Learn to Swim

Learn to Swim – whatever your age

As many people learn when they make the decision to learn to swim, almost all of the lessons available cater for children.

If you are lucky, you will find a learn-to-swim program at your local pool but it’s likely you will have to wait a long time for a place and in our experience it is unlikely you will have learned to swim a year after starting, that’s if you manage to learn at all!  Read what we have to say about public pools and learn-to-swim classes under our private lessons page.

Many people would like to learn to swim but fear they are the only ones with the sort of problems they have.  Frankly men are the worst for this (sorry for being sexist).  Trust me, you’re far from being alone and not learning to swim because you don’t want to feel a fool while you are learning or because you think you are too old is a real shame and so unnecessary.

We have taught so many people to swim that started out being embarrassed, fearful or simply disbelieving that we almost know what you are going to say when you walk through the door.  Just trust us when we say that whatever is going through your mind, others have gone before you thinking exactly the same and they DID learn to swim.

If you’ve made the decision to learn to swim, or even if you are simply just thinking about it, drop us a line and tells your fears or concerns, or what you would like to achieve, and let us tell you how we can help you learn to swim.

Do you feel that only children can learn to swim?  Do the adult swimming lessons at your local pool leave you cold?  Maybe you been there – done that – still can’t swim.  Maybe you can’t even pluck up the courage to think about it?

Let me tell you my story.

Above is me behind the camera, so sad watching hubby swim when I’m too frightened to even go close.  At 45 I got ME (chronic fatigue syndrome).  At 48, having been so terrified of water all my life – I wouldn’t use the shower in case water went in my face – I decided I was fed up of being a victim and I would learn to swim.

Below is me, age 54, in Egypt the day I qualified as an Open Water Scuba diver.  In between I learned to swim, qualified as an instructor, took a life guarding qualification, taught many many people to get over their own phobias and learn to swim, and finally I learn to dive.

I tried to learn to swim at my local pool and frankly was horrified.  For almost 3 months I went and steadfastly refused to put my face in the water or take my feet off the bottom.  I scoured the net looking for ‘learn to swim’ books that would teach me how to swim without putting my face in the water.  Needless to say – there aren’t any.  It was a long time before I made any progress during which time I saw the vast majority of adult swimmers give up along the way.  Eventually I met Irene who shared my fears and phobias and also had decided to learn (she’s even older than me <grin>).  Together we found TI swimming which teaches balance in the water and altogether different techniques to ASA swimming.

Long story short, Irene and I qualified as ASA instructors then took the best of all we had learned to put together our own ‘Learn to Swim’ methods. These we adapt for each and every student to suit their needs and swimming phobias.  We also address the fact that adult swimming/learning is or should be, very different to the way children learn to swim and also that every adult learns in a different way and has different challenges in life.

Finally, this is me below, diving in the Red Sea.  Take heart – you CAN learn to swim as an adult.

Residential Swimming Lessons

Our private pool is small and inviting and everyone that comes to us for residential swimming lessons tells us they wish they hadn’t wasted so much time, in some cases many years, trying to learn to swim the hard way!

Being residential means that once you have arrived, unpacked and settled in, you can concentrate totally on the task ahead, learning to swim, without worrying about travelling back and forth or forgetting what you learned last lesson because there has been a week or more in between.

When we say residential we mean just that.  We don’t put you up in a local B&B as many do, expecting you to drive back and forth.  Nor do we expect you to share with anyone unless you bring your partner.  The residential accommodation is private, self contained and next to the private pool.

You can cook for yourself or just chill with a glass of wine and order a takeaway, maybe visit the local pub – whatever you style, you will never regret taking residential swimming lessons with us.

Heidi’s Channel Swim

A COALVILLE woman has made a splash raising money for a spinal injury charity.

Heidi Spiller, 35, has now finished swimming the length of the English Channel a massive 1,408 lengths of Hermitage Leisure Centre’s swimming pool.

All of the money raised around £1,030 will now go to Aspire, the Association for Spinal Injury Research Rehabilitation and Reintegration.

