sources where possible
  • Do not answer the phone when supervising children, or alternately transfer supervision to another adult

Teacher implications: Teachers should:

  • Teach children swimming and personal water safety as one part of the overall “not drown” plan
  • Educate parents, carers and the community as well as students of the “make safe” strategies e.g. via newsletters, websites, community presentations
  • Ensure all children (students or siblings) in learning environments are fully supervised
  • Promote the acquisition of water familiarisation, buoyancy and mobility skills in younger “at risk” age groups
  • Make sure aquatic facilities have adequate physical barriers maintained. Students should know to always shut the pool gate
  • Reinforce the pool safety rules within lessons. E.g. only walk around the pool; only dive in deep water away from other people; play away from the pool edge; use unbreakable containers around the pool, put toys and swim aids away
  • Learn CPR and have a CPR chart on the pool fence. Encourage others to do the same

Coastline and Ocean

Situations:

  • Blue water and coastline including cliffs
  • Surf and still water beaches
  • Harbours, estuaries and canals

Oceans and CoastlineEnvironment:

  • Tidal influence alters the environment constantly
  • Weather influence can dramatically change conditions
  • Conflicts with and between transport, sport, leisure and commercial activities in the same locality
  • Environment is unpredictable
  • Depths, current, temperature and choppiness vary

At risk profile:

Surf/Beach - Several common factors attribute to the need for surf beach rescues:

  • The bather is normally up to 30 years of age
  • Many live more than 50 kilometres away from the coast, are not using flotation devices, could not swim
  • Nearly all overseas tourists rescued were from rips outside the patrol (flagged) area and many could not swim

Rips - A rip is a current running out to sea. Common signs are:

  • Murky brown water from sand stirred up
  • Foam on the surface extending beyond the break
  • A gap along the wave break line
  • Ripple effect on the water surface
  • Seems an inviting area to swim in
  • Darker colour water indicating deeper water

Undertows - An undertow is a current running out underneath water coming into shore usually on an outgoing tide. Common signs are:

  • Waves approaching parallel to the beach
  • Waves forming a tube as they break and then dumping down
  • A strong current dragging back from the beach, eroding sand
  • A strong swirling eddy behind breaking waves

Ocean - Common factors in many boat related drowning actions are:

  • Boat capsizes
  • Boat occupants fall unexpectedly into the water
  • Alcohol use
  • Victims not wearing a life jacket, male, usually 20 years or older

Fishing - Shore based fishing victims are usually:

  • Rock fishing and swept from the rocks by waves
  • Rarely wearing a flotation device, usually male and usually over 25 years of age
  • Very high proportion of Vietnamese/ Thai and other South East Asian ethnic groups

Snorkel and SCUBA Diving statistics are:

  • Often overseas tourists
  • Usually male if a snorkel victim
  • Infrequently using a buddy system or have an inexperienced buddy
  • Unfit with no flippers
  • In hypoxic situations, usually young, fit experienced divers often spear fishing

Stay safe actions:

Surf/Beach   

Find the flags and swim between them if it is safe to do so:

  • Red and Yellow flag with feathers – marker of safe swimming area
  • Red and Black chequer flag - board riding boundary area
  • Red flag – Dangerous conditions - no swimming
  • Red and White chequer flag – Emergency Evacuation/Shark
  • Yellow flag – Caution!
  • Look for safety signs
  • Ask lifesavers for advice
  • Swim with a friend
  • If you need assistance, float on your back and raise your arm

NEVER

  • Swim at unpatrolled beaches
  • Swim at night
  • Swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Run and dive into water unless undertaking a surf rescue or in a supervised beach competition in a known depth and area

Teacher implications: Because the ocean has such a diverse range of ever changing conditions, Teachers should ensure Students experience as many potential scenarios as possible and be provided with folklore and safety rules for a variety of situations as previously detailed. As a broad guide

Students should know how to:

  • Handle rough water and waves
  • Get into and out of Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs)
  • Stay together as a group if in the water
  • Dive under waves
  • Lie flat on the back and raise arm if in danger
  • Identify safe swimming areas. E.g. swim between the red and yellow flags
  • Identify currents, tide changes, rips and undertows
  • Seek training when using specialized powered or non powered craft
  • Swim with clothes on and remove clothing in the water
  • Conserve energy and body heat for an extended length of time in the water

 

Other Situations

Situations:   Silo’s, wells, post and pot holes, sewerage tankers, meat offal and beer vats, would be rescuers, water slides and theme park rides.

(Not listed in the statistics are envenomations, drugs and alcohol abuse, suicide, car and transport accident victims where water immersion may be a contributing factor to a fatality.)

other Situations

Environment: Basically, anywhere where water or a fluid is deep enough to immerse a person’s face creates a threat of drowning.

At risk profile: Overall, the 0 to 5 year age group and those over 55 years of age are most at risk of drowning with males 4 times more at risk. New sports and activities with a lower knowledge baseline have a greater risk until the folklore develops into formalized training and accreditation.

Stay safe actions: The following actions generally apply to all situations:

  • Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back
  • Go with someone else
  • Maintain physical barriers to water sources or create safe areas away from water
  • Seek local knowledge and know the potential dangers
  • Get training and qualifications for the activity if these are available
  • Know the nearest emergency services and how to contact them
  • Know you own personal limitations
  • Know how to respond when in a current, rough water, muddy water
  • Know basic rescue techniques, search patterns, how to fall in and recover

Personal Survival

People will generally show greater respect when they know the potential dangers of an aquatic environment. 

Students exposed in a controlled manner to conditions they are unfamiliar with, but likely to encounter in real life situations, are more likely to display appropriate responses when facing an actual life threatening situation.

Teachers must have skills and strategies to ensure learners acquire the ability to respond to challenges from a variety of aquatic environs. Here are some suggestions to simulate “other than pool” situations.

Simulated Water Conditions

WavesWaves – Form 2 lines of students facing each other about 3 metres apart. Each student should firmly hold a kick board. Students push the kick boards up and down creating choppy water whilst one Student attempts to swim up the middle of the two lines. By undertaking this activity in shallow water, Students may stand if they experience difficulty breathing.

Other options are to line Students up along the side of the pool in waist deep water. Have them as a group hold on to the side and all move into the wall and out again on a 3 second cycle. Alternately, have Students as a group run in one direction and then reverse direction several times. Either method will create choppy, wavy conditions. Be warned that it may also deplete your pool of water and is less effective with anti-turbulent lane ropes or a wet deck.

Currents - Same as the previous wave challenge, but with the Students, all paddling their hands in the same direction and the swimming Student trying to make headway against the current created.

Muddy water - Find a pair of old goggles. Cover the inside with black paint or permanent texture pen so that the Student cannot see through. Then place an object on the floor of the pool and have the Student “search for it”. Alternately play “Marco Polo” - one swimmer calls out “Marco” and the others respond with “Polo”. The object is to tag another swimmer.

Whirlpools - Have Students running around in a circle and then reverse direction.

Reeds and Kelp

Reeds and Kelp - Obtain a piece of black plastic sheeting about 10 metres long and 2.5 m wide. Punch holes in a grid pattern approximately every 30 centimetres. Every 2.5 metres shred a circle section by cutting in strips from the centre outwards, but leaving the strips attached on the outer circle. Float the sheet between two lanes ropes. 

Under close supervision, one at a time, allow swimmers to take a breath and swim underwater. When surfacing, swimmers should use their hands to gently push aside the “reed strands” take a breath then gently submerge again and swim on. The capacity of each swimmer can be taken into account by varying the distance between each surfacing.

Hypothermia and Hyperthermia

If a person is going to be in the water for an extended period of time, hyperthermia or hypothermia can become an issue.

What is the difference? Hyperthermia is a condition occurring when the body retains excessive heat, often commonly referred to as heat stroke or sunstroke. It is usually preceded by heat exhaustion, characterised by general lethargy, dehydration, increase heat of the body extremities and headaches. A mild form of this can occur in very warm water such as an indoor heated pool where a swimmer is doing vigorous exercise. A more moderate form of hypothermia can occur on very hot summer days in an outdoor venue where water conditions can become extremely hot and a swimmer is doing vigorous exercise The condition is further exacerbated by a lack of rehydration. Long-term immersion in tropical sea areas will also induce the condition. The person should be removed from the water, and slowly cooled and rehydrated if possible. Extreme cases will require immediate hospitalisation.

Hypothermia is the lowering of the core body temperature. In a swimming sense, this is usually due to immersion in cold water for an extended time, though the colder the water, the shorter the period required for onset of symptoms.

A reduction in only two degrees of the body’s core temperature is enough to cause:

  • mild to severe shivering
  • the hands to become numb
  • goose-bumps
  • reduction in muscle function e.g. cannot get the thumb to touch the little finger

A two to four degree reduction in body temperature usually results in:

  • violent shivering
  • difficulty in talking
  • unfocused thinking
  • irrational behaviour
  • decreased pulse and respiration
  • lips, ears, toes and fingers turning blue

A temperature loss of more than four degrees usually results in:

  • shivering stopping
  • amnesia
  • inability to use limbs
  • incoherent and irrational behaviour
  • metabolism slowing leading to organ failure and then death

To treat hypothermia it is important to understand that rapid heating will actually make the condition worse by causing cold blood from the limbs to rush back to the body core.

Treatment should consist of:

  • removal from the water
  • drying the person, especially the head
  • shelter from the elements
  • wrap in warm blankets and share body heat (a hypothermic person is not capable of reheating oneself. Do not rub the person)
  • drink warm (not hot) sweet drinks
  • hospitalization for severe hypothermic patients

Obviously, prevention is the best option. A person in cold water can do the following to delay the onset of symptoms:

  • wear a lifejacket to save energy losses
  • individually go into the Heat Escape Lessening Position (HELP) that is similar to a foetal tuck position. By having the arms and legs tucked in close to the body, the body surface area is reduced and thus heat losses will decrease. Students in swimming lessons conducted in cold water will often assume this position whilst stationary
  • as a group go into a Huddle. This is when a group of people gather as close as possible to share heat. A sideline benefit is the psychological benefit of group support
  • keep the head out of the water and dry if possible or wear a beanie or cap to reduce heat loses. In a swimming lesson situation, wearing bathing caps will provide some benefit

Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)

PFDs are an essential item for increasing long-term survival in the water.

All PFDs should be:

  • regularly checked to ensure belts, straps, buckles and webbing are useable
  • rinsed in fresh water and thoroughly dried out of sunlight after use
  • of the correct size for the user

There are three basic types of PFDs under the Australian standards.

A Type One PFD is designed:

  • to keep the wearer in a face up position
  • to if necessary roll an unconscious person from a face down to a face up position
  • in either bright red, orange or yellow colour

The Type One PFD is commonly referred to as a “lifejacket” and is recognisable by the collar, reflective tape and often has a torch, whistle or sometimes an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) attached. Some Type One jackets are filled with a solid buoyant material (such as on passenger boats) whilst others will self inflate or alternately have an inflating tube for the wearer to manually inflate (such as on aircraft).

Type Two and Type Three PFDs are designed:

  • for use in water sports such as kayaking, jet skiing, kite boarding etc
  • to be less buoyant than a Type One PFD
  • with larger arm holes and a higher waist to allow a range of movement

Type Two must also be a bright red, orange or yellow colour whilst Type Three can be any colour.

Swim Australia Teachers should provide opportunities for students to use PFDs in the water.

The following skills are important:

  • how to get into and out of a PFD on land, in a boat, and in the water
  • knowing what are the best strokes to use when wearing a PFD
  • how to enter and exit the water in a range of situations including:
  • entering from a height holding the jacket down with the hands so the jacket does not ride up the body, potentially damaging the neck or causing injury due to the PFD crutch strap
  • climbing up rocks, steep banks, into or out a boat or onto or off a surfboard
  • how to stay balanced whilst wearing a PFD in a HELP or huddle position

PFDs

Treading Water

Treading water is also a skill often used in a variety of rescue and personal survival situations. E.g., the skill could be used to:

  • support a patient whilst Expired Air Resuscitation is performed in the water
  • to remain stationary whilst checking your surroundings
  • whilst waiting for a boat to circle and pick up
  • to raise yourself out of the water to signal for help

Treading water is a highly refined skill that advanced swimmers can usually master as it requires refined sculling techniques and an alternating Breaststroke kick (egg beater kick) so generally a reasonable level of Breaststroke ability is a prerequisite. To tread water, the swimmer positions their body in an upright position with the head out of the water. Learners can commence learning a basic treading water skill by walking in water combined with a dog paddle type action with a semi-vertical body position.

Once treading water has developed to a reasonable level of proficiency, moving and sculling skills such as sculling forwards or backwards, on the front or back, with the hands by the side or extended above the head can be attempted.

This then develops the skills required to learn competitive stroke turns (information to teach this is provided in the ASCTA’s Swim Australia™Teacher of Competitive Swimming) and defence and reverse positions for rescues discussed in the Safety and Health unit of study for this course.

To scull, commence with both hands together in front about half way to full stretch. The hands are turned outwards at 30 - 45 degrees angle and the elbows are bent between 70 and 110 degrees. The hands and arms then move apart until the hands are just wider than shoulder width apart. The angle of the hands is then changed to face inwards at about 30 - 45 degrees. The hands and arms then move towards each other.

Repeat this together and apart motion with the hands whilst the legs do an alternate Breaststroke kick. One leg kicks down and around whilst the other leg recovers upwards. As this skill is not taught until the swimmer has a good grasp of basic skills, it should only take a few simple teaching steps to master the skill. Here is a suggested sequence:

The Kick

Teach your Student to:

  • in water of shoulder depth, hold two kickboards – one under each arm
  • lift the feet off the floor of the pool and support the body in an upright position with the two kick boards or floatation devices
  • commence doing a Breaststroke kick
  • while still doing a Breaststroke kick, rock from side to side
  • continue this action and change the kick to an alternating kick (most swimmers will automatically change from a double kick to an alternating kick whilst rocking from side to side without instruction)
  • stop rocking and continue the alternating kick (called egg beater kick)
  • discard one kick board, hold the remaining kick board with two hands and continue to eggbeater kick
  • once the swimmer can feel that their kick is strong enough to support their body without the board, they may discard the remaining kick boar
  • if further challenges are required, try just kicking with hands out of the water. Harder still? Try the arms fully out of the water and the body being supported by the leg kick only

IMPORTANT NOTES

Treading water can be practised with an eggbeater kick (the most efficient way), Breaststroke kick action, a Freestyle type flutter kick, a scissor kick or a cycling action as young learners do in the early stages. Teachers of Swimming and Water Safety should allow Students to experiment and establish which is the most effective method for them.

The Arms

Teach your swimmer to:

  • in water of shoulder depth, swim Breaststroke on the spot
  • rock from side to side and change the kick to an alternating egg beater kick
  • modify the hand and arm movement to a together and apart action in the same horizontal plan
  • cease kicking and just support the body with the hand and arm action
  • try spinning or vertically rotating the body around by pushing with the palms of the hands more one direction and less the other as the hands move in and out. Try this with and without kicking
  • try reversing the direction of the body rotation

Currents

Currents can occur in a range of locations. In beach situations, rips are currents moving perpendicular to (away from) the beach and gutters have currents that are travelling parallel to the shore. Rivers and creeks can have flowing currents and flooding, whilst in estuaries and harbours there are tidal currents and eddies. Specific situations such as around bridge pylons, storm water drain openings etc may create whirlpools, suction and other peculiar currents.

Currents by themselves do not drown people, but what may is:

  • the turbulence created by the current
  • the panic caused to the swimmer in difficulty
  • the place the current takes the swimmer to (pinning against rocks, down a drain or into large waves)
  • the struggle fighting against the current

Generally, it is recommended that a swimmer swim diagonally across a current or “go with the flow”. A current flows faster on the outside of a bend as the water has a further distance to travel. As a current moves into deeper water it will usually dissipate.

Prevention is the best course of action. Thoroughly check out any potential swimming area for currents and hazards before entering the water.

