Swimming Nature makes waves to set new standards for swimming tuition across the UK

Swimming Nature, the largest independent provider of swimming tuition in the UK, has developed a unique program of tuition for pool operators and private tutors to help deliver excellence in tuition and improve the level of swimming ability across the country.

The Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), says that over 45% of children aged seven to eleven cannot swim the length of a standard swimming pool (25 metres) unaided. This means that 1 in 5 children enter adult life unable to swim, which contributes to approximately 400 UK deaths from drowning each year in the UK[1]. As a result of these figures, parents have become increasingly concerned about the standards of swimming teaching in schools, and are now looking outside of the school system to find lessons that can help support and enhance their children’s personal development.

newsletter-markNow, with the support of multiple World champion swimmer Mark Foster, Swimming Nature, who first pioneered the ‘in-water’ method of teaching in 1993, and have taught thousands of children and adults how to perfect their swimming technique, are looking to tackle this issue, by working with pool operators, local authorities, schools and private tutors across the UK to deliver an approved program of swimming tuition, to help meet demand and improve tuition standards throughout the country.

“Swimming is an essential life skill as well as being a fun activity for all the family. Swimming allows people to stay fit as well as being a vital skill required for safety, yet the provision for teaching children in the UK is inadequate” said Founder and Managing Director, Eduardo Ferré.  

 

The 2013 National School Swimming census found that 51% of children aged 7 to 11 could not swim 25 metres unaided. The method used also tends to be the “multi-stroke” method.

 

“This is a fast and effective way of teaching beginners to swim in a group” Eduardo explains, “but it also has disadvantages that can affect your confidence, skill and ability, which can result in a lifetime of trying to reverse bad habits, and is also the reason many adults in the UK cannot swim and may never learn.”

 

Eduardo continues: “Because of this and the sheer scale of the problem, Swimming Nature strongly believes that only in partnership with pool operators, start-up businesses, and independent swimming instructors across the UK, can we really tackle the problem”.

Swimming Nature are now looking to expand their business and offer our proven programs and processes to more sites and more private tutors across the country. Their aim is to help increase the number of classes available across the UK, as well as set better standards for swimming tuition in the UK.

The Swimming Nature program offers pool operators, entrepreneurs looking to start their own swim schools, and individual swimming instructors, training and coaching on their unique methodology, believed to be the most advanced swimming tuition method in the world.  The modular training programme builds on teacher’s skills, covering all four of the main types of swimmers: babies, children, adults and advanced ‘triathlon’ swimmers, and provides a range of personalised teaching programs and lesson plans, based on pioneering scientific research, observation, and an understanding of cognitive development.

For pool operators, and entrepreneurs looking build or grow their swim schools, Swimming Nature also provides access to a suite of software and business management tools that cover every element of running a successful tuition programme. From setting up as a company to day-to-day scheduling, budget controls, and bookings, to communicating with staff, customers, clients and colleagues, each program provides detailed business and monitoring systems to easily control and manage the teaching operations across individual or multiple sites, as well as marketing and PR support, helping businesses maximise revenue opportunities, and the greatest possible ROI.

Unlike any other system available in the market, Swimming Nature’s central management system offers ongoing support to all of its partners and regular assessment and monitoring, ensuring the highest possible standards of teaching are employed across all sites.

“Swimming Nature is dedicated to excellence in business. Our technology significantly improves efficiency, making the pool operators’ and instructors’ lives as easy as possible, whilst providing them with maximum control of the tuition activities, and setting better standards for swimming tuition across the UK” says Eduardo.

World champion swimmer and GB Olympian Mark Foster comments: “Swimming has a unique role in society today, providing a great deal of enjoyment for all the family making people safer near water, In addition to helping to deliver the Government’s health agenda”.