Heidi decided to dive-in and help the charity after overcoming her fear of the deep-end earlier this year.

She said: “Just before the summer holidays I swam 64 lengths, which is a mile, and I felt like I wanted something more to aspire to.

“When I went back to the leisure centre I saw the information for the Aspire Channel Swim and I thought I could actually exercise, lose weight and do something good for somebody else.”

Every day four people in the UK are told they will never walk again.

Aspire works with these people to offer practical support and innovation from the time of their injury for the rest of their lives.

The charity works towards reintegration by creating an environment where the barriers that divide able-bodied and disabled people are removed.

Having completed the task, Heidi said: “I feel fantastic – I’m jumping for joy.

“People are asking me if I’m going to swim back now that I’ve swum to France, but I’ll give it a rest for now!”



Diving Lessons Learn to Swim Swimming Lessons Teach Baby to Swim



Your Infant’s First Swim

Taking the Plunge – Your Infant’s First Swim

Aaaah, spring! With the last remainder of winter gradually melting into the ground, its easy to let your mind begin to wander to the firsts of summer: that first evening BBQ with friends, that first softball game being played in the park, or that first whiff of freshly-mowed grass.

But before you start day-dreaming about your little one’s first toe dip in a wading pool for swim lessons, consider the following: According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, swim classes may not be a good idea for babies. Research shows that, in children under 3, the risk of infections increases with time spent in swimming pools.

Your child may be more likely develop swimmer’s ear (due to water entering the ear), diarrhoea (due to germs in the water being swallowed), swimmer’s itch, and other rashes. Along with these greater risks, children under 3 who have taken lessons prove to be no stronger as swimmers in later years than their non-lesson counterparts.

Nor could an infant’s tendency to float in water (due to high fat content) be called upon in a life-threatening aquatic situation! So, should you shirk all water activity with your infant, and, on a hot day, ignore the enticing, glistening waters of your local outdoor swimming pool?

The answer is no. As long as you are aware of the risks, and do not expect your little one to develop self-reliant skills in the water, it is perfectly acceptable to use the pool as a place where you can both cool off.

Do keep in mind some common sense advice, however.

– Small children with colds and flus should refrain from water activity. If your child is prone to ear infections, seek the doctor’s approval before he takes the plunge.

– Don’t submerge a baby’s face. Swallowing water can cause water intoxication, a watering down of the blood that produces nausea, weakness, convulsions, and even coma.

– A baby who does not maintain good head control should never be taken into a pool. His head may bob under by accident, so wait until he is stronger.

– Lastly, have fun with your baby, but do not expect to “teach” him swimming skills. Allowing your child to feel comfortable and safe in the water is the first and most important step in his water safety training.






Diving Lessons Learn to Swim Swimming Lessons Teach Baby to Swim



Babies and Swimming Pools

Learn to Swim at Swimming Lessons 4All


Babies and Swimming Pools      Children’s swimming pools    Swimming lessons for babies

The following information will help parents make an informed choice about taking their baby to a swimming pool

Babies and Swimming Pools

Do babies need their immunisations before swimming? No. The advice to wait until  baby has had some or all of their immunisations before taking them to the pool, goes back to the days when polio was much more common and we were worried about its spread in swimming pools. This is no longer a concern.

Picture Courtesy of www.waterbaby.co.uk

The vaccines given to young babies protect against:

  • Diphtheria, Pertussis, Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) and Men C (Meningococcal group C). These organisms are in the air. Swimming pools do not carry a greater risk of infection
  • Tetanus. Tiny spores from this organism exist in the soil and manure, NOT swimming pool water
  • Polio. It is extremely unlikely that water will be the means by which this infection gets passed on. It is more likely to be from hands soiled by stools containing the organism. It does get excreted in the stools of babies who have recently had the vaccine but this will not be a threat to others (including babies who have not had the vaccine). The important thing is to take care when using shared facilities to change a nappy and make sure to dispose of soiled nappies carefully.

