Supporting a lifelong interest in swimming

Safety, fitness, fun, enjoyment, social, community and competition. These are just some of the reasons why people start and stay involved in swimming.

Although the pressures of today’s busy lifestyle make committing and sticking to activities like swimming tricky, the benefits can last a lifetime.

There has been some recent commentary around children discontinuing swimming once their parents perceive they’ve ‘learnt to swim’ or they can ‘swim enough’ to be safe in and around water.

A report released by the Royal Life Saving Society Australia shows three out of four children had quit swimming classes by age eight.

With many children starting lessons earlier and quitting sooner, it’s a concern that many children don’t have the skills in the water leaving them vulnerable.

But it’s not only swim survival skills that are a worry.

With issues such as obesity, health and social disconnectedness on the rise, there’s a real missed opportunity to develop an interest in swimming that goes beyond just learning to swim, according to Tateswim director, Greg Tate.

“At Tateswim, we’ve always believed in starting children in the water a bit later which is a bit different to the current trend to get really young babies in the water,” he said.

“Our philosophy is that swimming should be part of a balanced lifestyle. We don’t want to see people starting too young and then quitting before they’ve reached their potential.”

“Our program is designed to build strong swimmers and support a life-long involvement in swimming. We offer competitive and non-competitive squad options, a Masters program for 18+ swimmers and team building and social activities outside of the pool to encourage this.”

“We’ve been involved in swimming for many years and it’s very rewarding to see many of our swimmers starting in junior squads and then continuing with us through their teens, going on to swim in the Masters program or even becoming coaches with us. That’s a real sign of success for us,” he said.

Top five tips to support longevity in swimming

·      Keep training consistently year-round

·      Focus on enjoying the experience and the sensation of being in the water

·      Don’t overload on swim meets when young

·      Maintain life balance between social, academic and swimming

·      Set short term and long term goals to maintain direction through swimming career