Swimming is something I have always done rather sporadically with the children. We sometimes go every week, sometimes even more than once a week but then other times we don’t go at all for a couple of months. I think the cold weather of winter puts me off a bit…
I notice that Florence always becomes quite swimming brave in the summer, especially when we have been on holiday and been in the pool daily but then sometimes when she’s not been for a while she can be shy and cling to me again. It really doesn’t take long to build up their confidence and it’s so important that this winter I am going to make an effort to continue swimming regardless of how cold it might be outside. Swimming is such a good skill to have that I don’t want them to miss out on learning as early as possible.
We were invited to Virgin Active this week so that we could have a try out of some of the pool activities they offer children and we had a brilliant day in the water with them. I watched other three year olds who have been going to their classes since they were babies and one of them was swimming confidently and even doing it under water! I was amazed but Glen Heidke, Head of Junior Programming at Virgin Active told me that its a common misconception that children should start swimming aged 3 or 4 and that they can absolutely be confident and competent swimmers by then if they are taken as babies and taken regularly. He told me that the way I take Florence and Jimmy isn’t bad at all as they are at least in the pool but that perhaps they might benefit from a week long course in the holidays even if I don’t want to send them regularly. He told me that its amazing the difference a week can make and swimming unaided can easily happen in just a few days! I believe him as I’ve seen Florence progress rapidly while we’ve been away and its certainly something I will think about for her. Apparently the costs vary between clubs but for the one closest to me it would be £8 a class for five classes so not too bad I think!
We got to see one of the clubs, try out the pool and even have our photos taken both above and below the water! Bubbles Under Water Photography were there to help us get one of those Nirvana type album cover shots as well as many other gloriously lovely pictures! Florence, who went under loads happily while I held on to her, wasn’t terribly keen on me letting her go while under the water so she didn’t have under water shots but Jimmy was well away. They usually recommend that you build up to having photos like this but we had some experts on hand to prepare us and practice. We had lots of fun learning new techniques and having fun in the water!
Virgin Active run termly and holiday crash courses from aged 6 weeks up and the teachers are lovely, well the ones I met were anyway. Full of confidence and good advice they gave me some excellent tips to go away and use in the pool. I’m even thinking of booking Florence in for a course before we go on holiday, you don’t have to be a member in the school holidays to do this so if we have the time I’d really like to be able to send her, something to think about. It was great fun and having the photos is fabulous. There was a big sign saying you can arrange to have them taken with no obligation to buy, can’t say fairer than that!
Virgin Active is the biggest provider of swimming lessons in the UK – off the back of a recent report by the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) which found that half of 7 – 11 year olds in the UK cannot swim the length of a standard pool, Virgin Active is challenging the nation to take the plunge and get competent and confident in the water
Virgin Active swim instructors teach approximately 25,000 people, from babies to adult beginners, to swim each week at over 100 clubs nationwide
Virgin Active offers a comprehensive swim programme for all ages, with classes on offer for babies as young as six weeks old
Classes are available to both members and non-members during half term and school holidays
Locate your nearest health club at www.virginactive.co.uk.
I have not been paid to write this post.