The above infections are not contracted in the chlorinated water environment of a well-run swimming pool.

What about feeding? You should wait one hour after your babies feed before swimming.


Should baby swim if they are ill? NO! The temperature of the pool, changing rooms and outside are really important, as a baby cannot control their body temperature. Pool water should be at least 30oC. A child who is ill should not be exposed to big swings in temperatures. Take note of the following:

  • If your baby has suffered a tummy bug, it is important to wait two days after the first solid movement before going swimming
  • Babies with ear infections should not swim
  • Don’t go swimming with your baby if they have an infectious disease. This includes diarrhoea and a heavy cold


What should my baby wear in the pool? It is more hygienic to put your baby in a swim nappy such as kooshies or aquanappy. It is somewhat essential. It is important remember that stomach and bowel upsets can result if a pool is heavily contaminated with faeces. The following advice should be followed;

  • Avoid changing the nappy by the side of the pool
  • Dress toddlers in close-fitting swimsuits to better contain faeces
  • Occasionally check in their bathers for soiling
  • Reduce the risk of accidents by taking children for frequent trips to the toilet
  • Don’t rinse hands in the pool water after a trip to the toilet or after changing a child’s nappy. Use warm water and soap.


Are the chemicals in the water harmful to my baby? A baby’s skin is more delicate than an adult’s and the chemicals used to sterilise swimming pool water can irritate the skin and eyes of some babies. Your health visitor will be able to advise you on skin care products.

Where can I get further information about protection for babies?

  • Health Visitor or GP


Swimming and Epilepsy

Courtesy of Epilepsy Action

Swimming is an excellent way to keep in shape yet many people are frightened in case they or their children have a seizure in the water. This leaflet aims to show that with a few sensible precautions people with epilepsy can enjoy all the benefits of swimming quite safely.

Swimming is often a very sociable activity. Children for example may feel left out if they are barred from swimming just because of epilepsy while all their classmates are playing or learning to swim in the pool. Such segregation increases the feeling of being ‘different’ or an outsider. Other children may then react unfavourably and the child with epilepsy can feel rejected.

Everyone should learn how to swim especially children with epilepsy – it helps with self-confidence with social skills and relationships and most importantly it’s fun!

Often those of us with epilepsy may want to swim but are prevented by family friends teachers or swimming pool staff. Other people sometimes imagine the worst and decide on our behalf that it is not worth the risk. If so this page should help calm those fears but for extra reassurance they can telephone the Freephone Helpline on 0808 800 5050.

Research shows that few seizures actually occur in the water. This may be because when a person is enjoyably occupied they are less likely to have a seizure. All sports and pastimes including swimming can help to improve seizure patterns in some people. However it is impossible to be certain that a seizure will not occur so it is essential to follow a few simple safety measures.

Safety first

  • Never swim alone and do not take risks.

  • Make sure there is a qualified life-saver present (perhaps a friend or relative could learn). If there isn’t one swim no deeper than your supervisor’s or companion’s shoulder height.

  • Always tell a person in charge if you have epilepsy.

  • Check that the person in charge or your companion knows what to do if you have a seizure.

  • If you can practice with your companion what to do in the event of a seizure – this will boost your confidence and theirs.

  • Swimming in the sea lakes or very cold water is dangerous – be sensible.

  • If unwell don’t swim.

  • Avoid overcrowded situations.

Good buddies do it together

Those of us with epilepsy can find it embarrassing to be ‘supervised’ especially if we are the only person being watched over. Swimming in pairs is an American idea known as the Buddy System and it is becoming popular in the UK. It is especially useful in swimming classes because it means everyone has a partner taking attention away from the person with epilepsy. It also enables life-saving to be taught in pairs and teaches us all to be aware of other people’s safety.

Once or twice during the session someone blows a whistle and you must be able to touch your partner immediately. If you can’t it means you are too far away from each other and you have ‘lost’. An agreed forfeit may then be paid. If this partnering method cannot be used it may be better for the ‘supervisor’ to stay out of the water in case prompt action is needed. Whichever method is used supervision needs to be discreet.