Currents

Surface Dives

Surface Diving is a necessary skill for swimmers to learn so that they may:

  • go underwater to do searches
  • duck under oncoming waves
  • swim under objects or underwater
  • evade oncoming dangers such as boats
  • retrieve a fallen person or object
  • snorkel

There are two forms of surface dives: Head First & Feet First

A Head First is often referred to as a “duck dive” because it mimics the action of a duck going under water head first. From a forward facing or treading water position, the action requires the swimmer to rapidly bend or pike at the waist and then tuck the knees into the beginning of a somersault. As the swimmer’s body starts to somersault over assisted by the arms sculling and is a quarter of the way through the rotation, the swimmer straightens out the legs vertically above the body. The weight of the legs in the air, combined with the body being in a vertical streamlined position with the hands in front drives the body downwards. This surface dive is used in clear water where the swimmer can see where they are going head first.

The Feet First surface dive commences with the swimmer in a vertical position with the head out of the water, either floating or treading water. The swimmer uses the arms and legs to lift their body as high as possible. At the highest point out of the water, the swimmer then reverses the palms of the hands so they face up and sculls upwards either in one large sweeping action or a series of smaller upward sculls. The result of gravity pulling the body downwards combined with the sculling action results in the body going under feet first. This method is used where the water is unclear or the environment floor unknown. It is better in this instance to risk damaging the feet instead of the head!

With either surface dive, once the swimmer is underwater, they can then go into a horizontal position to swim or search. Surface dives can also be adapted by bending less at the waist so it is a gentle dip under the water or commencing in a more horizontal position so that it becomes more of a “bob down” such as when swimming through waves or when gaining a great depth is less important.

Searching

There are three commonly used search patterns. Each suits different conditions. In each case, it is important for searchers to:

·    Try and observe, or determine from bystanders where the object to be searched for, submerged

·    Gauge some landmarks which can act as search reference points

·    Remember that a current may move an object until it comes into contact with the bottom. Once in contact, the object may snag or continue to bump along

·    Be cognisant that when they surface from searching a sector they should rise vertically, back-peddle a small way then submerge vertically back down. This ensures the searcher doesn’t swim over the object

Zigzag. Used by one or two people in a current. Commencing upstream of where the object had submerged, gradually move downstream zigzagging diagonally across the current using the reference points to ensure the searcher covers the area completely.

Circular. When there is little or no current such as in a dam, commence where it was estimated the object submerged and move around in a circular pattern gradually expanding the circle each time.

Note: Both circular and ZigZag search patterns should be undertaken with a “spotter” or “buddy” present to help provide direction and maintain safety.

Emu Parade (Straight Line). A well-organised search with more people is more likely to succeed. Line searchers up side by side and do a sweep across an area. Move the line downstream, remembering to overlap the coverage and then repeat. The search organiser can decrease the risk of dangerous physical contact with other searchers by staggering the start or sending off every second searcher in a wave then intermediary searchers in a second wave.

Survival Strokes

There are three defined survival strokes. They are Breaststroke, Survival Backstroke and Sidestroke.

All survival strokes have an underwater arm recovery which reduces the energy expended but makes each a slow stroke when compared with those strokes having an over the water arm recovery.

Having a lower energy usage potentially increases the survival time in the water. All strokes may be swum with the head out of the water, though this lowers the legs and reduces speed via increased resistance. Energy usage thus will increase in this situation.

Breaststroke is covered in depth in the Swimming Strokes chapter. Breaststroke used for searching and underwater swimming is dealt with in this chapter as is Sidestroke and Survival Backstroke (also referred to sometimes as Lifesaving Backstroke) these last two strokes being useful for towing patients in rescues.

Underwater Breaststroke

If swum without breathing and with the head down and a wide slow stroke, Breaststroke can be used for underwater searching or swimming a distance underwater such as may be required if escaping from a burning boat. The arm stroke is usually longer with the arms pulling and pushing to the legs and the kick commencing as the arms recover along the torso.

For Underwater Breaststroke where attaining a distance is important:

·   the body is parallel to the surface of the water

·   the arms are pushed forcefully down towards the feet similar to a Butterfly arm stroke

·   then a short glide occurs followed by a forceful kick with the propulsive part of the kick occurring after the arms have passed the chin and are in the forward phase of their recovery

Searching

Search Pattern Breaststroke requires a different approach with coverage by the feel of the hands being the most important consideration:

·   the arms sweep wide

·   the hands feel for the desired object

·   the body tends to be more “head down and butt up!”

·   the kick is relatively non propulsive and is mainly used to assist the searcher to remain down under the water

Survival Backstroke


Survival Backstroke is also referred to as Lifesaving Backstroke, though technically the two styles vary. The lifesaving style is used competitively in lifesaving competitions and requires the swimmer to keep their hands under the water at all times, though parts of the arms may recover out of the water. Another feature is the arm stroke may be lengthened to a full stretch above the head.

When used in rescues, the stroke can be modified to a Backstroke one arm stroke (the other arm being used to tow the patient) with a Breaststroke kick. The altered arm stroke of Lifesaving Backstroke means higher energy usage than Survival Backstroke.

In survival mode, the arm stroke recovery remains underwater and is shortened to conserve energy.

The stroke is basically Breaststroke swum on the back. The timing is different though, with the arms and legs both catching the water at the same time and propelling the body forward at the same time.

This makes the stroke “jerky”. Swimmers must ensure the arm and leg recovery is slow, or the result is a stop or even backward direction of the body.

The stroke enhances the swimmers skills for Breaststroke by encouraging a slow recovery and fast propulsive phase with both arms and legs. Also modified is the leg action so that less bend is exhibited in the hip area and more kick is undertaken by the knees and lower legs.

The body should be kept up on the surface, with the arms and legs under the water. The kick is a classic Breaststroke kick, whilst the arms are drawn up along the body to under the arm pit then out to level with the shoulders unless using the method where the arms are extended beyond the head, then press back towards the feet in a fast forceful motion as the legs kick forcefully. This mass of propulsion pushes the body forward rapidly. The swimmer then glides for an extended pause, taking advantage of the momentum generated. As the body slows, recovery of the arms and then the legs commences so that the arms and legs arrive at the point of commencing propulsion at the same time. Breathing in on the recovery of the arms and legs and out on the propulsive phase of the stroke will assist in maintaining a constant buoyancy level

The swimmer usually has a range of skills including Freestyle and Backstroke to a reasonable standard and a good comprehension of Breaststroke prior to their introduction to Survival or Life Saving Backstroke. For this reason, the number of steps required by a swimmer to gain this new skill is relatively small.

A suggested teaching sequence:

· holding a kickboard to the chest, Breaststroke Kick on the back

· holding the kickboard down over the knees, Breaststroke kick on the back. Knees can be drawn to either side of the kickboard but should not raise out of the water any more than necessary

· with hands by the side, Breaststroke kick on the back

· with hands on the chest, Breaststroke kick on the back

· with hands behind the head, Breaststroke kick on the back

· with hands extended at full reach above the head, Breaststroke kick on the back

· swim Survival Backstroke, making sure that there is variation in speed between the propulsive phase and the recovery phase

Common faults expected from the description of the skill progression are:

· a low body position increasing resistance, caused by raised knees or head

· lack of variation in the speed of the arms and legs causing  “water into the nose” each stroke and a stop start appearance in the swimmer’s movement through the water

·a wide arm or an “elbows sticking out” recovery increasing frontal resistance, exacerbating the stop/start jerkiness and slowing forward velocity

Note: The arm action should mimic the second half of underwater pathway of Backstroke with a 90 degree elbow bend when the hands are adjacent to the shoulders and the hands pushing down towards the feet, the only difference being there is no body roll or rotation in this stroke.

Side Stroke


 

Sidestroke is primarily used as a survival stroke because of the energy-saving underwater arm recovery and for rescue work because of the ability of the swimmer to look forwards and back, and can be swum proficiently with one arm, allowing the other arm to tow a person in difficulty. The face being clear of the water also enables verbal communication with the person in difficulty.

In lifesaving competition, the hands must be kept under the water during the entire stroke though elbows sometimes break the surface of the water.

The body is on the side at all times. The side of the head resting in the water enables the body to remain close to the surface. The scissor kick has the legs moving in a horizontal plan, allowing propulsion without fear of kicking a towed person.

The timing of the stroke can be likened to a concertina effect, where the hands and feet are slowly drawn into a tuck position at the same time, then explosively circle and straighten. At the end of each kick and arm stretch there is a long glide on the side, taking advantage of the momentum gained from this forceful propulsive movement.

As Sidestroke is usually the last stroke to be taught. Students should attain a level of proficiency within a small number of lessons due to their already proficient skill levels in other strokes. The stroke should initially be taught using both arms and then be taught utilising only the lower leading arm with a kick as an introduction to towing skills used for rescues. For similar reasons to Survival Backstroke, the breathe in is taken whilst the lower arm and legs recover and the breathe out occurs on the propulsive phase of the stroke.

Often the swimmer will attempt the stroke with the side of the head raised out of the water. This causes the legs to drop, increasing frontal resistance, slows forward speed and increases energy usage. Another cause of legs dropping is the swimmer using a Breaststroke kick instead of a scissor kick. The leg nearer to the surface is likely to lift out of the water or cause the hips to drop as the foot kicks. When Sidestroke is used for a rescue tow, the patient is more likely to be kicked if a Breaststroke kick is used because of the upward pathway taken by the foot closest to the water surface.

Should the body not be kept in a buoyant, “parallel to the surface” position, the number of strokes for the distance swum is likely to increase and energy efficiency decrease, decreasing the usefulness of the stroke for survival and towing.

To teach the stroke, commence with Students placing their lower hand on the wall of the pool with their upper arm holding a kickboard and their body floating on the side. Draw both knees up, bending the legs as this occurs. Open the legs, with the top leg stepping forwards and the lower leg around behind, scissor kick and bring the legs and feet forcibly together. The leg closer to the surface circles around like a “horse pawing the ground with its front leg”, whilst the back leg “kicks a soccer ball”.

Here is a suggested teaching sequence:

        1. on land, pretend you are stretching a rubber band and one end is stretched above the head while the other end is stretched towards the feet let the band. Bring hand back together as if the band was recoiling. And repeat

        2. standing about 30 centimetres away, facing the wall, move the arms in a Breaststroke action with the arms (as they leave the chest) moving apart in opposite directions.

        3. next, glide in a side position with the lower arm extended out in front and the upper arm extended over the hips. Ensure the side of the head is resting on the surface and allow the body to be supported by the water

        4. try the same glide as previous, holding on to two kickboards, one in each hand and kick with a slow recovery and a fast propulsive phase.

        5. glide on the side as in step 3 and use arms

        6. glide on the side as in step 3 and use arms and legs

        7. swim sidestroke and tow a kickboard trying to keep the kickboard in the slipstream with towing arm (upper arm) extended over the hips

        8. swim sidestroke using legs and the lower arm only

        9. sidestroke and tow a kickboard with a patient holding on to the kickboard

        10. tow a patient in a non-contact tow (i.e. a pole, stick, item of clothing is held by both rescuer and patient)

        11. tow a patient without any flotation or reaching aids using a variety of contact points such as hair, chin, clothing, wrist, armpit, cross-chest, on hip carry etc to determine which is best and easiest for individual rescuers

        12. try similar series of holds using a Lifesaving Backstroke style to replace Sidestroke

Rescues

The number of would be rescuers who drown is of concern. Lifesavers and lifeguards are fit, trained people prepared to respond in a situation known to them.

In “unpatrolled” areas, the most likely rescuer is a relative or close friend placing himself or herself in what may be an unfamiliar situation, with dubious fitness and a likely lack of preparation and aids to assist.

Before commencing any in-water rescue technique, a rescuer’s personal abilities, safety and survival and the availability of aids to the rescue must be seriously considered.

There is a general expectation from clients that Swim Australia Teachers have the ability to effect a rescue in the location in which they are instructing – should it be necessary.

As a Swim Australia Teacher, you should know the information in this section for your own benefit and in order to teach Students some basic rescue skills.

You should also consider undertaking a life saving course such as a Bronze rescue award or lifeguard award to further your skills knowledge. A CPR or First Aid qualification may also be a requirement of employment as a Swim Australia Teacher in some instances. Refer to local first aid and life saving organisations in your area for more information.

The Four "A's"

The four “A”s of a successful rescue are

      Awareness

      Assessment

      Action

      Aftercare

Awareness, Prevention and Early Intervention

The fact that a situation is about to happen or is happening. Prevention or early intervention is always better than responding to a situation after it has happened. E.g., a young child is crawling with their hands (”spider walking” or “monkey walking”) along the edge of the pool towards the deep end.

If you intervene now and turn the child back to the shallow end or remove them from the water you have “effected a rescue” by your awareness of the potential. Allow the situation to continue and the child reaches the deep end, arms tire and they “drop off” the side – we now have a non-swimmer rescue.

Allow the situation to continue and we may have an unconscious swimmer rescue with CPR required.

Assessment

Assessment of:

·         environment – currents, depth, visibility

·         aids – anything that may assist in buoyancy, reaching or getting to the person in difficulty

·         your skills and ability – remember that a number of would be rescuers also drown each year.

·         the type of patient – the characteristics of the patient will determine how they will respond and thus what method of rescue and what aids will be most appropriate

·      the numbers of patients – many rescues have more than one person in difficulty. Whom do you rescue first?

By being able to categorise the type of person who is in difficulty a rescuer can ascertain the best method of rescue. A rescuer can generally categorise people in difficulty into one of four categories:

Weak

Characteristics

·   probably facing the nearest point of safety

·   occasionally calling out for help

·   low body position in the water

Rescue Implications

·   capable of holding a flotation aid if within their reach

·   non contact or assisted rescue such as reach or throw if possible

Likely Response from patient

·   should respond to clear, precise instructions

·   may assist in the rescue

 

Injured

Characteristics

·   depending on injury - awkward position in the water

·   More preoccupied with injury than surroundings

Rescue Implications

·   identify injury and treat with due regard, especially if severe bleeding, spinal injury or impact injury

Likely Response from patient

·   Difficult to tow due to awkward position in the water

 

Non-Swimmer

Characteristics

·   low vertical position trying to “climb up” out of the water

·   may not be facing nearest point of safety

·   quiet – usually concerned for next breath

Rescue Implications

·   unaware of surroundings

·   contact rescue with a buoyant aid preferred

·   use buoyancy aids where possible

Likely Response from patient

·   will attempt to grab, climb onto rescuer 

·   very clingy

·   needs plenty of reassurance


Unconscious Person

Characteristics

·   generally floating face down on the surface for a time before submerging and inverting to face up

Rescue Implications

·   obtaining an open airway and recommencing breathing are first priority with consideration for the need to land - the person to perform CPR

·   potential of spinal injury is a secondary consideration to this

Likely Response from patient

·   no response

·   limp in the water

If all outside factors are equal, the question then arises – Whom to rescue first?

 

In land-based triage, it is usually recommended that the rescuer goes to the unconscious first and maintains airway, breathing and circulation but in an aquatic situation to do this would be at the detriment of some such as non-swimmers who will survive if rescued quickly or may drown if a response is delayed. Once a rescuer begins CPR they are acting as a manual life support system and should not stop.

In an aquatic situation, rescuers should firstly save those in the most danger with the best chance of survival.

What is the best type of rescue? The order of preference taking into account the speed of the rescue, the safety of the rescuer and the effectiveness is:

Reach             – as a reach rescue is usually only performed over a relatively short distance, the rescuer may “verbally reach” out to the person in difficulty using verbal communication and encourage them to certain actions e.g. “Put your head down and kick hard to me.” The alternative is to physically reach out with a semi-rigid or rigid object such as a stick, leaf scoop pole, or arm. In order not to be pulled in by the person in difficulty, rescuers should stay down low or lie down. Performing a “dry” rescue ensures the risk to the rescuer is low

Throw             – throwing a buoyant object, rope or similar. The rescuer stays on land or a reliable surface such as a large boat. Slightly less accurate than a reach but still a safe dry rescue

Wade              – maintaining contact with the ground – remember a strong current is dangerous when in shallow water. Now the rescuer is in the water the risk starts to increase. The rescuer should take the most effective aid available with them

Row                – using a small craft e.g. surf board, rescue board or air mattress. The ability of the rescuer to control the craft and the environmental conditions in which the craft is being used will impact upon the effectiveness. Getting into and out of craft and how to get the patient on board are skills that require some practise.

