Swimming is a great workout for both children and adults. Training can begin at a young age through group lessons or individual instruction. Classes are often available at local pools. In addition to classes, local pools will often have open swimming where children can play in the water and adults can swim laps. A lifeguard must be on duty at all times to supervise swimmers. Lessons and instruction may be conducted by a lifeguard or professional swimming instructor. During class, swimmers will learn the different techniques to swim. As swimmers become older, they can join their school team or local club. Both clubs and schools allow swimmers to participate in swim meets and compete against others. Below are some helpful terms to help you become more familiar with swimming instruction options.
Freestyle - Also called the crawl and is the standard stroke used by all swimmers. While on their torso, swimmers alternate the use of the arms and legs to move forward.
Breaststroke - The breaststroke is the slowest of all swimming techniques. Swimmers utilize a double arm and frog kick to propel themselves in the water.
Butterfly - The butterfly is another very technical stroke. Swimmers extend both of their arms simultaneously in front of their body to move in the water.
Backstroke - While lying on their back, swimmers alternate arm and kick strokes to advance from one end of the pool to the other.
Air Exchange - Air exchange is the moment when swimmers take a breath and exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen in between strokes.
Fins - Fins are plastic blades that are worn on the feet and help a swimmer improve their kick.
Flutter Kick - Flutter kick is used in both freestyle and backstroke techniques. This kick utilizes small and rapid leg movements with creating as little splash as possible.
Swimming is a fun activity that we all enjoy; however, it is also an activity that if we are not properly taught how to do can be dangerous, especially for small children. Both kids and adults often need the help of a trained and certified swimming instructor to learn water safety techniques.
Many public pools also serve as a location for swim schools, where classes are taught for kids and adults. The level of instruction in each lesson varies depending on the individual's own abilities. For instance, a beginner class works on floating, and other basic water safety techniques. An intermediate or advanced class works on free style, back stroke, and butterfly and breast stroke techniques. If the lessons are for a local swim team, then the kids will also work on diving off blocks at the start of a race. Club swim teams especially undergo harder workouts.
Other athletes, like triathletes, runners, and tennis players, also like to take up swimming lessons as a form of cross training and exercise. Many of these athletes hire swimming instructors as private trainers, specifically designing a workout for that person. Summer camps often team up with swim schools to form group lessons at a discounted rate for the parents, so the child can have some safe, supervised fun at the pool. Many of the teachers are also lifeguards and are trained in CPR.
Swimming is one of the earliest sports known to man, with breast stroke and free style (front crawl) being among the first two stokes perfected. Other sports that are closely related include water polo and competitive diving.