How to deal with a seizure in the water

Not all people with epilepsy have convulsions. Some may simply go blank for a few seconds (absences) others may make repeated aimless movements for a minute or two (partial seizures). These last two seizure types do not usually require emergency action but care needs to be taken that the person does not sink. When they recover gently ask if they would like to get out of the water. They may not realise what happened or they may feel groggy.

The basic guidelines are:

  1. Do not be afraid the seizure will probably not last long.

  2. From behind hold the swimmer’s head above water.

  3. If possible tow the person to shallow water.

  4. Do not restrict movements or place anything in the mouth.

  5. Once abnormal movement has stopped move the swimmer to dry land.

  6. If water has been swallowed take the usual resuscitation measures.

  7. Place the swimmer on his or her side to recover.

  8. Only call an ambulance if the person goes from one seizure to another without regaining consciousness or if the seizure lasts longer than normal or if there is injury or a lot of water has been swallowed.

  9. If possible recovery should be in a private place.

  10. Stay with the person until they feel better.

Should I ask my doctor before going swimming?

It is a good idea to speak to your doctor first particularly if the epilepsy is largely uncontrolled. Both of you need to take into account the type severity and frequency of the seizures known triggers such as noise stress excitement etc. whether there is any warning before a seizure and what supervision is available.

However if you really want to swim find a safe and suitable way to do it using all the recommendations listed here. Those of us with epilepsy should not allow it to ruin our quality of life and being a non-swimmer is far more dangerous than learning to swim in a safe and supervised environment.

Further advice on epilepsy and swimming is available from Epilepsy Action by using the Email Helpline or if you live in the UK by phoning the Freephone Helpline on 0808 800 5050.



Diving Lessons Learn to Swim Swimming Lessons Teach Baby to Swim



Private Swimming Lessons

Why are private swimming lessons better than public pool lessons?

Let’s just look at the cost element to begin with.  You pay £4 per lesson and get 7 lessons per half term. That’s 42 swimming lessons per year costing £126.  You probably spend the same amount again practicing in between plus the cost of getting to and from the pool every week.  So you’ve spent maybe close on £200.  Can you swim a length at the end of that year?  Not one person at our local swimming pool moved up to the intermediate class in less a years lessons.  In the intermediate class the deep end was an terrifying experience with the instructor standing poolside with a long pole for those who got into difficulty which many did.

Is being in a public pool with other people and your instructor on the poolside a good way to learn?  What do you think?

Suppose you paid that amount for private lessons, learning to swim in the comfort of a private pool with your instructor in the water with you?  What would you achieve?  For most people this would get you almost there.  For some, these supportive individually tailored private swimming lessons will be all that’s needed, if you are really water phobic, then you will obviously want more support but you will be amazed at what you can achieve in a small private pool with the right instructor.

Contrast the 2 years at your local swimming pool taking lessons in a class against booking your private lessons today and knowing you can go on your next holiday and be confident in the pool or the sea.

But couldn’t I just have a private swimming lesson at my local pool?

A private lesson at your local pool is always an option but having been there ourselves and spoken to many many people who have found this wasn’t the answer for them, we feel confident in saying this is a somewhat pointless exercise.  You will simply get exactly the same for your private lesson as you did for a lesson shared with other people and it will cost you about 4 times the price for half the time.  Your swimming instructor will still be poolside shouting her instructions to you and usually your so-called ‘private swimming lesson’ will be in a pool full of other people.  Just because you have the instructions undivided attention for half an hour, in our opinion doesn’t justify calling it a ‘private lesson’.  What you gain from being the only student, you can lose by being fearful of other swimmers splashing and making noise during your ‘private swimming lesson’.  Not so private after all?

What proportion of adults fail to learn to swim because they don’t have private lessons?