Swim with an aid – in the water utilising some form of small buoyant object to assist. Ideally the tow should be non-contact. This means using any items available – a stick, an item of clothing etc. to maintain a distance between the rescuer and the person in difficulty. The rescuer has to be able to ‘survive” water conditions which have placed another person in need of rescuing. The rescuer needs to seriously consider their own capabilities, possible entry and exit points and the need to enter the water before doing so

Tow                – totally unaided, relying on your own swimming ability to keep yourself safe and rescue a person in difficulty – quite often in adverse environmental conditions. The option of last resort should be a contact tow where the rescuer physically makes contact with the person in difficulty. This increases the risk of the patient endangering the rescuer by grabbing them and forcing them under water. Tow is usually with the unconscious person only

entry and exit points. The entry point may not be where to exit. Rescuers need to consider this in developing a plan of action e.g. You may use a rip to get to a person requiring assistance in the surf, but will need to swim parallel to the shoreline before returning to the beach away from the rip.

bystanders and outside assistance. Are you better to run 100 metres to get a surfboard to assist you in the rescue, or to notify a lifesaver of the person in difficulty? Getting outside help as soon as possible is advisable in all situations. If someone else is available, it may be better to send him or her instead!

The number to call in Australia is triple “0” (phone 000). GSM mobile phone users may make an emergency call using the international emergency call number of 112 This number is an international mobile phone standard and dialling 112 from anywhere in the world with GSM coverage will automatically transfer you to local emergency services. In Australia, 112 will connect with emergency services even if you are outside the coverage of your regular mobile phone network but within the coverage of another GSM operator. The phone will work even if the keyboard pad is locked.

 

Action

Once you have assessed all the available information and formulated a plan you must decisively put that plan into action. As you act, continue to reassess.

You may become aware of information that will alter your plan as you perform the rescue. Remember your own personal safety and survival is paramount.

Aftercare

As there is a potential for secondary drowning, all near drowning patients should seek medical attention.

Aftercare also includes:

Notifying:

  • employers of the situation
  • parents or relatives
  • medical authorities

Completing accident report forms where necessary for:

  • police
  • coroner
  • employers
  • hospital
  • insurers
  • venue owners

Seeking post trauma counselling where necessary

Reviewing the process to improve your actions in future situations

A Teaching Scenario

Teaching Scenario

The diagram shows a potential rescue situation. Look at the scenario and decide what you would do.

Considerations

There is usually more than one correct way for an effective rescue.

Awareness
– If a "What are the potential risks if I undertake this activity?" question had been asked prior to the activity, a Teacher may have placed a rope across the pool or been in the water themselves and thus prevented the situation even occurring.

General rules for a rescue:

·   let others know what you are doing and get outside help if at all possible

·   measure your own capabilities and skills against the environmental conditions. (else there may be a need to rescue two people – you and the patient)

·   if your patient is conscious, calm and reassure them frequently

·   where possible, use a non contact tow

·   if using a contact tow, utilise buoyancy/floatation/rescue aids if at all possible

·   try to keep the patient in your slipstream

Assessment – the accident has happened.

a. The Teacher accepts they are the one that has to respond. The Teacher must act "in loco parentis" I.e. as though they were the parent of each one of their Students.

·   "What would a prudent parent do in this situation?"
·   "What are my own capabilities?"

b. There is a weak swimmer and a non-swimmer requiring assistance.

·   "Whom do I rescue first?"
·   "What sort of rescue is most effective?"

c. What aids are available?

·   Remember – use your voice and "reach, throw, wade, row, swim, tow!".
·   "What is the best aid to use based upon the type of people in difficulty and the distance from safety?"
·   "Where are they situated?"

d. Remember to get outside help ASAP. Contact the canteen worker who should know from the instructions placed beside the phone what to do.

Action - Action is based upon the developed plan which should be continually reviewed.

Use a prearranged and pre-practiced emergency signal to notify the other swimmers and the canteen of the situation.

Three whistle blasts are given. The class responds by exiting the water and proceeding to a designated meeting point. The canteen adult closes the canteen, assists the class in leaving the water, and continues to supervise the class in the meeting point area.

The Teacher having handed on their class supervision responsibility to the canteen adult can then respond to the emergency.

The Teacher identifies that the non-swimmer can be rescued by a reach rescue undertaken using the leaf scoop. The weak swimmer can be "made safer" by throwing a floatation aid (kick board)

The Teacher picks up the leaf scoop pole and a kick board. Whilst the rescue of the non-swimmer would usually be the highest priority, the weak swimmer can be rescued first in this example, as the rescue of the non-swimmer is not delayed by the following action.

First, the Teacher makes their way to the side of the pool and throws a kickboard to the weak swimmer (the weak swimmer now has buoyancy and is safer).

Then, lying down the Teacher reaches with the leaf scoop to the non-swimmer to affect a reach rescue. By gently prodding the non-swimmer with the leaf scoop, the non-swimmer grabs the scoop and is slowly pulled back to the edge and assisted out of the water.

To retrieve the weak swimmer without the rescuing Teacher ever entering the water, the leaf scoop or alternately the coiled hose is used to bring about a throw rescue (a dry, non-contact rescue).

Aftercare

As the response was quick, the main follow up is to log the incident in the pool incident log, review the situation to modify future lesson plans of a similar type and to assess the trauma to the Student, parent and the class.

A discussion of what happened and the responses should take place with all concerned. Also notified are Venue managers, program supervisors and employers.

The Students in the class should undertake some discussion about what happened and why and the situation used as a learning experience for all concerned.

The Teacher should consider modified strategies within that activity which may alleviate the potential risk next time. E.g. the Teacher in the water, a second Teacher present, the deeper area roped off or the activity delayed until Students can swim better.

Note: Prudent employers will require employees to have qualifications in First Aid and require them to be able to perform a rescue in the environment they are teaching in.

There is currently some speculation over the use of the Heimlich manoeuvre as part of the process of CPR to assist in clearing the lungs of water prior to attempting resuscitation.

Disclaimer - To the fullest extent permissible under Australian law, ASCTA and Swim Australia accept no liability for any loss or injury that may occur as a result of the information disclosed herein.

 

Rescue Breathing (EAR) and CPR Information

It is recommended to check with the World Resuscitation Council or other such organisations in your country for the current and most up to date information on CPR. The information below is a general overview only and does not constitute formal CPR training. In Australia the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) would provide this information. Furthermore as Swim Australia teachers, ASTCA strongly recommend teachers regularly update knowledge in CPR and First Aid.

In any situation where a patient has stopped breathing, you should call 000 (or 112 on a mobile from a remote location), activate your EPIRB or send someone to get help as soon as possible.

However, having knowledge of and performing first aid could well prevent a fatality. Effective recue breathing (also known as Expired Air Resuscitation, or EAR) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) saves lives, they’re easy to learn and will give you a skill for life.

Never place yourself in danger. If someone is struggling to stay afloat, throw them something buoyant or a rope and pull them in; if they’re unconscious, enter the water and tow them to the side. Once on land, ensure their airway is open (by tilting their head back as far as possible), and facilitate adequate drainage. If they vomit, turn them onto their side – you may need to scoop vomit from their airway before rolling them onto their back and continuing resuscitation. If there is one available, use a face mask. The risk of disease transmission is small, but a mask can be reassuring.

Once their airway is clear they may resume breathing, but their respirations may be shallow and very slow. Listen and look closely for signs of normal breathing (spend at least 10 seconds doing this).

CPR  If the patient is not breathing normally and shows no signs of life then initiate CPR at a rate of 30 chest compressions to two breaths. The compressions should be quite fast about two per second – and the same rates apply for infants, children and adults, and regardless as to whether there are one or two rescuers.

The place to administer compressions is the lower half of the sternum (the centre of the chest).  It should be depressed quite hard The aim is to depress the chest by one third of its depth; this requires less force for children (maybe use one hand)  and less again for infants (two fingers). Continue CPR until medical help arrives, or the patient begins breathing and the heart resumes beating.

PREVENTION You’re less likely to get into trouble in the first place if you’re careful around water. Always, wear a personal floatation device (PFD) when paddling or boating, learn to identify the signs of dangerous currents – such as rip and undercurrents – and don’t underestimate the effect of cold water and /or a strong current on your swimming ability,. Avoid swimming alone, and never swim after drinking alcohol. Lastly, teach your kids to swim and to respect the power of water.

FACTS

If the patient is breathing they must have a pulse.

Any patient that has been involved in a submersion incident – or who has been resuscitated for any reason – must be rapidly evacuated. In any case of near-drowning it’s important to monitor the patient for the next 72 hours for any breathing difficulty, such as wet-lung sounds, a productive cough, rapid shallow breathing, or an inability to take a deep breath. It is most likely that any complication after an event will be within the first six hours, so monitor the patient’s vital signs closely, including their level of consciousness

Risks and Hazards

Key Terminology:

A hazard is a situation that poses a level of threat to life, health, property or environment.

Risk is the chance or probability that a hazard will cause harm.

Risk perception is the subjective judgement people make about the severity of a risk and this may vary from person to person based on their unique perspective.

In the swimming context there are various sub-categories of hazards with several examples:

·   People Hazards

o   Inexperienced swimmers

o   Inexperienced or unqualified teachers and coaches

o   Swimmers under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances

o   Elderly swimmers

o   Swimmers with known or unknown medical conditions

o   LWD Swimmers

o   CALD Swimmers

·   Activity Hazards

o   Inappropriate programming for age/ability

o   Inappropriate intensity leading to overuse injuries

o   Diving or tumble turning in shallow water

o   Failure to communicate strategies for safe entries and exits

·   Facility Hazards

o   Plant room and chemical storage

o   Significant changes in depth

o   Diving blocks and platforms

o   Insufficient signage

·   Environmental Hazards

o   Sun exposure

o   Lightening and storm activity

o   Wind chill

o   Water quality

o   Air quality

5 Steps of Risk Assessment

Risk management is an ongoing formal and informal process which helps to keep your patrons safe and well while they use your facility. Effective Risk Management involves all staff members, not just Management. It is an excellent habit to encourage all members of your team to “walk a lap” of their teaching area before they begin teaching each day.

There are five steps in the Risk Management process:

Step 1. Identify the Hazard

Notice and identify the potential hazard and the risk it presents.

Our Example: A broken pool tile is seen just near the edge of the pool, which has the potential to cut someone if they make contact.

Step 2. Identify Who May be Harmed

Evaluate who is in danger of being harmed by the identified hazard. Common parties affected include: Swimmers, Pool Staff, Teachers and Coaches, Non-Swimming Spectators.

Our Example: The broken tile could potentially injure swimmers and all Teaching staff who enter the water in that area.

Step 3. Minimise the Risk

This step involves taking action. This might include: Marking the hazard with a safety cone, arranging maintenance or cleaning or in more serious situations even closing the pool temporarily while larger building works or re-designs to the area can be made.

Our Example: Mark the broken tile with a safety cone to warn swimmers to steer clear and contact pool maintenance to come and remove, replace and re-grout to ensure all sharp edges and removed.

Step 4. Record

It is very important to make a record of any and all risk assessments you undertake. This protects you and your facility in the event of an accident or incident. It is pertinent to have a Risk Assessment file available for all staff to access and a simple form for them to log any hazards they identify and actions they take to minimise risk.

Here is a sample form:

 

Staff Member Name

Date

Describe the Hazard

Who Could be Harmed?

Level of Risk

High?

Medium?

Low?

Action Taken

Johnny Careful

27/10/15

Wobbly starting block (#6).

 

Slip and fall risk leading to possible cuts, abrasions, fractures and even spinal injury.

Swimmers

 

Swimming Teachers and Coaches

Medium

Block closed for use, safety cone marking area, maintenance contacted on 27/10/2015.

Lisa Safe

28/10/15

Lane ropes left on pool deck in the early evening.

 

Tripping hazard leading to possible cuts, abrasions and even fractures.

Swimmers

 

Non-Swimming Spectators

 

Teachers and Coaches

Low

Investigate better storage methods.

Mark Non-toxic

28/10/15

Faecal incident at 2:00pm in Learner Pool.

 

Contamination which could lead to possible illness of patrons on a wide scale if ingested.

Swimmers

 

Teachers and Coaches

High

Pool closed and plant shut down.

 

Signage put in place.

 

Coagulant added and waste removed.

 

Super-chlorination.

 

Interviewed patron involved.

 

Incident logged with Local Government as per legislation in your state.

 

Step 5. Review

Finally, it is important to have a supervising staff member review your Risk Assessment logbook on a regular basis to look for trends. This is especially important for large organisations with many staff. Identifying a trend can lead to more major building works or re-design as well as targeted staff training and development or public awareness campaigns for patrons.

 

 

 

Proactive Risk Prevention

Effective Risk Prevention requires an ongoing commitment and a proactive, (not reactive) approach.

There are many simple steps a Pool or Swim School management team can take to prevent hazards before they become an issue:

·   Commit to a formal annual facility audit. You can develop your own checklist or access a self-assessment tool via Swim Australia™ swim school membership and accreditation. 

·   Commit to a program of ongoing maintenance of the facility and all fixed assets, this includes having sufficient budget in place.

·   Commit to a program of ongoing cleaning, repair and replacement of all consumables including teaching equipment.

·   Undertake a formal risk assessment for all major activities offered at your Swim School, especially special events, which include out-of-the-ordinary staffing, equipment or access.

·   Ensure all staff have up-to-date teaching and first aid qualifications and have access to a program of ongoing professional development, which includes Health and Safety awareness. Ideally you should maintain a register of qualifications which includes expiry dates.

·   Ensure all staff have up-to-date Working with Children checks and have access to a program of professional development in the area of Child Protection.

·   Ensure that all programed aquatics are staffed at the correct ratios to ensure safety and ease of supervision. Ensure that maximum bather loads of your facility and never exceeded and that they are adapted as required (for example when using large inflatable pool toys).

·   Ensure that all staff are aware of the locations of the following:

  • Nearest phone
  • Nearest first aid kit
  • Nearest exit (and alternative if the nearest is blocked)
  • Nearest alarm (Fire/Lightning/Lock-down)
  • Nearest rescue equipment
  • Nearest AED

·   Develop and fine tune clear Emergency Action Plans for the following situations:

  • Near-Drowning Emergency
  • Fire Emergency
  • Pool Contamination
  • Chemical Storage Emergency
  • Lightening
  • Natural Disaster Emergency (Flood, Storm, Bushfire, etc)
  • Security Situation (Intruder, Civil Disturbance, Violence)

 

 

Please click below to indicate you have read and understood Unit 4, and are ready to proceed to the Unit 4 Exam

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Swimming Strokes

Swimming Strokes

Once the learner has mastered entries and exits, basic floatation and movement skills, the Teacher can begin to bring together sets of movement patterns to begin developing "strokes".

This unit of study applies the biomechanical principles previously presented to teaching the four competitive strokes of swimming.

Swimming Strokes

Teaching Sequence

"A swimming stroke is a set of arm, leg and breathing patterns defined by competitive rules."

Usually the learner will learn rudimentary Freestyle and Backstroke followed by Breaststroke, Life Saving Backstroke, Butterfly and Sidestroke in that order. Teachers may vary this depending on the Learner or their particular teaching philosophy.

A rationale for this sequence of strokes is Freestyle is swum on the front making it relatively easy to stop and stand. Buoyancy is maintained by the head turning to the side. It is the most popular and the fastest of all the strokes.

The ability to float on the back is a prerequisite skill for learners learning to turn their head and body to the side (as in Freestyle breathing) so Backstroke is taught in conjunction with Freestyle. The kick, arm action and alternate timing all have some similarity with Freestyle.

Breaststroke is a more difficult stroke to master, especially the "frog" kick. The body position is at more of an angle than that of Freestyle, but it opens up underwater swimming, a paired or double arm and leg action. The learning of Breaststroke kick is usually done at the same time as the inverted Breaststroke kick that is used in Survival or Lifesaving Backstroke. Breaststroke is the most energy efficient competitive stroke as it has an underwater arm and leg recovery.

The other survival strokes Survival Backstroke and Sidestroke are also characterised by an underwater arm recovery and greater energy efficiency than strokes with an over the water recovery.

