Top tips for babies and toddlers

Be flexible
Encouragement to try all activities
Let your baby/toddler be your guide
A partnership – work with you baby/toddler
Practise the tasks and make gradual transitions

Be Gentle
Slow movements
Be ready to respond with cuddles/positive reinforcement
Maintain concentration – keep your attention on their face for cues and stopping their head going underwater without preparation
Avoid hesitation which causes confusion
The above develops trust, especially when activities are completed and repeated.
Your teacher will discuss what comes next to eliminate any surprises. TRUST IS A MUST.

Keep trying and don’t give up
Patience – swimming and water confidence isn’t achieved overnight

Teaching method

Your teacher will show you first
Don’t attempt anything unless you fully understand

Keep practising in lessons and even at your own leisure swimming/bath time. You will get tired and possibly bored (this is where the patience comes in!) but for your baby/toddler’s benefit the effort is worth it.
Skills repetition promotes positive reinforcement.

Keep moving
To keep all swimmers warm, keep moving, even when listening and watching demonstrations
Your baby becomes aware that by moving their arms and legs they will stay afloat.

Praise is reward, ignore the negative
Express your pride in their efforts

Children eager to learn must be given freedom. Experiment to find the best way to hold your active baby/toddler – different for different ages and independence levels

Be on time for your lesson
Encourages a relaxed environment for all attending the class
Prevents class disruptions and the flow for other learners and the teacher

Come prepared
Swimwear for parent/guardian and baby/toddler
3 towels
A means of fastening back swimmer’s hair
Aqua nappy
Nappy changing / food for after as needed

Don’t set goals for your child too high
Goals can be changed to reflect achievement
Start small
Never show disappointment or scold for something not done to your expectations.

Give encouragement
Try not to show your nerves or apprehension as your baby/toddler will pick up on this and replicate themselves.
Understand swimming is one of the hardest skills to accomplish, yet some expect exceptional results within minimal learning time.

Crying is expected and OK
Your teacher will be able to advise and take appropriate steps to resolve

Don’t compare children
Encourage progress at the right pace for them
Again, patience
Teachers will use the appropriate learning style to best suit the swimmers.

Do we have to wear swimming hats?

Do we have to wear swimming hats?

Swimming hats are to be worn because:

  1. Health and safety
  2. Cleanliness
  3. Benefit swimming
  4. Protect hair / hold keep ear plugs secure

Wearing a hat ensures that all hair is neatly tucked away which enables the teachers and swimmers not to get their fingers tangled in the hair. There is a risk without a hat that hair can become tangled around lane ropes and equipment. Secondly, swimmers often stop to move their hair from out of their face whilst swimming, therefore enabling swimmers to continue swimming without interruption.

Pools are regularly cleaned, however, sometimes there are small/large clumps of hair floating around in the pool – swimmers and teachers do not like their feet or hands being tangled in them!

Hats reduce the drag a swimmer feels whilst swimming and can help maintain a more streamlined position. These factors are more significant when a swimmer reaches competition level.

I strongly recommend hats to protect hair from chlorine as an extra barrier, particularly for frequent swimmers. Often swimmers use ear plugs (for various reasons), therefore hats provide a good barrier to stop water getting into the ears and keeping the ear plugs in place.

Contact Core Aquatics for high quality swimming lessons with knowledgeable and experienced swimming teachers! Call us on 07505 065 184 or email:



How quickly should my child progress?

How quickly should my child progress?

As a parent, you always want the best for your children which we understand and appreciate. We work with our children and parents to establish the childr(en’)s best learning style and ensuring they have and easy transition and positive experience with Core Aquatics. In addition, progress is often quicker as we adapt our teaching to the children’s learning style.

Progression is another matter entirely…! Every swimmer will equally have their own progression path to follow.

Acknowledge their progress:

Appreciate where your child has started.  For example, blowing bubbles or getting a child’s face wet can be a huge achievement – particularly when they have an extreme fear of water. Always support your children with swimming and do not give up on lessons. The swimmer will have to overcome any fears or issues at some point and putting lessons off will only make matters worse.