Irene and Gay speak from personal experience.  We continued to go to our local pool for ‘lessons’ for about 3 years after we learned to swim simply because we enjoyed swimming.  Most of our skills came from taking swimming courses with TI and studying other methods such as Shaw and Alexander.  We also researched a great deal about fear and phobias and spent a lot of our free time in the pool helping each other correct our technique.

We didn’t learn a lot at the local classes and the ‘advanced’ class wasn’t all that advanced!  What we did learn was that the vast majority of people fell by the wayside.  Some had private swimming lessons, paying £22 an hour to be coached from the poolside in a public pool full of other swimmers.  As I mentioned above, not my idea of a private swimming lesson.

So how many succeeded without having private lessons in a private pool?  VERY VERY FEW!!! and that includes those that had some individual lessons in the public pool.


Private swimming lessons in a private pool with your instructor in the pool with you (and only you!) is the way forward.  Of course, just because an instructor offers private lessons, doesn’t necessarily mean they have what it takes to teach you, but we like to think we stand out above most others and our testimonials prove that.

So what are you waiting for?  Contact us now to chat about your fears and phobias and how we can tailor YOUR private swimming lessons.



Mother and Child Drown

Husband finds his wife and daughter dead in luxury pool

Mother couldn’t swim.

If ever there was a plea for adults to learn to swim, this is it.

A BUSINESSMAN found his wife and toddler daughter drowned in a swimming pool at a company headquarters where he was finalising details of a new job. Vinh Nguyen had left wife Annie, 33, and 21-month-old daughter Summer to look around the grounds as he met one of the development firm’s bosses for a chat.

The plan was for them to enjoy an informal swim in the heated indoor pool after Mr Nguyen, 37, had completed details of his new job as a land manager. But to his horror he reached the pool to find his wife and daughter face down and unconscious in the water in their swimming gear in the -middle uf the pool. Mr Nguyen and Mr Tom Waldon, a director of the firm, rang for an ambulance.

They attempted resuscitation but paramedics pronounced mother and baby dead at the scene. Police and the Health and Safety Executive were yesterday investigating the tragedy at the headquarters of Land-Marque Sites Ltd in Studley, Warwickshire on Saturday.

One theory was that the little girl fell in and the mother, who like the child, could not swim, jumped in to try to save her. Annie was 5ft lin tall and her family have been told by police that the pool was 5ft 6in deep at the centre.



Learn to Swim Award


Zoe Bartlett is making a splash after earning a top award to mark her outstanding achievement in the water.

The seven year old from Rochester, had a major fear of water but this has not stopped her learning to swim.

Now her courage and perseverance have paid off and she is riding on the crest of a wave after she was presented with a Southern Water Learn to Swim Achiever of the Year award.

The successful youngster was one of fifty winners from amongst the 35,000 children taking part across the region. The awards are given to children who have shown great courage in overcoming particular difficulties or for their exceptional performance.

Zoe’s swimming instructor at Strood Sports Centre, Maureen Welsh said: “Zoe was extremely frightened of the water and was terrified of getting her face wet. She would not join in with the rest of the class, but fortunately she never gave up. With great courage and perseverance she has now overcome her fears and can swim and go under water. She is a very worthy winner of the award.”

Zoe was treated to a visit by the Learn to Swim scheme mascot Ollie the Otter, who dropped in to help her celebrate her success.

Nigel Smetham, Southern Water’s Water Manager presented the youngster with a bag of goodies, which included a sports watch, at a special ceremony at Maidstone Leisure Centre.

Mr Smetham said: “This is a tremendous occasion for these children. They have proved themselves in many different ways and made enormous achievements on the Learn to Swim scheme.

To win these awards is extremely significant because the youngsters have been selected from 35,000 children who were taught on the scheme last year.

We are pleased to be able to contribute to the community by helping children learn a very valuable life skill, as well as enabling them to reach their fullest potential.”

The scheme, now in its tenth year, teaches children from 4-12 year-olds and is sponsored by Southern Water. It is run in consultation with the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA).



Diving Lessons Learn to Swim Swimming Lessons Teach Baby to Swim