The Survival Backstroke action is basically swum on the back with a Breaststroke kick combined with the arms sculling around under the water out to the side. Many learners consider it as "Breaststroke on the back". Sometimes learners experiencing difficulty mastering the correct Breaststroke kick on the front will master the same kick on the back more readily. A variation on Survival Backstroke is Lifesaving Backstroke where the arms may lift singly or together out of the water with an inverted Breaststroke kick.(note - rules of pool lifesaving competitions for lifesaving backstroke require the hands to remain in the water) This style continues to be swum in some masters competitions in Backstroke events.

Only when Breaststroke is swum well, should learners be taught Sidestroke. If Sidestroke kick is mastered before Breaststroke kick, the learner may adopt the sidestroke scissor kick with Breaststroke or struggle for a longer period before achieving a correct Breaststroke kick.

Butterfly is not a stroke swum by choice and requires a degree of strength and an ability to swim technically well. With some understanding of floatation and movement skills, Butterfly is easy to swim if swum well, but is unforgiving if any part of the stroke is incorrect. The high-energy usage rate makes this stroke unsuitable for distance swimming, recreation or rescues. It is primarily a competitive swimming stroke.

The ability to swim from point A to point B is only part of the equation to building a complete swimmer. As stroke skills are acquired, other aquatic skills related to personal safety, survival and rescue for a variety of natural aquatic environments and circumstances must be taught e.g. entries and exits, swimming in currents and waves, with clothes on, surface diving, underwater swimming, recover from a fall in etc. These skills appear in the section related to water safety and survival skills.

Medley Swimming is examined in further depth in ASCTA and SAL coaching courses. It is sufficient for Teachers to know that the order for an individual medley is Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Freestyle. An equal distance of each stroke must be swum and the rules of each stroke obeyed.

Medley relays commence with Backstroke, and then Butterfly, Breaststroke and Freestyle with each stroke swum equal distance by different swimmers.

Fault Identification and Correction

The majority of the faults seen by Teachers can be traced back to the swimmer's poor body position and incorrect pathways of the hands particularly when extended out in front.

If a correct body angle is not maintained, the swimmer's inclination is to stroke quickly or swim to stay afloat. The water should do the work of holding the swimmer up! The swimmer should do the work of moving forward.

One technique for Teachers to identify faults is to use "stroke models". This is where the Teacher has a mental image of the desirable movement pattern and overlays this with what is evidenced from a swimmer. This mental image could be a composite of the desirable movements of different swimmers.

The Teacher then "spots the differences" between the ideal image and what is seen. This will provide the Teacher with a starting point to where faults may lie, remembering that some faults can be caused by an entirely different action. E.g., the head lifted will cause the feet to sink. In this example, a Teacher telling a swimmer to lift their feet up will not achieve any change. By asking the swimmer to put their head down, the feet will rise dissipating the fault that was evident. Even though a fault may be apparent, the cause of a fault is not always evident. Teachers may try various alterations to a swimmers stroke before determining the actual cause.

Another powerful tool for the Teacher is observation. This can be in the form of reviewing footage of swimmers and comparing this to other swimmers, slow motion and benchmarking what is seen against a standard set of parameters for the stroke, or pool deck observation of the swimmer from the front, behind, side, above and below positions.

A commonly employed technique for correction is "overcorrection" E.g. if a swimmer is bending their knees too much in Freestyle kick, a Teacher may ask the swimmer to "kick with their legs straight". The result is that the swimmer's legs will straighten somewhat, without going entirely straight. This modified result is actually what was desired though not what the Teacher requested. If a Teacher continues to ask the swimmer to "kick with your legs straight", the eventual result will be a straight-legged kick and this is not desirable. The skill of using overcorrection requires the Teacher to stop reinforcing the directive once the swimmer has achieved the desired degree of modification.

Another corrective technique is to break the stroke down into parts and practice drills. A drill usually allows the swimmer to do a less complex activity and focus on one area of a stroke. E.g., using a kickboard to kick only, allows the swimmer to concentrate on their legs without the need to think of the arms or breathing. If each part can be done correctly and the muscles "patterned" to perform the action a certain way (correctly), when the parts are put together, the whole stroke should be modified in a desirable way. 

Conversely, if a swimmer is allowed to swim without correction of a fault for a long period of time, incorrect patterning will make it harder to correct the ingrained fault.

To measure efficiency in stroke techniques, common techniques utilised by Teachers are:

  • counting the number of strokes done by one swimmer over a set distance and comparing this stroke count to other swimmers of a similar stature and age
  • noting where the first hand is at the beginning of the stroke in comparison to a fixed point on the side of the pool and comparing this with where the hand is as it exits the water to commence recovery. This will show how much traction the swimmer is gaining each stroke
  • recording the time of a swimmer over a certain distance and comparing this time to previous performances as well as the performance of other swimmers of a similar stature and age
 

 

Freestyle

What most Australians refer to as Freestyle is "Australian Crawl" or "Front Crawl".

The front crawl action originally emanated from the South Sea Islands, but was introduced to the world by Australian Dick Cavill in 1902 when he swam in England. Europe adopted the style shortly thereafter and early records show Front Crawl swum in USA by 1904.

Improvements

Technically, the stroke has developed a long way since then, with modifications to improve streamlining, stroke mechanics and training technique leading to elite times for the 100 metres Freestyle reducing at a steady rate over the past century.

The chart indicates that the stroke has further potential for improvement.

 

Simplified Freestyle Rules

Freestyle can be any style of stroke, excepting that when swum in an Individual Medley or Medley Relay it must be a style other than Butterfly, Backstroke or Breaststroke.

Whilst the rules do allow any style to be swum, the accepted protocol is for the fastest style a swimmer knows of moving through the water to be used. This is generally the Front Crawl style hereafter referred to as Freestyle. The rules require that some part of the body must touch the wall at each turn and the finish.

Ideal Freestyle


The swimmer is positioned horizontally on the front, with the face in the water looking forward underneath the surface. A continuous alternating up and down kicking movement is done with the legs, whilst the arms move alternately around in a long stroking action commencing out in front on the surface of the water, moving down underneath the nose and belly button to the side and then out of the water and around over the surface of the water to recover to the front.

The head is turned smoothly to the side between arm strokes until the mouth clears the water for a breath to be taken, then rotates back into the water again.

To evaluate Freestyle, note the swimmer's overall confidence, smoothness and fluidity in performing the stroke. Look for:

Kicking

  • economical use of the legs
  • a continuous 2, 4 or 6 kicks per arm cycle. In teaching Freestyle kick, Teachers generally encourage a fast 6 beat kick to provide learners with better support
  • the kick emanating from the hips through the knees to cause a whipping action of the lower legs and feet, with the heels just breaking the surface of the water. The legs will kick up and down as well as some side to side kicking, depending on the roll of the swimmer's torso. Emphasis is on the down-beat of kick

Arms

  • a smooth fluidity as one arm takes over from the other
  • fingers held loosely together creating a paddle
  • the hands entering first with the thumb and index finger, in front of the shoulders at about where the wrist is on a full arm stretch, then fully extending forward under the surface of the water, before pressing down and back towards the centre line of the body, passing under the sternum then extending down and out past the lower hips. About half way through the underwater stroke, the elbows will attain a bend of around 90 - 110 degrees. The arms should have a symmetrical pattern. The back of the hand faces the direction of travel as much as possible to attain effective use of lift forces generated
  • the elbows being kept higher than the arms throughout the stroke – both over the water and under the water except as mentioned below a la Michael Klim
  • the arms recover as though "the hand is coming out of a pocket" with the shoulder and elbow assisting to lift the hand clear of the water and then swinging the arm out to the side and around to the front, across the surface of the water. (see Fig 3. – Arm pathway 1). The momentum of the push back combined with a gradual change in direction of the hand as the arm fully extends to the hips means the arm recovers at a much faster speed than the speed of the underwater part of the stroke. The increased speed is also due to reduced resistance experienced by the arm moving through air. The elbow usually recovers higher than the hand though if the latter part of the underwater stroke is deep there may be a tendency to recover the arm "over" rather than "around" because of the upward momentum. This will lead to an alternate pathway where the hand is higher than the elbow such as swum by Australian, former 100 metre Freestyle world record holder, Michael Klim (See Fig 3. – alternate pathway)
  • a gradual acceleration of the speed of the arms from the commencement of the downward press out in front. Whilst one hand is moving relatively slowly out in front the other arm's rapid speed allows it to nearly catch up to the other hand, giving the appearance when swimming at slower speeds that one hand is apparently overlapping with the other out in front. At faster stroking speeds the hands move further apart as more effort by the swimmer is put into lifting the body higher in the water to decrease resistance

Body position

  • a reasonably horizontal body position with the head looking comfortably forwards
  • each half of the body balanced with a similar degree of roll to either side     

Breathing

  • only a small turn of the head and body smoothly to the side to achieve a breath. Approximately the same amount of the head stays in the water during the whole breathing cycle
  • an ease of breathing without undue hurry or pausing. Inhalation is made through the mouth. Exhalation begins as soon as the mouth is back in the water. Sufficient air should be exhaled so that when the mouth next clears the water, the swimmer immediately begins to inhale again
  • the head turned in time with the arms. The head turns just after the opposing hand enters the wat

Freestyle Skill Progressions


 

The ability to float and glide well is vital to acquiring good swimming skills.
Swimmers must continue to maintain good body position as drills and skills are undertaken.

The most important time when a Freestyle swimmer must have good buoyancy, balance and swim correctly is when they are breathing.

Here is a range of drills and skill progressions that could be used to teach Freestyle. Remember a learner may not have to go through all steps. Basic kicking and stroking drills were provided in the Buoyancy and Mobility section.

It is assumed the learner is now a swimmer with rudimentary alternate kicking and stroking skills.

Set A. Undertaken with no head turning to breathe. Learners to swim as far as they comfortably can and stand up.

  • Freestyle kick holding on to the back of the board with the face in
  • Freestyle kick with a kickboard, arms over the kickboard, hands holding on to the front
  • same as 1. and moving one hand around. Let go with one hand, moving it through the water under the body to the leg, lift out of the water and recover back on to the kickboard
  • same as 3. and using the other arm only
  • same as 1. and this time alternating arms. First one arm around, catch the kickboard, then the other arm around
  • same as 5. and using a smaller kickboard, a stick or catching thumbs using two fins
  • same as 6. and using one fin
  • same as 6. and using no fins
  • use arms and legs with no kickboard, and pretending that a kickboard is still held i.e. arms change over in front

      as in 9. and swimming with long strokes, making as little splash as possible

     as in 10. and using a snorkel to swim further

 

Set B. Introducing breathing once the arms stroke timing and the leg kicks are reasonably proficient.

     standing in the water, hold on to the side of the pool with two hands, blow bubbles, then lift the head forward, open the mouth, take a breath in, place the face in the water and exhale through the mouth

     as in 1. repeat for a number of times or set period to ensure that it is sustainable

     as in 1. now turning the head to the side instead of lifting

     as in 3. now this time place the hand down by the leg on the side to be turned to when breathing. The other hand continues to hold on to the side. Teachers can also have Students attempt this drill turning to both left and right sides

     standing in the water, hold on to the side of the pool with two hands. With the face in the water, stroke one arm around and catch the side, then repeat with the same arm. As the hand comes away from the side, begin to turn the head so that the head is turned out of the water by the time the hand reaches the top of the leg (about half way through the stroke). Take a breath and turn the head back into the water as the arm recovers over the water. Let the air gently trickle out once the face is in the water. Repeat several times. It is important to note that to develop sustainable breathing patterns the stroke must time with the breathing NOT the breathing with the stroke. I.e. the breath is not taken when the hand is by the leg, rather the swimmer must ensure the hand is by the leg when the breath is taken. This fine distinction will encourage the swimmer to take enough breath to continue to swim rather than take breaths when it is not necessary or to hurry their breath. A problem sometimes encountered is over-exhalation. Ensure the swimmer blows bubbles but not too many!

     standing in the water, hold on to the side of the pool with two hands. With the face in the water, stroke one arm around and catch the side, then repeat with the other arm. As the first hand comes around take a breath and turn the head back into the water as the arm recovers over the water. When the other arm strokes leave the face in the water and exhale. One arm is the breathing stroke and one arm is the exhalation stroke. In learner terms - 1 arm breath, 1 arm bubbles!

     as in 1. holding on to a kickboard and kicking with fins

     as in 7. turning the head instead of lifting

     as in 8. using one arm

     as in 9. using two arms

     as in 7. 8. 9. and 10. firstly using only one fin, then repeat the sequence with no fins still using a kickboard.

     as in 7., 8., 9. and 10. with no fins with smaller kickboard and then no kickboard (swimming and breathing)

     push off wall on the back and kick. Take a breath, and then roll on to the front and Freestyle till a breath is required. Stop and stand up

     the same as 13 in reverse. Freestyle for a few strokes, then roll over on to the back and kick. Take some breathes. Stop and stand up

     a combination of 13 and 14. Back kick, roll on to the front, swim freestyle, then roll onto the back and kick again. Too much practice of this drill will encourage "roll over" breathing, however it does allow for the less skilled swimmer to still achieve a breath while swimming and is a good safety skill for beginners to learn

 

Set C. Refining the arm stroke to improve timing of the breathing, better arm pull and variations in the stroke due to distance swum. These drills are not in a delivery sequence, but may be used by the Teacher in combination with a drill from Set A or B.

        swimming Freestyle with the head in various positions. E.g., right under the water and out of the water. This allows discovery of the ideal head position and the effect that lifting the head has on sinking the feet. In advanced learners, head lifting will encourage a faster and shorter stroke and will assist in breaking an over-taught catch up stroke habit. Sprinters need to swim up over the water and look forward more, have a higher head position and less "catch up" on the stroke. Starting with a high head position and gradually moving through a range of positions enables the swimmer to determine what is best for them. Distance swimmers hands catch up more in front, resulting in a flatter body position (as the centre of gravity is moved upwards the legs rise). This position requires less kicking which for a distance swimmer also equates to energy savings. Swimming with fins will also show the swimmer what adaptations will need to be made in body position when moving at a faster speed

        kick with a variety of kicking combinations. Try Breaststroke kick and discover that every time the knees are bent the swimmer slows, the body is not able to turn to the side as easily and breathing is more difficult. Try dolphin kicking and discover that the up and down movement increases resistance, is more strenuous and can slow swimming speed. Discovering what does not work will lead to the conclusion that a constant body position with the legs not bending much will allow for an energy efficient fast stroke

        kick on the side with one arm by the side and one arm extended over the hip. This can be aided by either holding a kickboard or not, with or without fins. This allows the swimmer to feel greater pressure on the feet due to the volume of water the feet are moving through. Kicking up and down usually finds little resistance near the surface

        Pool Buoy/ Pullboard. Using a pullboard allows for practice of arm movement only and replaces the need to kick. Some faults will initially become more apparent to the Teacher and swimmer as the kick is no longer masking or counteracting faults. This increased awareness and a perseverance in practice will improve streamlining and encourage correct timing of the arms. Make sure that the pullboard is an appropriate size to the body weight of the swimmer. The average child needs a pullboard half the adult size

        Paddles. Paddles placed on the hands enhance the catch with the hands and are useful with more advanced swimmers. Similar to pullboards, ensure that the size of the paddle is only slightly larger than the hand. An oversized paddle will strain the shoulders and cause the elbow to drop on during the pull

        arm drills are used to encourage streamlining, short fast recovery and a long slower, gradually accelerating underwater arm pull. Drills such as:

        chicken wings. Doing catch-up drill with a kickboard, the swimmer follows the usual underwater arm pattern, but when the hand reaches the leg, the thumb is trailed along the side of the body, up under the arm pit, then through to stretch out in front. This encourages a high elbow recovery

        fat chicken wings or finger trails. Doing the catch up drill, when the hands reach the legs, the elbow is lifted to recover the arm. The arms are brought out to the side and around to the front in a wide "chicken wing" fashion with the finger tips trailing through the water during the whole of the recovery

        wall drill. If a swimmer is swimming with their arms too wide on the recovery, instruct the swimmer to swim close to the wall thus limiting the amount of space available for a wide recovery. An alternate way of achieving this is to place two lane ropes a small distance apart and have the swimmer swim fat chicken wings without touching the ropes. The Teachers can vary the width of the ropes to suit the desired change in the width of the swimmer's arm recovery

        fist swimming. Swimming with the fists clenched ("Boxing Freestyle") emphasizes the role that the hand and arm plays in the pull

        breathing combinations. Breathing for a distance every, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 strokes or as far as you comfortably can on one breath encourages sprinting and a shorter faster stroke, balanced stroking and an ability to breathe to either side. A variation is to breathe looking to only one side of the pool whether swimming up or back!

        side streamlining drill/two-sided breathing. Glide on one side (one hand forwards and one hand back) and kick for 6 kicks. Roll to the front and on to the other side as half a stroke is done with each hand (the hand by the leg comes over the water to the front and the forward hand pulls down to the leg). This encourages a strong kick, streamlining and a buoyant position when breathing

        snorkel swimming. Swimming a distance without turning the head to breathe allows the swimmer to balance the body roll evenly on both sides and swim without the un-stabilising affect sometimes caused by an incorrect or unbalanced head turn or roll of the shoulder. The drill can be undertaken with or without fins using either a side snorkel or a front - centre snorkel

Freestyle Faults and Corrections

Faults and Corrections

The ability to float and glide well is vital to acquiring good swimming skills.