“But as evidence shows, because of the lack of teaching, more and more children in the UK unable to meet the national standards in swimming before they leave school, the consequences of which are worrying” he adds. “It is encouraging that Swimming Nature are leading the way in developing a network of well-run swimming schools and excellent tutors who will teach our children how to swim properly, and I am thrilled to be a part of their program.”

Swimming Nature is appealing to entrepreneurs and instructors across the UK to get involved and help deliver excellence in swimming tuition for our children and adults by adopting their unique programs.

Swim yourself off the sofa as the temperature takes a dive

As the gloomy winter months start to well and truly set in, we all tend to find ourselves replacing the outdoors for the sofa. With plummeting temperatures and routine rain, even contemplating venturing outdoors for that weekly run you enjoyed in the summer no longer seems so appealing. With the impending festive season, our fitness routine seems to taper off, invariably leading to panic button pushing as soon as the calendar hits the 1st of January.

So, how can we all stay fit without having to jog in the local park in our wellies and woollens? Swimming! Not only is it something which can be enjoyed indoors, it is also low impact and great to keep up your fitness levels. Consistency being essential to not only improving stroke technique, but also keeping the muscles active, and the pounds off. Making swimming a weekly routine is key to success.

According to the NHS, regular swimming can reduce the risks of chronic illness, such as heart disease and a stroke. One of the other main benefits is that it’s a great exercise to release endorphins and lift your mood, which we all tend to battle with as the darkness sets in mid-afternoon.

It’s important to find somewhere to swim which works with your daily routines, whether it be work or other activities. Also be sure to invest in some goggles and a swimming cap. If you are a beginner, lessons are a great way to give you confidence and keep you swimming better for longer.

So there is no excuse to be snoozing through the winter months, it’s time to get off the sofa and start swimming!

Swimming Nature runs lessons throughout London and Edinburgh for babies, children and adults, whether you are a beginner or capable swimmer looking for stroke development. You can find out more about the programmes they offer by visiting swimmingnature.com or by calling 08445040506.

Swimming Nature’s Programme Delivery Technology set to raise standards of swimming tuition

Swimming Nature are set to launch their new digital programme technology, using comprehensive data to automatically formulate tailored lesson plans aimed at optimising progression.

Coupling Swimming Nature’s children’s learn to swim program with detailed progress tracking, it ensures both the most beneficial tuition is efficiently delivered, and the highest standards are maintained by instructors. These bespoke automated lesson plans use previous progression data to compose relevant training practices which reflect the key stages each student is next to progress towards.

Information on distances, challenges and awards will be recorded by the instructor and used for reporting on the effectiveness of programme delivery. Additionally swimmers will receive automated emails on achievements such as distance swum or key skills being achieved. Instructor-editable lesson plans encourage a social community where new teaching methods can be approved and introduced by instructors and used throughout the company.

Using the latest mobile responsive design, instructors simply ‘swipe-to-confirm’ lesson activities using any device at any time, even in-water, reducing instructor admin time.  This provides very simple, convenient & flexible anytime-anywhere data entry, and enables consistent accurate data logging.

Swimming Nature plans to use this new technology to provide in-depth reporting to clients on their progress, as well as highlighting any students who may require further attention in specific areas. Not only will this provide more motivation to students, it will also ensure that students who require further attention will receive this to keep them swimming longer and progress further.

Article taken from the UK Active Journal Autumn 2014 issue

Swimming Nature. (2014). Swimming Nature’s Programme Delivery Technology set to raise standards of swimming tuition. Together: ukactive journal. 6, 12.

Swim with confidence at Swimming Nature!

Swimming Nature were delighted to be featured in the Angels and Urchins Summer 2014 Issue. Please see below our published article:

Speedy Swimming      

Jimmy aged 9, was not a strong swimmer. He missed the swimming classes his siblings attended, didn’t pick up much  from sporadic school lessons and would go to great lengths to avoid getting in a pool. It is not cool not to be able to swim, like not being able to ride a bike. And the embarrassment factor meant he refused to join a group lesson. Enter Swimming Nature’s FAST TRACK course. Four half hour lessons on consecutive mornings over the Easter holidays in the warm calm waters of the Kensington Close Hotel. His teacher Josh was engaging and fun and by the end of the first lesson Jimmy was already heaps more confident and had started to get the hang of the breathing. At the end of the week, not only was he happily swimming a length of front crawl but he has voluntarily signed up to a term of classes so he can get ‘really good’! A total triumph.