Children must feel happy and safe in the water without a parent before they will accept a teacher teaching them to swim. Our job is heavily based on trust. Sometimes trust is there within one or two lessons, other swimmers take a little more time. Always be supportive and reassuring. After the introduction stage, progress then depends on previous experience, whether there has been a negative experience elsewhere and whether they can already swim. Some swimmers are more gradual learners, whereas others can pick things up quite quickly.  Both are normal and we adapt our lessons for all!

Swimmer engagement:

Swimming engagement is a key element of progression. The use of child friendly language enables us to achieve better interaction with our swimmers. Our teachers are skilled child communicators. Our teachers adapt their language to the different swimmer ages and find storytelling, competitions, games and praise work.  Toys and equipment can be manipulated for pretend play (noodles to motorbikes, steering wheels, horses). Developing a rapport with the children is important that is fun but also ensuring a degree of discipline is kept.

Home support and working with teachers:

Spending a few minutes at bath time practising or going swimming with your children can improve swimming significantly. We are happy to guide parents with ways to improve the children’s swimming and what is classed as correct technique.

Progress is bi-annually communicated with our parents especially how to help encourage muscle memory (how the body automatically know how to do something). Core Aquatics always encourage parents to listen/watch how we teach and eco in practice. There are specific ways of terming instructions to get the correct outcome, for example, some parent’s say, ‘use your legs to make the biggest splash you can’. Children then kick their legs out of the water, bend their knee and give teachers a shower in the process! Small, fast kicks are more efficient, comparing to soldiers, ballerinas and tree trunks go down very well.

Attendance and supporting teachers:

Regular weekly attendance makes a huge difference in swimmer progression as practice is maintained. Do let us know everything that makes your children happy, television programmes, favourite holidays etc. We use these all the time in lessons to help children understand how to swim and make lessons enjoyable (important for progress).

Finally, it is important not to pressure your children, even the best swimming teachers in the industry cannot turn swimmers into Olympic swimmers overnight. Swimming is about learning skills and technique safely, not just swimming lengths up and down.

If you would like support as a swimmer, or even for your children we can help. If you’re interested in booking some swimming lessons for yourself or your child, contact us today by calling 07505065184, or send us an email to

Practice and its role in learning how to swim

Practice and its role in learning how to swim

In this post, I set out to answer some of the questions that tend to crop up time and time again, around how quickly swimmers progress in lessons and what you can do to speed up the process! So, if you want to find out more, keep reading!

Why aren’t you swimming after a couple of lessons?

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all swim like Olympians after a couple of swimming lessons? Well, perhaps it wouldn’t be so great for swimming teachers – I guess we would all need to find another job!

But, jokes aside, swimming is a complex skill that requires hours and hours of practice to allow us to build confidence in the water and gradually improve technique. After all, “practice makes perfect”, as the saying goes – unless you’re reinforcing bad habits and poor technique!

Other factors to consider aside from practice and repetition

When we are considering rate of progression, there are other important factors to consider too, including:

  • A swimmer’s age
  • A swimmer’s current ability
  • The natural ability of a swimmer
  • Individual’s focus, effect and motivation level
  • Opportunities to practice outside of lessons
  • Previous experiences in the water
  • The quality of the teacher’s instruction


Why do you forget so much between lessons?

There’s a lot of research out there around memory and forgetting. But, one theory that has really stuck with me over the years is that of Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist from the late 1800s.

Ebbinghaus’s research looked at how quickly we forget newly learned information. His research described the ‘forgetting curve’, which documents something that I’m sure we can all relate to. He found that we tend to experience a sharp drop in memory soon after learning something new for the first time. He also showed that we tend to retain a mere fraction of everything learned if that information is not revisited.

To bring this back to swimming, we tend to forget a lot between lessons, because by the time a week has passed, our memory has experienced the initial sharp loss of information that Ebbinghaus observed over a century ago. You’ll be pleased to hear that Ebbinghaus didn’t pack up shop and give up there and then! Through trial and observation, Ebbinghaus found that frequent reviews could help with retention. He called this strategy ‘spaced repetition’.