Swimmers must continue to maintain good body position as drills and skills are undertaken.

The most important time when a Freestyle swimmer must have good buoyancy, balance and swim correctly is when they are breathing.

Here is a range of drills and skill progressions that could be used to teach Freestyle. Remember a learner may not have to go through all steps. Basic kicking and stroking drills were provided in the Buoyancy and Mobility section.

It is assumed the learner is now a swimmer with rudimentary alternate kicking and stroking skills.

Set A. Undertaken with no head turning to breathe. Learners to swim as far as they comfortably can and stand up.

     Freestyle kick holding on to the back of the board with the face in

     Freestyle kick with a kickboard, arms over the kickboard, hands holding on to the front

     same as 1. and moving one hand around. Let go with one hand, moving it through the water under the body to the leg, lift out of the water and recover back on to the kickboard

     same as 3. and using the other arm only

     same as 1. and this time alternating arms. First one arm around, catch the kickboard, then the other arm around

     same as 5. and using a smaller kickboard, a stick or catching thumbs using two fins

     same as 6. and using one fin

     same as 6. and using no fins

     use arms and legs with no kickboard, and pretending that a kickboard is still held i.e. arms change over in front

      as in 9. and swimming with long strokes, making as little splash as possible

     as in 10. and using a snorkel to swim further

 

 

Set B. Introducing breathing once the arms stroke timing and the leg kicks are reasonably proficient.

 

     standing in the water, hold on to the side of the pool with two hands, blow bubbles, then lift the head forward, open the mouth, take a breath in, place the face in the water and exhale through the mouth

     as in 1. repeat for a number of times or set period to ensure that it is sustainable

     as in 1. now turning the head to the side instead of lifting

     as in 3. now this time place the hand down by the leg on the side to be turned to when breathing. The other hand continues to hold on to the side. Teachers can also have Students attempt this drill turning to both left and right sides

     standing in the water, hold on to the side of the pool with two hands. With the face in the water, stroke one arm around and catch the side, then repeat with the same arm. As the hand comes away from the side, begin to turn the head so that the head is turned out of the water by the time the hand reaches the top of the leg (about half way through the stroke). Take a breath and turn the head back into the water as the arm recovers over the water. Let the air gently trickle out once the face is in the water. Repeat several times. It is important to note that to develop sustainable breathing patterns the stroke must time with the breathing NOT the breathing with the stroke. I.e. the breath is not taken when the hand is by the leg, rather the swimmer must ensure the hand is by the leg when the breath is taken. This fine distinction will encourage the swimmer to take enough breath to continue to swim rather than take breaths when it is not necessary or to hurry their breath. A problem sometimes encountered is over-exhalation. Ensure the swimmer blows bubbles but not too many!

     standing in the water, hold on to the side of the pool with two hands. With the face in the water, stroke one arm around and catch the side, then repeat with the other arm. As the first hand comes around take a breath and turn the head back into the water as the arm recovers over the water. When the other arm strokes leave the face in the water and exhale. One arm is the breathing stroke and one arm is the exhalation stroke. In learner terms - 1 arm breath, 1 arm bubbles!

     as in 1. holding on to a kickboard and kicking with fins

     as in 7. turning the head instead of lifting

     as in 8. using one arm

     as in 9. using two arms

     as in 7. 8. 9. and 10. firstly using only one fin, then repeat the sequence with no fins still using a kickboard.

     as in 7., 8., 9. and 10. with no fins with smaller kickboard and then no kickboard (swimming and breathing)

     push off wall on the back and kick. Take a breath, and then roll on to the front and Freestyle till a breath is required. Stop and stand up

     the same as 13 in reverse. Freestyle for a few strokes, then roll over on to the back and kick. Take some breathes. Stop and stand up

     a combination of 13 and 14. Back kick, roll on to the front, swim freestyle, then roll onto the back and kick again. Too much practice of this drill will encourage "roll over" breathing, however it does allow for the less skilled swimmer to still achieve a breath while swimming and is a good safety skill for beginners to learn

 

Set C. Refining the arm stroke to improve timing of the breathing, better arm pull and variations in the stroke due to distance swum. These drills are not in a delivery sequence, but may be used by the Teacher in combination with a drill from Set A or B.

        swimming Freestyle with the head in various positions. E.g., right under the water and out of the water. This allows discovery of the ideal head position and the effect that lifting the head has on sinking the feet. In advanced learners, head lifting will encourage a faster and shorter stroke and will assist in breaking an over-taught catch up stroke habit. Sprinters need to swim up over the water and look forward more, have a higher head position and less "catch up" on the stroke. Starting with a high head position and gradually moving through a range of positions enables the swimmer to determine what is best for them. Distance swimmers hands catch up more in front, resulting in a flatter body position (as the centre of gravity is moved upwards the legs rise). This position requires less kicking which for a distance swimmer also equates to energy savings. Swimming with fins will also show the swimmer what adaptations will need to be made in body position when moving at a faster speed

        kick with a variety of kicking combinations. Try Breaststroke kick and discover that every time the knees are bent the swimmer slows, the body is not able to turn to the side as easily and breathing is more difficult. Try dolphin kicking and discover that the up and down movement increases resistance, is more strenuous and can slow swimming speed. Discovering what does not work will lead to the conclusion that a constant body position with the legs not bending much will allow for an energy efficient fast stroke

        kick on the side with one arm by the side and one arm extended over the hip. This can be aided by either holding a kickboard or not, with or without fins. This allows the swimmer to feel greater pressure on the feet due to the volume of water the feet are moving through. Kicking up and down usually finds little resistance near the surface

        Pool Buoy/ Pullboard. Using a pullboard allows for practice of arm movement only and replaces the need to kick. Some faults will initially become more apparent to the Teacher and swimmer as the kick is no longer masking or counteracting faults. This increased awareness and a perseverance in practice will improve streamlining and encourage correct timing of the arms. Make sure that the pullboard is an appropriate size to the body weight of the swimmer. The average child needs a pullboard half the adult size

        Paddles. Paddles placed on the hands enhance the catch with the hands and are useful with more advanced swimmers. Similar to pullboards, ensure that the size of the paddle is only slightly larger than the hand. An oversized paddle will strain the shoulders and cause the elbow to drop on during the pull

        arm drills are used to encourage streamlining, short fast recovery and a long slower, gradually accelerating underwater arm pull. Drills such as:

        chicken wings. Doing catch-up drill with a kickboard, the swimmer follows the usual underwater arm pattern, but when the hand reaches the leg, the thumb is trailed along the side of the body, up under the arm pit, then through to stretch out in front. This encourages a high elbow recovery

        fat chicken wings or finger trails. Doing the catch up drill, when the hands reach the legs, the elbow is lifted to recover the arm. The arms are brought out to the side and around to the front in a wide "chicken wing" fashion with the finger tips trailing through the water during the whole of the recovery

        wall drill. If a swimmer is swimming with their arms too wide on the recovery, instruct the swimmer to swim close to the wall thus limiting the amount of space available for a wide recovery. An alternate way of achieving this is to place two lane ropes a small distance apart and have the swimmer swim fat chicken wings without touching the ropes. The Teachers can vary the width of the ropes to suit the desired change in the width of the swimmer's arm recovery

        fist swimming. Swimming with the fists clenched ("Boxing Freestyle") emphasizes the role that the hand and arm plays in the pull

        breathing combinations. Breathing for a distance every, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 strokes or as far as you comfortably can on one breath encourages sprinting and a shorter faster stroke, balanced stroking and an ability to breathe to either side. A variation is to breathe looking to only one side of the pool whether swimming up or back!

        side streamlining drill/two-sided breathing. Glide on one side (one hand forwards and one hand back) and kick for 6 kicks. Roll to the front and on to the other side as half a stroke is done with each hand (the hand by the leg comes over the water to the front and the forward hand pulls down to the leg). This encourages a strong kick, streamlining and a buoyant position when breathing

        snorkel swimming. Swimming a distance without turning the head to breathe allows the swimmer to balance the body roll evenly on both sides and swim without the un-stabilising affect sometimes caused by an incorrect or unbalanced head turn or roll of the shoulder. The drill can be undertaken with or without fins using either a side snorkel or a front - centre snorkel

Backstroke

Basically, any arm and leg action on the back is permissible. The arms and legs may use an alternate action or a double arm backstroke with either an alternating up and down flutter kick or an inverted Breaststroke kick.

Survival or Lifesaving Backstroke is dealt with separately in Survival strokes.

Simplified Backstroke Rules

Competitively, swimmers must commence the start with their feet on the wall (not over a skim gutter or the top of the wall) and push off on their back, remain on their back and complete the race on their back. At turns, it is permissible to roll onto the front so long that the turn commences immediately without forward propulsion whilst on the front.

The conventional style of Backstroke is similar to Freestyle with an alternate arm and leg action, but swum on the back with uninterrupted breathing.

Ideal Backstroke


 

Body Position: The head should remain still whilst the body rotates from side to side along a longitudinal axis at a slight angle to the surface of the water. The body rotation helps improve the flow of the water over the body thus decreasing resistance. The body is in a position similar to "lying on a water bed with a pillow behind the head". The back half of the head may be in the water but the head is tilted slightly forwards. This way any water splashing on to the face goes "past the nose rather than into it!"

Should a swimmer need to look around, they should moving their eyes rather than move the head. The head is like a steering wheel. When the head turns, the rest of the body will follow, causing the swimmer to swim "off line". A Freestyle swimmer who moves the head off the longitudinal axis also does the same.

Arms: The arms remain opposite each other throughout the whole stroke. This means as the arms pass through checkpoints such as, as one hand enters the other exits the water or when one arm is half way through the recovery the other is half way through the pull/press. This action is aided by the shoulders rotating with the arms.

The hand enters the water little finger first in front of, or just wider than the shoulders with the upper arm brushing the ear as it passes. Aided by the shoulder rolling down, the hand then continues the pathway down deep to where the arm starts to gain traction and lever the swimmer forward. Similar to Freestyle, about half way through the underwater arm stroke the elbow attains maximum bend of about 90 degrees. The arms then proceed to press or push down to the leg. The hand then exits wrist or thumb* with the arm recovering high over the centre of the body. * a point often debated by coaches and teachers and yet to be resolved!

Somewhere in the arm recovery, the hand will rotate so the palm faces outwards positioning the little finger to enter the water first.

Legs: The leg action is a continuous kick, deeper in the water than Freestyle and with an emphasis on the up kick. The toes just break the surface of the water whilst the hips and knees should remain just below the surface. The kick emanates from the hips with relaxed ankles and knees flexing or bending on the downbeat and straightening on the forceful upbeat.

Timing: Unlike Freestyle where the arms catch up to each other, the arms in Backstroke stay opposite each other due to there being a fast high arm recovery and a relatively slow small arm pull. This is due to the inflexibility of the human body in this back position.

In order to attain good traction the arm must be deep on the pull. To do this, the shoulder on the pulling side must also roll down into the water. The result is that the opposing shoulder rises up out of the water. Whilst the body rolling assists the arms lift out and pull, the legs are counteracting this roll and keeping the body balanced. Assisting this is the head, which remains still.

Backstroke Skill Progressions


 

Set A. Buoyancy and kicking drills

  • The back kick section in water familiarization, buoyancy and mobility skills has a range of elementary drills for the Backstroke swimmer. Back float and kicking on the back are two skills that a swimmer should be capable of if they are to develop good confidence in the water.
  • Floating with an appropriate sized pullboard between the legs will assist in correcting body angle. (too large a pullboard will raise the torso too high) If the swimmer sits up (like sitting in an armchair) or bends in the middle (like a banana) the pullboard stops the legs from sinking but forces the legs in the air causing instability. The swimmer learns to:
  • press upwards in the middle (bend backwards)
  • push the feet down into the water
  • float better
  • become more stable
  • Kicking with the aid of a kickboard placed over the chest, allows for easy recovery to a standing position. If the kickboard is held away from the body and placed over the knees, this will assist in stopping the knees bending and breaking the surface of the water.
  • Kicking with one or two fins will enable a faster speed and promote a more streamlined body position.

Set B. Arm drills

Because of prior conditioning from Freestyle swimming, some swimmers initially have difficulty getting their arms to go around in the correct direction. Later faults usually result from incorrect body position.

  • The swimmer holds on to a kickboard fingers on top, thumbs under. Push the kickboard away from the body. Walk backwards through the water. Whilst walking, one hand lets go and, keeping the arm outstretched, raises up from the water, above the head, down past the leg and back to the kickboard. Repeat with the other hand.
  • Squat down in the water, until the shoulders are level with the surface. Repeat the above drill with a kickboard. This can also be done lying back in the water but still walking.
  • As with drill 1. now floating on the back, kicking with or without fins instead of walking backward.
  • Double-arm Backstroke. This is difficult to do because of the flexibility required to get both arms in the water at the same time. The rationale for the drill is that as the arms recover together, the swimmer must kick harder, developing a stronger kick. The pathway where the hands touch on the recovery is the pathway each arm must follow when alternate Backstroke arm strokes are used.

 

Set C. Stroke drills. Remember that a correct body position must be maintained whilst undertaking these drills.

  • Pull. Using a Pullboard, swim Backstroke. If the swimmer sits up at all, the feet will stick out of the water and the body becomes unstable. The swimmer is encouraged to press the feet down into the water, causing the hips to rise and the body to adopt a more streamlined attitude.
  • Paddles. A reminder that Backstroke swimmers cannot see where they are swimming, so using paddles with advanced learners requires good separation of swimmers. Swimming one way then stopping is a recommended safety strategy. Paddles encourage the correct hand entry (or little finger first) a good pitch of the hand throughout the underwater pull and press followed by a relaxed wrist first recovery out of the water.
  • Fins. Fins (or one fin) aid streamlining and encourages a smooth stroke pattern with an ideal leg kicking action. The stroke entry point will be more controlled and the catch phase at the beginning of the stroke is also improved. With fins, the stroke count will be reduced. It is not desirable to have swimmers impacting on the wall at speed. Therefore, a safety strategy of ceasing to swim once the flags or some other indicator is reached and just kicking to the wall with one arm extended is recommended.
  • Checkpoints. Do 6 kicks on the back with one arm extended and one arm by the side. After 6 kicks change the arms by doing half an arm stroke with each i.e. the arm extended comes through the water to the side and the arm by the side recovers over the water to the front. Kick whilst the arms are changing but do not worry about counting whilst arms are moving only whilst arms are stopped. After six kicks without moving the arms, change again. Once this skill is mastered, modify the drill to "3 kicks change" then "no kicks change". This advanced drill encourages arms opposite thus better stroke timing and promotes an improved shoulder roll with a stronger pull.