Swimming Nature have over twenty venues across London. Fast track courses from £135 for 5 days 1:1. Tel: 0844 504 0506. Website: swimmingnature.com

 

Article taken from Angels and Urchins Summer 2014 Issue

Turner, E (2014) Angels and Urchins Summer 2014 Issue, London4 504 05

Overcoming your fear of swimming

82c9afd2a64517036730ac64fa576577Swimming is a very impressive sport as it offers something that no other aerobic exercise does: the ability to work out your body without severe impact to your skeletal system. This is because water supports your body as you move (you automatically become lighter), whilst providing resistance to increase your muscular strength and decrease harm to your joints.  Due to these benefits this attracts a variety of people to swimming.

However, no matter what the benefits are there still seems to be quite a few people that avoid the water all together. This could be because of a bad experience in the water or an unexplained fear. Fear can be caused by many reasons such as feeling nervous in an unsettled environment or avoiding confrontation due to feelings of panic and agitation. Over time this fear may build as a mental block resulting in people avoiding swimming all together.

First you have to overcome your fear of the actual water. Once this is done you may find that you don’t even need that many swimming lessons as the anxiety would have worn of.

Here are 13 step by step directions that I have put together to change your attitude towards swimming and help improve your technique.

  1. It is never too late. If you feel that you are too old to start something new. Then why not start with the basics and set small goals and targets for yourself. For instance try to swim 10 meters continuously or count how many strokes it takes you to get to the other side (tells you about your rhythm and timing)
  1. Don’t overthink it. Adults have the tendency to over analyze the technique and as a result they lose valuable time of “real” swimming. As children we are fearless willing to dive right in and try different things, jumping first and looking later. Try to remember this feeling and enjoy the water more. Remember swimming is also about having fun in the water. Don’t think- just swim.
  1. Choose a pleasant environment and teacher. Good communication with your swimming teacher will make you feel more comfortable in the water. You will probably be more willing to improve your skills as you will know what is expected from you.
  1. Use the right equipment. To get the best out of your swimming lessons you need to choose the right gear to suit your body type. Choose a comfortable swimsuit and a good pair of fitted goggles. Shop around and make sure you buy swimming items that are best suited to you. Online shops include: www.swimshop.co.uk, www.sweatband.com and www.milletsports.co.uk
  1. Keep yourself calm and relaxed. It is very important that you keep your body stress-free while swimming. A tight, stiff body will use up more energy. So “Keep Calm And Just Keep Swimming.”
  1. Do not just hold your breath. Carbon dioxide in the blood is raised very quickly when you do not exhale. You should inhale when your face is out of the water and exhale when your face is in the water; essentially you can breathe normally.
  1. Train as much as possible. You can only improve on your swimming technique if you practice again and again. Set aside 2 30 minute workout sessions per a week to maintain basic health and fitness levels. In a single session try stay in the pool until you have done 400 meters of swimming or 16 lengths of a 25 meter pool at a medium to high significant pace.
  1. Try to learn the strokes step by step. If you are a beginner try not to focus too much on swimming a full stroke, instead focus on breathing and then progress to the correct body position which aids in developing kicking and lastly arms. By following these steps you’ll will be swimming in no time.
  1. Keep it simple. While swimming front crawl your arms should move under the central line of your body which means under the middle of your chest and your stomach. Try to keep your elbow higher than your hand at all times.
  1. Close your fingers. You can imagine that your hands are paddles. This will help you to catch more water and increase your swimming pace.
  1. Forget cycling movements in the water. One of the most common mistakes is to bend your knees excessively. This can result in a bad performance in the water. So, remember the leg’ movement begins from the hips. Straight legs, floppy ankles are a great starting point.
  1. Bring a friend. Instead of attending a swimming lesson by yourself why not bring a friend to join in on the fun. You can help each other out and even challenge one another.
  1. Don’t give up. You may not achieve your goal the first time so don’t be too hard on yourself. Try again and work on areas that you need to improve on. Ask your swimming teacher for advice, book more lessons and make sure that you maintain a healthy balanced diet to boost your energy levels and help improve your performance.

