Life Skills – Learning to Swim

“Learning to swim is a skill for life – once you learn you never forget – how cool is that?” Kasey Giteau…

  

Olympic swimmer, Kasey Giteau, grew up in a family that loved the water so learning to swim was a must. Her fondest childhood memories are always somewhere where water was involved; local pools, beach, camping on the river, floating on the lagoon…

Her Mum and Nan were both national level swimmers, so naturally they started Kasey in swimming lessons early, at just 6 months old. Swimming is a skill that has carried her to stardom, competing in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2001 World Championships in Japan.

Kasey also happens to run a boutique swim school “Little Sharkies” on Sydney’s Northern Beaches so we have hit her up to learn about the benefits of teaching our kids to swim and being confident in the water…

What’s the best age to start swimming lessons?

Being confident in the water from a young age is important, whether it’s a young baby getting a cup of water tipped over their head in the bath or splashing around in the shallows at the beach as a toddler, this helps build confidence once they hit the pool for learn to swim lessons.

Its best to have started swimming lessons by at least four years of age but there are benefits of starting earlier, not only will they build confidence in the water, but they will developing skills which lead to stroke development such as breaststroke and freestyle. Starting early can also be a special bonding activity with Mum or Dad.

Do you recommend continuing swimming lessons throughout the cooler months?

Year-round swimming gives kids a massive advantage over “summer swimmers”. The benefits from continuing swimming lessons in the cooler months means classes are often smaller giving them more swim time, there’s no progression loss, and they become stronger in the water as summer rolls around.

What are some other benefits of learning to swim other than water safety?

Swimming not only provides water confidence; it also helps kids develop hand-eye coordination and is a great physical activity. My kids love to go to the local indoor pool in winter - in the school holidays they often have floating obstacles and waterslides set-up. Popping on a wetsuit and heading to the beach for a surf or bodysurf is also so much fun as a kid, and a great winter or spring activity.

Any tips for parents to practise with the kids away from swimming lessons to help strengthen their skills?

Don’t underestimate how great it is for children to go to the local pool & play, this alone builds confidence & strength in the water. Doing this alongside swimming lessons is a recipe for confident, happy, independent swimmers! 

Olympian Kasey Giteau teaching a toddler ages 2 how to swim in her pool at Little Sharkies Swim School

“Teaching your kids to swim is a gift they will be so grateful for in years to come. Have fun and be water safe!”