Swimmers should know how to utilise the backstroke flags to count the strokes to the end of the pool and thus know where the wall is without looking around. Swim from beyond the flags towards the wall. When the swimmer sees the flags, they should commence counting the strokes they do, whilst continuing to swim "normally". This will give the swimmer a stroke count from the flags to the wall. Teachers should warn swimmers that as they improve their stroke, grow in size or swim faster, that this stroke number might change to a lesser number.

The Backstroke stroke count to the wall may vary due to:

  • the height of the flags above water
  • the angle of the swimmers head changing when the flags are seen
  • variations in the distance from the flags to the wall
This is why, before competition, Backstroke swimmers should check out the competition pool for these subtle differences.

Backstroke Faults and Corrections

The maintenance of a good streamlined body position is vital to learning correct Backstroke technique. If a learner lifts the head or sits up in the water, this causes the legs to sink, the arms to enter wide and a myriad of other faults to develop. In the more advanced Backstroker, swimming crooked or not gaining a good catch at the beginning of the stroke appear to be the most prevalent faults.

Sitting up/ falling legs: The hips will sink when swimming if the arms are pausing by the legs. This can be due to the hand following the incorrect pathway, entering wide and getting to beside the legs before they should, causing one hand to catch up to the other. Swimming with both hands by the legs has lowered the centre of gravity away from the centre of buoyancy and thus the hips and feet sink.

The swimmer then attempts to raise the legs by “lifting” the feet causing an incorrect kick and further cause the legs to sink. The swimmer should be taken back to floating drills, adding kicking whilst maintaining body position then adding arms with body position still correct.

Sitting up also makes it impossible for the hand to enter the water at full stretch above the shoulders. The swimmer compensates by doing “windscreen wipers”. This is where the hand comes way across the centre line of the body, the arms swipe above the face with the elbows bent, and then the hand enters the water wide of the shoulders. To compensate for the additional body roll, the kick is characterised by a large knee bend with the knees drawn up towards the hips.

Once a correct body position is attained, the kick will be up and down with the feet and knees under the water and only a small amount of knee bend. The arms will enter above the shoulders and pull to the hips, then recover with a high arm reaching upwards over the centreline of the body.

If the arms recover wide the hand entry will be further across in front of the head or in some cases the opposite shoulder causing the body to “snake”, the hips and feet to sway. Effectively the swimmer will “swim 28 metres to get to the other end of a 25 metre pool”. Drills to dirrect focus on altering the pathway of the arms are to:

           • place at arm reach height above the swimmer the backstroke flags, a line of string or the Teacher’s hand and have swimmers touch the flags/string/hand with each stroke. Ensure that the arm brushes the swimmer’s ear and enters above the shoulders then pulls through the water and exits by the leg

           • swim with a pullboard. This will increase the swimmers awareness of the sway and encourage streamlining

If the arms are not directly opposite, the swimmer may start to “bob up and down” or “bounce” as a result of having two hands in the air at the same time. The weight of two arms out of the water causes slight sinking. Drills should alter arm patterning and improve the pull and the recovery whilst maintaining good body position. E.g.

           • 6 kick change. The swimmer glides on the back, kicking, with one arm outstretched at the entry point above the shoulders and the other at the exit point by the legs. After six kicks in this position, the arms stroke until they reach the opposite point, (i.e. half a stroke each) 6 kicks are then done with the arms stationary. Continue to repeat the sequence. By having these checkpoints, the arms and shoulder roll will synchronise and maintain opposition

           • Cheating drill. This can be done three ways. Use either the wall, an anti turbulent lane rope or a rope under the water. The swimmer backstrokes slowly using either the arm nearest the wall/rope or both arms. As the arm enters the water, the swimmer catches the wall/rope and pulls along (cheating). This encourages a bent arm underwater pull thus improving the timing of the two arms in relation to each other. This drill can also cause a dropped elbow so caution should be taken to ensure the pull is initiated from the shoulder and not the elbow. (make sure the lane rope is free of damaged floats and broken wire)

 

Crooked swimming is caused from one or a combination of three actions.

           • Head position. If the head is off centre or tilted to one side the swimmer will veer towards that side. Observe a swimmer backstroking towards the wall and then start to look around. They then swim off to that side. The head should be straight in line with the body. Observe the swimmer from above, underneath, behind and the side to ensure the body is laterally straight. The head should be kept still, with the eyes moving to look for reference points. Vision is enhanced if the swimmer maintains the back of the head down in the water, but with the chin slightly tucked in (as though a pillow is behind the head)

 

           • Kick. Both legs should kick with equal amounts of bend, height and effort. If one leg kicks more than another it is like “walking around in circles because one leg is longer than the other”

 

           • Arm Stroke. If one arm pulls stronger than the other pulls, or takes a longer stroke than the other takes, this imbalance will send the swimmer on a tangent towards the weaker side. Teachers should check for an even and balanced stroke with both arms from a range of viewpoints

 

Which one? One method of determining which is the cause of the fault is by isolating the kick or the arms and seeing if the swimmer still goes crooked. Try:

           • kicking with the hands above the head

           • backstroking with a pullboard

           • swimming with the eyes shut

for a set number of strokes (so that the swimmer does not swim into the wall). If the swimmer can go straight whilst kicking or with a pullboard, then it indicates the likelihood that the other segment of the stroke is the cause. Sometimes it can be an imbalance of both or all three

 

In advanced swimmers, swimming with the eyes shut stops the swimmer from compensating as they usually do to correct themselves. E.g. If a faulty kick is pushing the swimmer to one side, the swimmer may compensate by deliberately generating an imbalance in the arms resulting in a straight-line backstroke. Eyes shut or goggles blacked out will cause the swimmer to backstroke naturally and for faults previously masked to become known.

Breaststroke

Breaststroke is governed by more rules than any other stroke. Historically it is the oldest stroke with records dating back to Before Christ.

So many beginners refer to this stroke as the "Frog Stroke" even though many may never have seen a frog swim!

The underwater arm recovery, rather than over the water recovery with Freestyle, Backstroke and Butterfly means that Breaststroke is the slowest of the four elite competitive strokes.

Unlike the other competitive strokes where the arms generate most of the propulsion, Breaststroke is powered more by the leg kick, which is in effect a sculling action.

Simplified Breaststroke Rules

The arms and legs must go around together in a mirror image paired action, staying in the same horizontal plane. The rules allow for the recovery of the arms to be under or on the water but not out of the water and permit the feet to break the surface of the water as no advantage is gained by this action. This means for each arm stroke there will be a corresponding kick.

Turn the feet outside the line of the legs. The backward propulsive phase of the kick must be done with the inside of the lower legs and the insteps or soles of the feet.

In competitive racing, the first stroke after the start or the turn may be one full underwater stroke (and one kick) with the head breaking the surface before the inward part of the second stroke commences.

At some stage during each arm and leg cycle excepting the first stroke after the start and each turn, some part of the head must break the surface of the water.

At the turn and the finish, the hands must touch the wall together at the same time.

Ideal Breaststroke

 

Body position: By tilting the head and looking forward, the feet can be kept below the surface. This head tilt causes the body to angle downwards more than any other stroke increasing resistance forces.

The newer variations of Breaststroke tend to have the head and hips undulating or teetering up and down as the legs kick. As the legs are drawn up towards the buttocks, the hips drop and as the legs straighten the hips rise to the surface. This transferring of energy from the body helps put more drive into the kick.

Arms: The pathway of the arms like all other strokes is characterised by a sudden change in direction when the hands are out in front. It is important that the hands do not make a sudden change in direction as they approach the chest as this slows the recovery. The hands start slowly and gradually accelerate throughout the stroke, attaining maximum speed on the reach forward. The hands stay out in front of the shoulders at all times excepting on the start and turn when one longer stroke underwater is permitted. The timing and stroke aspects of this stroke are dealt with separately later in this chapter.

Timing: As the arms commence the inwards part of the stroke, the feet begin to draw up towards the buttocks. The hands and arms are well into the recovery as the feet press away from the buttocks and the legs begin their propulsive phase.

Breaststroke Skill Progressions


 

The undulating rocking of the body in Breaststroke is necessary to enable the kick to be completed whilst keeping the feet in the water. The motion also enables the mouth to clear the water for a breath. Drills should usually replicate this motion.

Kicking. First attempts at kicking are usually done in a controlled way so that correct patterning occurs.

     On land. Learners sit on a kickboard on the ground with the Teacher facing them in a similar position. The Teacher talks through the steps of the kick with a demonstration and learners mimicking each phase. Phase one, sitting with the legs together and extended, drawing the heels up towards the buttocks. Phase two, once the feet have been drawn up, turn the knees out and the feet away from each other. Phase three, kick around in a circle with the legs finishing back in the start position i.e. straight and together. This drill enables the learners to see what their legs are doing. In some rare cases, the direction of the learner's feet may be incorrect. In this case, mark the pathway and direction arrows on the pool deck with chalk and permit the learners to follow the marks with their feet. As the knees are drawn towards the chest in this drill and this is undesirable in a correct kick, this drill should only be used sparingly as an introduction to the following drills. A similar drill, but with the variation of the Student sitting in a chair, will decrease the lifting of the knees to the chest

     Lying on the edge of the pool, a table or bench seat with the legs from the hips down, hanging over the edge. The learner moves their legs with the Teacher assisting and guiding the feet. The Teacher should do this in such a way that the learner is actually pushing against the Teachers hands rather than passively relaxing their muscles and letting the Teacher do all the movement. Do not have learner lie fully on the pool deck or with their legs in contact with a surface as they will be unable to turn the knees out and get the feet turned out.

     The same drill as above can be undertaken with the learner lying on the pool deck with their legs hanging over the pool edge into the water with no assistance from the Teacher (pool design permitting).

     In the water, learners should make first attempts holding on to the wall with one hand on the edge and the other hand with fingers pointing downwards (as shown on images above) levering the body towards the surface. A mirror held in front of the swimmer may also enhance their ability to grasp the concept by actually being able to see what is occurring behind them.

 

     Once the skill is mastered on the wall of the pool, the learner can then progress to first attempts on a large kickboard positioned under the front half of the body. The kickboard should be positioned in such a manner that a floating buoyant equilibrium with the head out of the water and the feet about 30 centimetres under the water is attained. The swimmer can thus concentrate on the kicking pathway without fear that the feet will sink. The three phases of the kick should be emphasized. Phase one – the feet are drawn together up to the buttocks slowly. Phase two - the feet (and knees) are turned out. Phase three – the feet forcibly go around and back as the legs straighten. The variation in the speed between the kick and the leg recovery is important to efficient kicking from a very early stage.

     As the kick improves in speed and efficiency, the kickboard can be moved further out to the front and the size of the kickboard reduced. Variations of kicking on the kickboard include:-

        holding on to the back of the kickboard, fingers on top and thumbs underneath, do Breaststroke kick. As the knees bend, drop the hips and raise the shoulders so that the head rises out of the water. As the legs kick and straighten, allow the hips to rise and the shoulders to drop. Make sure the head continues to look forwards under the kickboard when the face is in the water and over the kickboard when the face is out

        arms over the top of the kickboard, holding on to the leading edge of the kickboard, face out the whole time. Draw the feet up slowly, whip the feet together fast, and glide at the end of each kick

     Without the kickboard, do the first drill described in 6 – i.e. kicking and breathing with the hands in front the whole time. Variations on this drill are:

        to do the kick with the hands down by the side. As the knees bend the hips drop, head and shoulders rise and a breath is taken (frog drill)

        same as the previous drill and as the feet are drawn up, the hands touch the heels. This ensures the feet are drawn up sufficiently

 

Arms.

As described in drill 6 previously, kicking and breathing can be developed without the need to use the arms. The arms basically assist the swimmer to raise the shoulders to get the face clear of the water for a breath. If the swimmer can do this drill, it is simply a matter of attempting a small stroke that fits in with the legs and gradually increasing the size of the stroke scull whilst keeping it comfortable with the kick. It will be evident when the arm scull is too big as the legs will be idle for a period and the swimmer will start to bob up and down more. Ensure that the arm pathway continues to have gradual change in direction when the hands approach the chest with a more sudden change in direction after the hands have stretched out in front.

 

Other drills to enhance arms stroking are:-

     Breaststroke pull. Breaststroke pull is not usually undertaken with a buoyancy aid as this promotes an incorrect body position. Rather, the legs should remain together with the toes pointed with the knees bending and straightening without the swimmer gaining any propulsion from the legs. The body and arms moving as usual. This will strengthen the arm pull.

     a further variation of drill 1. (above) is for the swimmer to do a normal stroke and kick, followed by a pull stroke. Thus, it is really two arms strokes to one leg kick, and again promotes use of the arms.

     an alternate variation is two kick to one arm stroke. The first cycle is a normal stroke, then the arms are kept in front whilst a second kick and breath are taken. This promotes the stretch of the arms in front after the kick. A further variation is the this skill done underwater, promoting the drive down and forwards after the breath.

     push off and glide. When a tap is heard, swimmers do one arm stroke, kick and breath, and then glide again till the next tap. Sound travels further and faster underwater. The tapping sound can be generated by placing a backstroke pole in the water and gently tapping it with another piece of metal or wood. This enables the Teacher to control the glide and stretch of the arms in front. The drill can also be attempted with swimmers controlling the glide with a 1-2-3 count whilst the hands are in front (it is surprising how fast some swimmers can count!).

 

Underwater Breaststroke: Underwater Breaststroke can be used in competition for the one stroke underwater allowed by the rules on the start and after each turn. In addition, it is a useful skill to have for search and recovery rescues, surfing, and safety (such as escaping from a burning boat). There are two main types of underwater Breaststroke – search pattern and distance.

 

Search pattern requires the swimmer to feel with their hands as they go and to search an area thoroughly. The distance travelled is not important. Usually this is swum with a head down angle, a small weak kick and a wide arm stroke.

 

Distance Breaststroke aims to take the swimmer as far as efficiently possible on each stroke. The arm stroke is a long "key hole pull" similar to the underwater phase of the Butterfly arm stroke with the hands finishing by the legs. 

 

Once the hands are by the legs, there is a long glide, and then the legs do a full complete kick as the arms recover along the front of the body. 

 

There is a much shorter pause once the arms are outstretched which is about the same time as the kick finishes.

 

If the stroke is used for underwater swimming, the cycle is repeated. Proficient underwater swimmers still utilise the pauses at the end of the pull and the arm recovery as these improve the stroke efficiency and saves on energy usage thus prolonging the ability to "stay under".  

Breaststroke Faults and Corrections

Breaststroke CorrectionAs with all other strokes, to learn Breaststroke well requires the learner to maintain a good body position. Body position in Breaststroke changes throughout the stroke and is controlled by the movement of the hips and shoulders causing a rocking motion of the body. This results in the head popping out of the water once each stroke and kick cycle. As most propulsion in the stroke is from the legs, emphasis in acquiring skills and developing an efficient stroke should focus firstly on the legs. A good body motion combined with a strong kick will promote efficient arm technique much more readily.

Kick

Foot turned in /whip kick. The feet have to be turned out on the backward phase (when the feet move away from the butt) of the kick in order to gain propulsion and maximize the use of lift forces and water friction. To turn the feet out the legs must pivot out. This is achieved by rotating at the hips, as the hip joint is a ball and socket joint. Being hinge joints, the knees are not capable of providing the ability to turn the feet. If one knee is turned in, then the foot will turn in with the result that the foot loses traction as the propulsive phase of the kick occurs. The problem is usually identified as a "leg problem" but often the kick is done with a foot turned in, as this assists in keeping the legs up if they are sinking, especially if drills on a kickboard are being done. All kickboard drills undertaken should have the kickboard position adjusted to ensure the body is on the surface with the feet under the water. This may mean, similar to Freestyle that the swimmer's body is positioned on the kickboard, or a body board is used in the first few attempts.