As well as being fun, swimming is a great way to keep fit and stay healthy. It is the ideal exercise to improve your physical and mental health. It might take a little while to adjust to the water but with a bit of help you can face your fear full on.

How swimming can help you

Find out how swimming can help boost your confidence and health. You can gain great fitness benefits as it tones your whole body and strengthens your muscles. Whatever your age, it’s never too late to learn to swim and improve your technique.

Swimming itself is a beautiful sport and an excellent non impact exercise. This is a great advantage as it protects the joints from stress and strain. The sport also provides physiological benefit such as stress reduction as water relaxes your body and calms the mind.

Through constant movement and relief; swimming helps encourage a healthy life style.

Through my own experiences of swimming I found that that none of your joints suffer because you are not in touch with anything solid. Not even a single muscle will be stiff during a lesson, as it’s relaxed and enjoyable. As you are utilising your entire body activating all your muscle groups this can lead to burning calories quite quickly and overall improvement of your fitness. You’ll build, strengthen and tone muscles as every bit of your body is moving and learn how to breath efficiently whether you are in water or not as breath control plays a big part.

Get a head start before your first lesson

Now that you’re eager to start swimming. You can start a few everyday exercises that will benefit you once you’re in the water. A simple exercise to start with is stretching your ankles. This can be easily done when you sit in the office every working day; just by pushing your toes against the floor one way and another, top and bottom, makes them more flexible.

This movement will help develop your kicking and is an essential first step in learning to swim confidently.

Now that you have focused on flexing your ankles for a more effective kick you can focus on the next element which is controlling your breath. You can try doing this anywhere, just be conscious about it; in and out, quick breath in and long release. Try to do it while taking a bath: quick in and long bubbles out. Do it a few times in a row when you walk or doing anything else and try not to get tired or out of breath. Breathe as naturally as possible but make sure it’s under control and that your are relaxed as this will help improve your swimming once you’re  in the water.

Once you are confident in the above techniques then it’s time to start swimming. Create swimming goals as this will bring a sense of achievement to your daily exercise routine and remember to have fun and enjoy the water.

Top Tips: Kicking and Streamline Body Position Part 2

Tips and tricks for body position on front

From a previous blog, floatation was discussed briefly with some great information to get you thinking about implementing this in the water.  Body position is our starting point. If your body is stiff, not streamlined with dragging arms and legs in weird angles, you might as well put a brick in your swim suit!

The key to floating

First of all push yourself up from the bottom of the pool with your arms out in front of you like a star onto your stomach. As you  slightly move forward take a deep breath and get your head down looking at the floor, let the legs move outwards to complete your star shape. If you are relaxed enough and not sticking your bottom in the air, then with some practice you will be floating as good as a beaver building a dam on a hot day. If this isn’t working then try adjusting your body into different positions that works best for you. The alternative is floating on your back, the best tip I have picked up was putting yourself on your back in a Y shape! This actually works best for me and the majority of my students I teach. As Neal from art attack would say  – “try it yourself!”.

Once you are feeling more confident with the whole concept of floating, let’s put it all together and try some common movements in the water.

Push and glides

As discussed before (in the kicking section) this is a really good way of focusing on your movement through the water. If you are holding a flat streamlined body position, you will move through the water with ease. It sounds easy but you will be surprised to see the amount of people I have taught who think they can just do this straight away.