Other drills used to correct this habit are:

·    the swimmer kicks along beside the wall with the incorrectly kicking foot beside the wall. As the swimmer kicks, they place the foot on the wall and push themselves along. This encourages the foot to turn out in order that the toes can make contact with the wall. One hand may have to hold the wall in order to stay close to the side

·    Breaststroke kick done on the back (like a Survival Backstroke kick) with a kickboard extended down over the knees and the stomach pushed up in the gap between the arms. The kickboard physically assists in pushing the knees outwards. This drill is also useful if the knees are drawn up under the chest when kicking on the front. It is not easy on the back for the knees be lifted out of the water. If the kickboard is turned so that it is held sideways, a physical barrier is also put in place to stop the knees lifting. Teachers should encourage swimmers to keep the hips close to the surface of the water and knees under

·    to swim with the head turned around to the same side as the incorrect foot. When a knee turns in, the foot points and one hip drops. Lifting the dropped hip up by turning the head around to the side, raises the knee up and out and forces the foot to turn out. Once the habit is broken, gradually turn the head back to a forward position

Long arm pull

A long arm pull down to the hips each stroke usually develops due to the arms trying to compensate for a weak kick. Overcorrection by swimming with a small stroke/scull gradually increasing in size until the desired arm stroke pattern is achieved combined with strengthening and improvement of the kick.

Up and down bobbing

This is a result of any incorrect timing of the kick, arms and breathing. Usually also evident is a long arm stroke. The recovery of the stroke underwater coincides with the legs being drawn up to the buttocks. The two actions in combination cause a "dead spot", stopping forward movement in the water and forcing the body to drop.

 

 

Butterfly

Butterfly originated from Breaststroke. Between 1933 and the early 1960’s, the arms in Breaststroke were recovered over the water by some swimmers searching to reduce the resistance on the recovery.

This became another stroke called Butterfly in order to preserve the integrity of the ancient Breaststroke style.

Until 2002, the stroke could be swum with a Breaststroke kick but this is no longer allowed under the rules for elite competition though still permissible under masters swimming rules.

Simplified Butterfly Rules

Breaststroke RulesButterfly is basically the "three togethers".

The arms must go down through the water and around over the water together, the feet must go up and down together (or in masters swimming they may go around together – Breaststroke kick) and the hands must touch the wall together. The shoulders must also be kept level with the surface of the water.

It is permissible to Butterfly kick with one leg higher than the other is or legs apart, so long as both go up at the same time and down at the same time.

Ideal Butterfly


 

In its simplest form, Butterfly can be described as "double arm Freestyle". It is an unforgiving stroke that requires the swimmer to swim technically correct or it becomes exponentially harder.

For beginners it can be likened to cracking a whip. The handle (head, arms and shoulders) is moved and the result is that the tail moves (hips, knees and feet). In a swimmer, this transfer of movement from top to toe will occur if the water is supporting the swimmers body and the swimmer is relaxed. This can only be achieved with correct body position, which essentially means the head must be positioned correctly. Note there is a large degree of neck flexation throughout the stroke cycle.

This movement of the head combined with the rise and fall of the shoulders causes the rest of the body to "dolphin" or bend in the middle and the legs to flick up and down. This bending transfers energy from the upper body through to the legs and puts more drive into the kick as well as assisting in getting the head clear of the water for a breath by causing the shoulders to rise as the head rises.

The pathway for the hands and arms is similar to a chin up over the edge of the pool. Imagine standing in the water with your hands on the pool edge. You are going to lift yourself up out of the water over the edge. You start out with you arms straight and gradually bring your body closer to the wall, bending your elbows up to about 110 degrees when the hands are in front of the chest. Once the hands are past the chest, the arms gradually straighten again until they reach your legs.

The Butterfly underwater stroke is similar, excepting that there can be some sideway sculling movement of the arms as they move backwards.

The arm stroke is characterized by a sudden change in direction as the hands enter the water. This can, at times appear as though the hands have paused after the entry. The hands then follow a keyhole pathway gradually accelerating in speed.

Once the arms are past their maximum elbow bend, (usually when the hands are in front of the chest) the arms rapidly accelerate down towards the legs, with the momentum of the push back, in combination with the shoulders rising, causing the arms to recover with a full wide stroke out to the side.

Once the hip/knee/leg/feet movement is evidenced and the pattern developed, the Teacher can then encourage the learner to "kick" and move the legs to aid propulsion. The emphasis in the kick is on the downward action with the legs and knees relaxing on the upward.

This whole body action enables the shoulders and head to raise as the hands approach the legs, so that the breath is taken as the hands pass the legs. The head and shoulders stay up to aid in the recovery of the arms. Once the arms are past the shoulders on the recovery over the water the neck bends, dropping the head and shoulders down rapidly, whilst the arms continue around to stretch out in front.

By the time Butterfly is taught, the learner will have a diverse range of aquatic skills developed through their acquisition of Freestyle and Backstroke. This enables the Teacher to potentially take bigger progressions in their teaching drills, still with the underlying thought that a learner must show they have "learned" the skill at each step of the way.

Butterfly Skill Progressions


Because it is a whole body action when Butterfly is swum, it is best to use the whole body when "kicking" though the word "wiggling" is often also used to impress the whole body action.

  • with the arms by the side, float on the front. Stay relaxed and quickly move the head, shoulders and butt up and down about 30 centimetres (bending and straightening in the middle - like bowing), allowing the legs, knees and feet to bend and respond as they like.
  • as with 1. and now keeping the hands extended in front to control the depth, add fins and wiggle. Try this on the surface as well as 0.5 metre under water for about 10 kicks.
  • lie on the side with the lower arm extended and the other arm by the side, dolphin kick using a whole body action. This promotes a leg drive in both the up and down action of the kick.
  • advanced Butterfly swimmers can also try a dolphin kick action to tread water either with the hands assisting by sculling or with the hands clear of the water. This improves efficiencies in the kick and strengthens the legs. First attempts may be of only a short duration.

Arms:  Whilst it is important to learn the correct arm/hand pathway, learning the change in speed of the hand as it moves through the water is equally important.

  • with the arms extended, glide on the front. Bring the arms down together slowly to the side, then around over the water to the front as fast as you can.
  • as in drill 1. and with a keyhole pull and the increase in hand speed occurring once the hand passes the chest.
  • as in drill 2. and as the hands pass the chest, arch the back, raise the shoulders and increase the arm speed.
  • as in drill three, and allowing the hips, knees and feet to relax so that they move as the shoulders rise and fall.

 

Breathing and timing: As the hands begin their inward sweep out in front, the neck begins to extend and the head rises so that as the hands approach the legs, the head and mouth is clear of the water and a breath taken. It is important the head stay up so that the shoulders assist the arms out of the water until the arms are half way through the recovery. At this point, the neck can bend the head downwards again and the shoulders can drop.

  • One arm Butterfly. To get the arms out of the water the shoulders must lift up. One drill which can assist the learner achieve this is to swim with one arm. Teachers can suggest different patterns of this such as 3 strokes change. Three strokes are done with the left arm, whilst the other arm remains extended out in front. Then swap and do three strokes with the right arm, then follow this with three strokes with both arms. Repeat the cycle of 3 left, 3 right, 3 both arms until the swimmer gets to the end point. Breathing should still be to the front or slightly to the stroking side. The swimmer can raise one arm easier than two arms. By doing each side correctly, the swimmer is more likely to carry this pattern through to both arms interspersed in the drill.
  • Breathing rotations. Often the head does not drop quickly enough for the body to re-attain a buoyant equilibrium before the next stroke cycle. By breathing less frequently, the swimmer can better judge the ideal body position. Breath 1 stroke, then after 2 strokes and then after 3 strokes and so on up to 6 strokes without a breath (ascending set) then work the way back down (descending set) breathing after 6, then 5 then 4 and so on to 1. This allows time for the head to get back down and the legs to rise into correct position.

Butterfly Faults and Corrections

If the Teacher emphasises the lifting of the hands out of the water and the learner follows this instruction, the result can be the arms going up into the air, and the shoulders being forced downwards. This is opposite to what should be happening and appears at times as if the learner is doing about 3 wiggles per arm stroke. The emphasis should be on lifting the shoulders and bringing the arms wide around out to the side. One arm alternating drills will assist in raising the shoulders instead of lowering them.

Another fault often seen is "limping" where one arm is up out of the water and the other recovers through the water or alternately one hand arrives at the front before the other causing an unbalanced appearance. This is a consequence of the arms not exiting the water correctly. The arms should have a full wide recovery, leading with the back of the hands, thumbs turned down. If instead, as the hands pass the legs the swimmer twists the hands to reach thumbs and fingers first. This will cause the elbow to drop and "snag" or catch on the water slowing the recovery velocity. The result is that this arm is more difficult to recover, recovers slower and thus takes longer to get to the entry point or if a beginner, the swimmer takes the easy alternate and may recover the arm through the water. Alternating stroking as in one arm Butterfly will assist, with emphasis on the hand pitch (thumbs down) and width of recovery with shoulders up. An overcorrection drill would also be to get the swimmer to swim with the head turned slightly to the "weaker side" encouraging the shoulders to even up, thus creating a scenario where the arms will recover over the water. Over-practise of this drill can lead to a dropped shoulder the other side.

If the neck does not flex to enable the head to rise and fall, the result will be that the swimmer will swim up for a breath and then collapse down into the water. This swim up, fall down style is not efficient as the momentum of forward movement is lost. By bending the neck, to drop the head into the water after a breath, the hips are raised. This up and down movement of the hips transfers to the legs, forcing an up and down movement of the feet – a partial kick, supplemented by the action of the swimmer.

Medleys, Competitive Starts and Turns

These items are taught within swimming squads and are covered in the ascta Swim Australia ™ Teacher of Competitive Swimming (SAT CS). 

Please click below to indicate you have read and understood Unit 5, and are ready to proceed to the Unit 5 Exam

  • Yes, I am ready to take the Unit 5 Exam

Excellence in Teaching

Excellence in Teaching

The day a Teacher stops wanting to learn is the day that the passion to teach is lost. Teaching is a skill that requires a lifetime of study.

Good Teachers strive to continually improve their skills and knowledge, whilst applying their knowledge and using their skills in an ethical, moral and legal manner to all who choose to partake.

The Introduction to Water Unit presented basic pedagogy. This unit examines the industry practises of teaching applied to aquatics and provides tricks of the trade provided by Teachers with many years of experience as well as a review of legal and ethical practise in aquatics.

Teaching Constraints

“There are two types of worry. The first is worry you can do something about and if you do something about it then you no longer have to worry. The second type is worry that you can do nothing about – so why worry about it.”

 

The activities of Swim Australia Teachers are influenced by a range of factors such as:

 

·   legal requirements in the form of charters, statutes, acts and bylaws created by the United Nations, Commonwealth, State and local governments

·   types of activity being undertaken and thus the degree of danger inherent in the activity measured against the ability of the Students

·   the venue and its design or environment

·   previous accidents and incidents

·   the knowledge, training and qualifications of the Teacher

·   insurance and accreditation requisites

·   the ethical and moral character of the Teacher

Criminal and Civil Law

The United Nations has a range of charters to which many nations worldwide (including Australia) have signed agreement to. Amongst other things, they cover the rights of children, sporting coaches, officials, parents and sporting participants.

 

These charters are taken into account when national governments develop laws and their legal systems.

 

There are essentially two types of legal processes (criminal and civil) if a Student, parent or someone else feels aggrieved for any reason.

 

Criminal proceedings are based upon actual laws enacted by governments. A person is innocent until proven guilty and guilt must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. The action is brought by the government against the accused on behalf of the victim. Depending upon the seriousness of the breach of law as to which level of court may hear the case. Minor breaches of law may only result in on the spot fines whilst more serious breaches can result in summons to court or even arrest.

 

Civil proceedings are based upon principals of law. A victim may bring a case to court against an accused and must prove on the balance of probability that the allegation is true. This case is at the victims own expense unless costs are awarded against the accused at the end of the trial.

 

In some instances potential victims have the opportunity of having their case pursued via both processes.

 

An example of this is the well known O.J. Simpson case in the USA where he was accused of murdering is wife. The criminal court found there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed the murder of his wife. But his wife’s family received compensation via the civil court which found on the balance of probability that O.J. “denied his wife’s children of their mother” by probably committing her murder.

 

The law of double jeopardy means that a person cannot be tried for the same crime twice if found innocent the first time. Sometimes a different charge is brought in order to convict a “guilty person”.

Swimming Teachers and the Law

Many risks that Teachers encounter relate to the business activity surrounding the Teacher rather than actual delivery of tuition.

 

Whilst there are many legal requirements affecting Teachers, the reality is that each year very few Teachers have any difficulties. As with any teaching or physical activity there is a degree of risk. This is why ascta has you insured whilst you undertake your course requirements and offers an industry insurance scheme at group rates once you gain your Swim Australia ™ Teacher accreditation.

 

A range of laws and legislation impacts upon the activities of Swim Australia ™ Teachers because of issues relating to:

 

·   teaching

·   being employed or contracted to deliver a service

·   operating a business

·   the ownership of the venue (especially schools or government)

 

In many jurisdictions a law, statute or by law is made by one level of government and enforced by another level. In broad terms these operating requirements and the resulting penalties for breaches are controlled by:

 

Federal      

·   privacy Laws – photos, medical and client information, storage and use thereof

·   superannuation guarantees

·   tax laws, wages and conditions

·   harassment and discrimination

·   accreditation and qualification requirements

·   copyright

·   business names and registration, trademarks and logos, domain names

·   contract law – venue hire, sponsorships, purchasing equipment, insurance

·   trade practises – pricing, collusion with competitors, restraint of trade

·   legal Principles of Natural Justice, Duty of Care, In loco parentis

·   signage as per Australian Standards

 

State          

·   assault, aggravated assault, sexual assault

·   paedophilia, criminal checks, approval to work with children

·   health

·   operating hours

·   wages and conditions, workers compensation

·   supervision levels

·   hygiene and sanitation

 

Local          

·   hygiene and sanitation enforcement

·   car parking

·   signage regulations

·   trading hours

·   noise levels

·   building codes such as toilets, fencing

·   minimum qualifications to operate pool, supervision levels

 

Venue owner    

·   contracts

·   insurance

·   trading hours

 

Employers  

·   qualification requirements such as Teaching, Coaching, CPR, lifeguarding

·   criminal checks

 

Industry association

·   Code of Conduct

·   standard of accreditation

Duty of Care

Awareness of all the tiers of legal concepts and ethical principles should empower the Teacher to behave as others would expect.

 

The Teacher should act and make decisions in a similar manner to what a parent of a Student would (in loco parentis). The Teacher has a Duty of Care to keep Students safe in their care. In a given set of circumstances, if a Teacher fails to provide care in a manner that a reasonable person would be expected to, then they may be found negligent. Negligence is a common legal claim in teaching occupations.

 

To be found negligent, a Teacher must be found to have:

·   Breached their duty of care

·   Caused an injury

·   Owed a duty of care to the injured person and that the injury resulted from the breach of duty.

If one of these is not proven then there is no case of negligence to answer to.

 

The level of care and thus the duty owed by a Teacher, will increase or decrease depending on the “risk”. Risk will vary depending on:

 

·   the knowledge of the Teacher gained through courses and experience. The higher the qualifications and the more the experience, the greater the expectation is that a Teacher can deliver an acceptable standard of care

·   the degree of difficulty of the activity. The standard of care will increase as the perceived and actual danger of an activity increases. Such an increase may be as a result of new activities undertaken for the first time, the depth of water or the prior learning of the Students. Generally activities with a higher difficulty require closer supervision with modified lower Teacher to Student ratios especially for first attempts by Students. E.g. The first time a group of Students swim in deep water they should attempt this activity one at a time so the Teacher can monitor each Student individually.

·   the ability of the Student. A huge variety of factors may impact. Here are some examples

  1. Swimming ability may vary depending on the environment. A pool swimmer may not be a competent swimmer in a current! 
  2. Beginners usually require greater supervision than more advanced swimmers. The older the Student, the greater their mental capacity and understanding of danger. Adult Students lose physical capacity as they age so may need more care as they get older. Age is based upon mental capacity.
  3. Comprehension and language will affect how well an instruction is actioned by a Student.
  4. Physical and mental impairment will affect a Student’s ability to absorb and translate information at a similar rate to their peers. A mentally impaired 16 year old may only have the capacity of the average 5 year old, therefore the duty of care owed is similar to what is provided to a five year old.
  5. Unacceptable behaviour by a Student such as disobeying defined rules increases the Teacher’s duty of care to keep that Student safe and other Students out of harm’s way

·    Prior situations. If a Teacher becomes aware of a danger e.g. broken tile, then they have duty to inform others (Students, the pool management, and other Teachers) of the potential hazard. Written reporting of these situations to management will provide a chain of responsibility should the issue arise again later

Insurance

The major point for Teachers to recognise is that no matter what actions have been taken, how qualified they are and how much planning they have put in place, risk will still exist.

 

Therefore the prudent Teacher will recognise the need for Insurance. It is important that Teachers do not just assume that their employer will “cover them” for insurance. In fact, many employers are unsure about Insurance needs and assume that because they have a policy that it covers “everything”.

 

Ideally, the venue in which the Teacher is operating should have insurance for Public Liability. Public Liability covers any person including Teachers on the premises for accidents caused by the physical venue or others (third parties).

 

Because a Teacher is operating in an official capacity, professional indemnity insurance which covers the Teacher for incorrect actions or omissions is considered necessary. In most cases the Teacher must access this type of insurance coverage themselves via an industry organisation such as ascta (around $2 per week) as it is rarely provided by venues or employers.

Industry Practise

Following generally accepted industry practise, most Teachers require the parents of Students to provide information and consents such as:

 

·   the name of the Student

·   the address and contact details of the Student

·   medical information and/or learning difficulties of the Student that the Teacher should know about

·   Parental Consent for the activity (where swimming in school groups)

·   permission to use images of the child for publicity and promotion

·   consent to have promotional information sent to the client (usually parent) by email or mail

·   acknowledgement of information given such as privacy statement, notification of terms and conditions of enrolment

 

Information gathered must be needed by the Teacher, venue management or swimming club to effectively carry out their role or it should not be collected.

 

Teachers must understand that with this information and knowledge, there is a responsibility to know how to act on the collected information. E.g. If a Teacher knows a Student suffers from epilepsy then the Teacher owes a higher duty of care to ensure that the Student always has a spotter present for lessons.

 

Teachers should be aware of the privacy implications of holding such information. Teachers and swim schools must not divulge information to third parties except in exceptional circumstances e.g. it relates to providing medical treatment or required by law.

 

Other data Teachers should retain are records of attendance of Students, lesson plans and accident or incident report forms.

Accidents and Incidents

An accident is where bodily injury actually occurs that requires some response whereas an incident is a circumstance or situation that required monitoring. E.g. something is stolen, a photo is taken by a suspicious person or an unusual occurrence is observed.

 

Once an accident or incident has occurred it then becomes foreseeable that such an occurrence could happen again. Failure to act to prevent reoccurrences may be deemed negligent.

 

By tracking such accidents or incidents a Teacher can identify future risks, monitor for patterns emerging and make appropriate changes to management procedures and responses.

 

Reports also provide a record of actions undertaken should questions arise in the future about the accident or incident.

 

In summary:

 

·   know the teaching environment

·   know your Students’ capabilities

·   know your own capabilities

·   plan your lessons and maintain lesson records

·   provide appropriate rescue aids and teaching equipment

·   supervise to the level required of the activity

·   advice Students of the rules, risks and your expectations

·   practise and document rescue scenarios

·   treat everyone with respect

 

Should an accident or incident occur, a report (you may base this on the pro forma provided in the appendix) should be compiled as soon as practical after the event. The report should be as detailed as possible. A more serious accident or incident should have a more detailed report.

 

A good report will contain details on:

·   the location of the event - time, venue

·   who was involved and their contact details – victim, rescuers, witnesses

·   a chronological sequence of the event with your observations and timelines

·   the type of injuries sustained and the treatment provided

·   name, signature and date of completion of the report

·   countersignature for the receipt of the report and notations on where and when the report has gone

 

Where a report form is provided by an employer for completion, the Teacher should retain a copy of the completed form. If other information is available, the Teacher should complete a personal re

Harrassment

Teachers are liable for their own actions. An emerging area of concern relates to Harassment. Harassment is defined by the Australian Sports Commission as consisting of “offensive, abusive, belittling or threatening behaviour directed at a person or people because of a particular characteristic of that person or people (including the person or person’s level of empowerment relative to the harasser)”.

 

The behaviour must be “unwelcomed by the recipient and the sort of behaviour a reasonable person would recognise as unwelcome.”

 

Unwelcome actions may take the form of:

·   abusive behaviour such as verbal or physical assault, practical jokes, bullying, humiliation or misuse of power

·   discrimination based on age, gender, disability, family status, physical attributes, moral beliefs, political beliefs, religious beliefs, race, sexual orientation, pregnancy, employment status

·   sexual harassment such as pressure for sex, unwelcome advances and verbal or written propositions

·   victimisation as a result of another person’s actions

Risk Management

Risk ManagementA prudent Teacher will use a continually evolving risk reduction strategy. The potential for a particular risk can change in very small time frames. E.g. in 20 minutes the risk of lightning occurring can go from 0 to 100% thus requiring a risk minimising strategy of removing Students from the water and placing them in a safe location.

Risk Management Process

1. Identify potential risks – By identifying risks, a Teacher can develop appropriate responses. This can occur by looking at the history of a particular location:

·   logs of swimming accidents and incidences
·   folklore from other Coaches, Teachers and venue users
·   information gained at training courses and workshops
·   understanding what are generally accepted industry practises
·   undertaking ongoing training and education
·   independent assessment of potential risks by a third party

2. Assess the risk – Once identified, the potential risks should be prioritised based upon the likelihood of an occurrence, the resultant severity of the occurrence and the ease with which change to negate the risk can be undertaken.

3. Managing the risk – Actions should be taken based upon the assessment to:

·   minimise exposure to risks
·   undertake alternate actions
·   modify tuition
·   alter the learning environment
·   eliminate or minimise the severity of an occurrence
·   practise emergency scenarios and fine tune emergency plans

4. Review risk – Risk can alter by changes occurring to the:

·   environment
·   climate
·   class size
·   Student’s ability
·   activity
·   law
·   current understanding of education, physiology and psychology

Swim Australia Teachers should regularly evaluate the potential risks associated with their venue, particular class and activities. The following matrix provides guidance.

Assess the likelihood or frequency of a particular incident or accident and plot this against the severity. The chance of spinal injury is highly unlikely but is severe therefore an urgent response is required from a Teacher.

If Students were occasionally scrapping their hand against a broken lane rope, the frequency is low to medium, and the severity is low. Action would be taken to advise all other Teachers of the risk; Teachers would keep Students away from the offending broken part: the broken part would be taped over to make it temporarily safe and remedial action would be planned to replace the part. Reports on the lane rope injuries will also enable an assessment on the degree of injury, the number of injuries and thus the urgency of a response.

 

 

Code of Conduct

National Sporting Organisations take many of the things discussed earlier in this unit into account when developing Codes of Conduct.

Swimming Australia and ASCTA have a Behaviour Management Policy or Code of Conduct. In order to maintain accreditation, all swimming coaches and Swim Australia ™ Teachers must continue to abide by these Codes.

The Code of Conduct covers practises which decrease the possibility of harassment, discrimination and unacceptable behaviour by Teachers. The following table will provide you with some “food for thought” about how Teachers should behave and act.

BEHAVIOURS OF “BETTER SWIMMING TEACHERS”

Cognitive Behaviours

·   Good Teacher
·   Taught every swimmer, every aspect of the sport
·   Taught sportsmanship and respect for opponent
·   Stressed fundamentals
·   Knew the sport
·   Set goals for swimmers and learners
·   Great knowledge, communication and motivational skills
·   Good teaching techniques
·   Practices were intense, but fun … arranged routines and used new drills
·   Organised, calm, but in control

Affective Behaviours

·   Good motivator
·   Made the sport fun
·   Could talk to and trust
·   Cared about the swimmers
·   Very positive
·   Patient, supportive and interested in swimmers as people
·   Practice was fun
·   Cared about swimmers away from the pool
·   Was honest
·   Could always go to about anything
·   A great friend
·   Knew how it felt to have a bad performance
·   Always believed in swimmers ability
·   Warm, compassionate, understanding and honest
·   Cared for the development of the swimmer
·   Good personality traits
·   Built confidence in swimmers
·   Sparked pride in swimmers
·   Was enthusiastic
·   Was honest
·   Encouraged swimmers
·   Friend FIRST ... Teacher SECOND
·   Showed and earned respect

Physical Behaviours

·   Never humiliated swimmers
·   Showed confidence in swimmers
·   Was creative and exciting 
·   A role model
·   Was fair and consistent
·   Easy to talk to
·   Treated all swimmers fairly
·   Listened to swimmers
·   Fair and consistent
·   Was more than a Teacher/coach ... a friend
·   Was there for swimmers, in and out of the pool
·   Participated with swimmers
·   Stressed improvement
·   Let swimmers make some decisions
·   Used swimmers’ input
·   Did not scream or yell at you
·   Did not dwell on mistakes
·   Never criticised or belittled
·   Made swimmers feel important by working one-to-one
·   Fair … gave everyone a chance

 

 

Competency

As part of the Swim Australia Teacher course requirements you are required to undertake an "on the job" competency assessment. This section provides you with details of what will be assessed. This list is not exhaustive but represents the minimum standard of delivery expected.

RESPONSIBILITY

Required swim aids were            

      • Checked for usability

      • Appropriate to drills

      • Readily available on poolside

      • Safely positioned

      • Maintained and cleaned

      • Returned to storage after use

      • The Teacher commenced and completed the lesson on time

      • The Teacher “took charge” of the class and instructed in a confident manner

 

SAFETY

      • Medical conditions of Students were known

      • Prior behaviour and learning problems of Students were known

      • Pool emergency procedures and exit options were known

      • Observation of class was maintained to a safe standard

      • The lesson area of pool was defined and boundaries were not crossed

      • Students entered, exited and moved safely within the lesson area

      • The Teacher was aware of the water depths in and around the lesson area

      • Locations of activities were appropriate (in relation to depth, other swimmers/classes, noise levels, sun, wind, distractions, parents location)

      • Distances swum were commensurate with the Student’s physical ability, energy level and mental preparedness

      • Rescue aids were located strategically close to the lesson area

      • Location of rescue aids were known

      • Processes to report accidents, injuries and venue problems were known

 

RESPECT and AWARENESS

      • The Teacher introduced them self to the class

      • Students names were known or Students addressed in an appropriate terminology

      • A positive learning environment was maintained

      • Where inappropriate behaviour occurred, the Teacher intervened appropriately

      • The Teacher identified Students lacking confidence or preparedness for particular drills or skills

      • The Teacher displayed empathy with Students where problems arose

      • The Teacher provided alternate communication to Students where misunderstandings occurred

      • The Teacher recognised individual differences and altered instructions or drills to suit

      • Physical contact was appropriate for the Student’s age and skill level or learning drill

      • Language used with Students was appropriate

      • Language used was positive

      • Students with disabilities, learning difficulties or gifted Students were provided modified activities

      • Vocal communication was at a volume suitable for the learning environment

      • Individual and group recognition was provided for improvements in a Student’s performance

      • The Teacher interacted positively with Students

      • The Teacher accounted for cultural and linguistic diversity within the class

 

COMPETENCY

      • A lesson plan was available prior to the lesson being delivered

      • The Teacher followed the lesson plan or where the plan was modified was able to justify the change

      • The lesson plan was adapted when changes to expected lesson conditions were incurred

      • Skill and drill progressions were appropriate to the Student’s prior learning

      • Skills and drills were challenging but achievable to all Students

      • Students demonstrated an increment of improvement as a result of the Teacher's tuition

      • Goals set for Students were challenging but within the range of ability of the Student

      • There was equitable participation by all Students

      • The Teacher was able to clearly explain the minimum requirement for various levels of classes and the benchmarks for certificates of performance to be issued

      • The Teacher's time on task and movement from one section of the pool lesson area to another was efficient

      • Individual adaptations to drills were made for physical development or level of ability of Students

      • Technically correct information and feedback was provided

      • Within the context of the lesson plan, incorrect techniques were identified and appropriate corrections taken

      • Positive behaviour management strategies were implemented when required

      • The Teacher operated within accepted industry practices

 

COMMUNICATION

      • Communications to other Teachers and pool management was effective and relevant

      • Information conveyed to Students and parents was accurate, relevant and up to date

      • The language used was consistent and appropriate for the Students age and mental capacity

      • Appropriate encouragement and positive feedback was regularly provided

      • The Teacher had eye contact and was positioned to provide effective verbal communication

 

IMAGE

      • The Teacher presented a professional and positive image         

         - clothing

         - grooming

         - behaviour and manner

         - language

         - confidence

      • The Teacher has had a positive impact upon the Parents

      • The Teacher conducted themselves in a legal, ethical and professional manner

Health and Medical

Teachers should be aware that to present themselves at work they should be of healthy body and mind. A healthy mind to sustain themselves during their interaction time with Students and a healthy body as the ripple effect if they have a contagious illness can decimate a swim school.

The only valid reason for exclusion of a Student is where there is a health or safety risk to other pool users or themselves. Warm pool water if insufficiently sanitised is a particularly good transporter of contagions, though any water potentially can transmit disease.

The aquatic environment, combined with the close physical contact a Teacher may have with beginners, warrants due care at all times.

General Risks

The following list details health and safety issues Teachers should know about. Items listed may also be relevant for parents and Students. Whilst some items listed are dangers in natural aquatic environments and others for specific countries or locations, most are not likely to be encountered in a well-maintained swimming pool with effective sanitisation.

Living life poses a risk! The majority of swimmers will swim their whole life with little chance of getting an infection or placing themselves in danger when in the water.

However, a small risk does exist. Teachers should encourage Students only to swim where the quality of the water is known to be good; where the environmental conditions are safe and supervision is adequate. Even in these ideal conditions, there exists the possibility of unseen dangers.

The major health infection risks appear to be via broken skin or oral ingestion of contaminated water (usually faecal).

Specifically there are all sorts of nasties and this section provides a brief outline for Teachers using pools, natural water environments or educating Students for such conditions, both within Australia and internationally.

Note: As a Swim Australia Teacher it is unlikely you are also a medical practitioner. If in doubt about the condition of any Student refer them to a medical practitioner to gain clearance before entry to lessons is permitted.

In emergencies look for medical bracelets and refer to your Student records for medical disclosures.
After any situation requiring Teacher intervention an accident report should be completed. It is also a good idea to note the circumstances of any conditions that have led to exclusion.

Remember you are often also in the water with Students and if you get sick or are unwell it may impact upon all other Students you come into contact with.

Are you ready to Proceed?

  • Yes

Acknowledgements

Thank you

As part of the three year process to develop this course, a wide range of people gave generously of their time, expertise and intellectual property.

In particular the Swim Australia Course Administrator Julie Speechley spent countless hours proofing and checking the content through 3 major re-edits and 9 reviews.  

Ted Tullberg provided invaluable critical technical commentary on the content.  

Project manager Ross Gage developed the components of the course and drew together the industry expertise to ensure the outcome reflects the needs and thoughts of the swimming and water safety teachers.  

The review committee of Chris Smith, Debbie Gill, Julie Zacanaro, Barb Nolan, Julie Speechley, Ross Gage, David Speechley and Ted Tullberg provided valuable review and endorsement of the final process of the course.

Contributions for the resource library from Laurie Lawrence, Chris and Naomi Smith, Dave DuBois, Ross Gage and Therese Gage, Barb Nolan and Wendy Ross have made the CD an even more valuable resource.

ASCTA provided funding and gave direction to the project. Their confidence in the ability of teachers in the aquatic industry to develop this course for the industry has meant this product is highly relevant to practioners. ASCTA's ongoing commitment to renew this product by continuing to listen and encourage contributions to develop ancillary courses means exciting times ahead.

Swimming Australia, as the peak body for the sport of swimming in Australia, have also shown their confidence by endorsing the product.  

The following people also supplied images - Matt Cassidy, Katie Clarke, Chris Smith, Peter Tonkin, Emma Lawrence, Laurie Lawrence, Margaret Swan.

We would like to also acknowledge the contributions made to updated versions by Janine Ramsey, Paul Stevens-King, Sharon Wrobel, James Unwin, Cindy Adair and Catherine Myers.

I hope you find the content of benefit and enjoy studying and viewing the photos and video.

David Speechley

Course conceptualiser and primary author

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