Steps to remember:

  • Before you push off the wall, have your head down and arms out on top of each other in front of you.
  • Squeeze your ears gently so your face is in the water looking down.
  • When you are ready to take action, take a breath, push off with two feet and hold the glide until you slow down. If you have rolled onto your back it is quite likely you have squeezed your ears and head too hard and not relaxed your body enough.

As with improving any technique, practice makes perfect! Repeat the processes until you are getting some good power off the wall, holding that lovely streamline body.

Top Tips: Kicking and Streamline Body Position Part 1

Since the age of 9 I have been competing in the aquatic environment, along the way I have been able to work with some top coaches and teachers who have guided me on to achieving fast competitive swim times and swimming more efficiently.

Thinking back to how I was taught (many years back) I don’t think it was ever the case that there was much focus on leg kick and streamlined body position. Shame really because both are very important in becoming an efficient swimmer which will form the focus of this two part blog:

Part 1) Kicking- The power of your legs will drive you through the water. If the legs are kicking in the right direction, in an up and down motion, this will help to power the arms out of the water and move your body forward or backwards if you are on your back.

Part 2) Streamline body position- This is extremely important when moving through the water. If your body is lopsided or moving from left to right then this will slow you down, it could lead to injury or lack of strength on one side of your body.

Part 1 Tips and Tricks on Kicking

Kicking can seem an easy task to accomplish however, help to form the real power behind the arm strokes and can actually becoming a challenging and stressful process to adopt correctly. From my experience teaching most children/adults when in the water seem to do this thrash around kicking style which makes more mess than movement. The common fault is that learners kick from their knee! This is bad news for you guys as you won’t be moving anywhere anytime soon.

First of all, to overcome this try to visualise your legs kicking up and down from your hips in a straight position (not bending your knee), this will help your brain and body think about that kicking motion. You can try using your arms by putting them in front of you and doing the up and down motion. Yes you will look like a bit of a loon but this little guidance could help you create some beautiful movement through the water. The aim is to keep your legs straight but allow a small flexion from your knees.

Now that you are focused on kicking from your hips with straight legs you can begin to focus on the next element essential to kicking, ankles. Like most things in the water, staying relaxed is the key here, so with the ankles this is a must. Power, flexibility and using the term “floppy ankles” are going to generate movement kicking on your back and front. (Think about a boat- the legs are the motor and ankles are the propeller.) If you are still struggling with this movement then think about flicking your shoe off when you were little (or like me sometimes still do it for target practice) you will soon enough be powering through the water like a salmon up stream.

Here are a few practices to get you on your way:

Put yourself in a floating position on your front near a wall, grip the sides with your hands, put your head down and start the alternate up and down motion, your foot should be relaxed in this movement and the downward kick too should feel harder as this is where most of the power comes from, but a great tip here is the upwards kick should be where you work the hardest. If you are confident enough blow slow bubbles, this will help in later stages, if not hold your breath but please don’t kill yourself. It’s always good to get the ball rolling. (REMEMBER NEVER KICK FROM THE KNEE)

After you have practiced this for a bit (and not put half the pool water on the side) you should then be up for making a little trip down the lane.

I will be talking about body position in the next part of this series in more detail but this practice will help you for now…Place yourself, your bottom and one foot resting close on the wall. The other foot should be flat on the floor and not on tippy toes (This may vary on how tall you are and how deep the pool is.) Put your arms out in front of you in a straight position, your hands should be on top of each other and focus on squeezing your ears so that you like an arrow slicing through the water. This is called streamlining. Take a breath, put your head down between your arms and push off the wall, once you’ve glided for 2 seconds start your excellent kicking position.

Set yourself targets in the water. Make it achievable. Aim to kick to 10m, then 15m and soon you will be strong enough to do a whole length. Once you’ve cracked this and now starting to race lane swimmers, you can use a float to develop strength and distance as you will be able to kick with your head out of the water. See the next blog to find out more on streamlined body position.

Top Tips: Learn how to tumble like a pro!

During a recent conversation with a friend who was doing a pool swim for charity, it came up that he could not do tumble turns. The challenge involved 4 length sprints and he was a little dismayed about the time he was losing by having to stop after every length to touch the wall, turn around and push off. So I thought it would be a great advantage for him to learn to tumble turn as not only will this give him a great advantage speed wise but will also help improve his feel for the water.

Here are 5 step by step practices that I put together for him to master his tumble turns in time for his next swim:

1. It’s all about the nose! Blowing out through the nose is the only way to prevent water getting up it without wearing a nose clip. Practice steady, rhythmical breathing, bobbing up to take a breath and then submerging to blow out through your nose.

Tip: If you struggle with blowing out through your nose practice your loudest humming underwater until it becomes second nature.

2. Get used to going upside down. Tumble turns can be a bit disorientating if you are not used to them so have some fun and practice handstands, tucking your chin in and bowing out through your nose. Once you’re confident enough let your legs flip over until you are floating on your back or standing.

Tip: Take a deep breath and remember to keep blowing out through your nose until you finish the movement.

3. Get some speed. Practice pushing off the wall into a handstand and flip over or if you’re feeling confident, a summersault.

Tip: Turn your palms to face forwards and use them to accelerate your upper body round, keep your chin tucked in and let your legs flip over your body.

4. The turning point. Determine the best distance from the wall for your turn. Try swimming up to the wall, rolling over and standing up; see how close to the wall you can actually get. Aim to finish horizontal after the roll over with your feet planted on the wall.

Tip: Experiment to find a comfortable distance.

5. The final push. Practice spending as little time as you can with your feet in contact with the wall. Once they are planted drive with your thighs as though you were jumping. Don’t waste time turning onto your front before pushing off, push off on you back if necessary in a streamlined shape and gradually roll over.

With practice you’ll soon be knocking seconds off your times and leading the field and once you are why not try a challenge or charity swim of your own?

Make the most out of your floating ability in swimming with these Top Tips!

Welcome to Swimming Nature’s first Blog of 2014!

After my first swim of the New Year I was approached by a club member who had been watching me and wondered if I could give him a few technique tips. His dilemma was that, due to a shoulder injury, he couldn’t do his usual weight sessions in the gym so he wanted to try to improve his swimming as part of his recovery and to maintain fitness. The main thing putting him off was that every time he tried to swim he sank like a lead weight!

Myth #3 The sinker

It takes time to adapt to the aquatic environment and learn to work with water, as opposed to thrashing your way through it. Swimmers often call this developing ‘feel’ for the water. Swimming is also a resistance exercise, similar to weight lifting, but places almost no stress on your joints and bones. So not only does swimming work your muscles but it doesn’t have some of the negative impacts that lifting weights can have.

Having worked with numerous Adult swimmers and multi sport athletes who struggle with this concept, one thought always enters my mind when people say they can’t float, Relax!
Don’t fight the water, learn to relax and let it do most of the work for you.

I explained to the guy that because body type has a lot to do with your buoyancy most world class swimmers could be classified as “sinkers” because they are leaner, muscly individuals, which makes them less buoyant. But it really doesn’t matter; anyone can be a good swimmer, or even just a floater.

Buoyancy is best achieved by relaxing, controlled breathing and adopting a body position that will allow you to take full advantage of the waters properties. Everyone can float but some people need more time and practice getting used to their natural position in the water and learning how to control it. Raising the arms closer to the head helps to redistribute the weight and is a better floating position than the common ‘T’ shape. Slow, gentle kicking will also help as it raises the legs closer to the surface of the water. So I advised him to try this on his own but also it’s worth looking into some lessons to help get him started.

What aspects of you swimming are you struggling to get to grips with in 2014?

A pool full of swimming news, articles and tips.