Using spaced repetition speed up swimming progression

To bring this back to swimming, try to make the most of every opportunity you have to practice what you have learned in your last swimming lesson.

For children learning to become more confident in the water, encourage them to splash and play in the bath. Get them to blow bubbles in the water and practice putting their ears under the water so that they become comfortable with the water on and around them.

For swimmers of a higher ability, try and pop to the pool outside of lessons. This will offer an opportunity to practice what you’ve learnt in your last lesson.

And, if you can, make the most of fast-track/crash courses for swimming, which are often available over the school holidays. Fast track lessons will give your children the opportunity to swim every day, giving them the spaced repetitions that they need to support their learning. They will also receive support from teachers who are experienced in helping swimmers of all ages and abilities to become confident and competent in the water.

Looking for swimming lessons? Call Nicole on 07505065184 or email

Swimming – the only sport that can save a life

Swimming – the only sport that can save a life!

Swimming is great fun and one of the best forms of exercise you can do, but it’s also a very important life skill.

Drowning Prevention Week

The Royal Lifesaving Society UK hold an annual Drowning Prevention Week, their national campaign. In support of the DPW here are some important points for water safety.

How many people drown in the UK?

Every year, about 400 lives are lost to drowning in the UK – equivalent to one person drowning every 20 hours . Every day, people die and suffer life-changing injuries as a result of drowning. It is one of the leading causes of accidental death.

Drowning is preventable

Drowning often has multiple and complex causes. Many of the drowning fatalities in the UK were people who accidentally fell into the water – including runners and walkers. Many were children and young adults, and others were under the influence of alcohol. But drowning can be prevented through simple measures. One thing that you can do today is make sure that you and your children learn the code to safety as part of Drowning Prevention Week (see below).

Things that can prevent drowning

Swimming lessons always go a long way in helping people to be safer in and around water. After all, swimming is the only sport that can save your life! At Core Aquatics, our lessons are focused on helping children and adults to become confident swimmers who can enjoy their time in the water safely.

Invaluable campaigns, such as ‘Float to Live’ from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, also help to educate people on how to respond if they find themselves in water unexpectedly. The charity explains that British and Irish coastal waters are cold enough to cause cold water shock. They advise fighting the urge to swim hard, floating on your back until the cold water shock has passed.

We also need to create safer environments in and around water. The RLSS has loads of information on their website about water safety at home, on holiday, at the beach and more. We’ve included a few highlights below:

  • People can drown in as little as 2cm of water, so when it comes to bath time, children should never be left unattended and the bath should be emptied straight after use.
  • Supervise children while they’re using paddling pools; empty them and turn them upside down after use.
  • If you’re going on holiday, try to find a destination that has lifeguard cover at the pool/beach and read the signs to find the safest places to swim.
  • Never swim alone or under the influence of alcohol.

What’s the takeaway message?

Drowning is still one of the most common causes of accidental death in the UK, so being able to swim is an essential life-saving skill. However, done safely, swimming is also lots of fun for people of all ages!

If you’re interested in booking some swimming lessons for yourself or your child, contact us today by calling 07505065184, or send us an email to

Learning technique or swimming distance?

Learning technique or swimming distance?

Technique seems to be forgotten about by swimmers/spectators! There is one noticeable stereotype that the vast majority of swimming lesson spectators share – expecting lengths to be swam back to back with little feedback.  Instead allowing distance to develop with learning safe technique is more effective and efficient.

‘Why isn’t my child swimming lengths up and down the pool?’

Simple, technique is priority over distance! We fully appreciate that a large percentage of parents/guardians just want their child(ren) to be safe and can swim. Not everyone wants to become a competitive or Olympic swimmer (although some expect this overnight!). However, technique is still the priority over distance.

Why technique first?

Teachers are trained to deliver the correct swimming technique for the following reasons:

  1. Prevent swimmers injuring their body (short and long term)
  2. Creating more work – rectifying incorrect technique can sometimes take months
  3. Support the swimmer’s growth and development
  4. Efficient swimming

Distance will come with technique! A swimmer will not be able to comfortably and safely swim 10 metres or more. How will child(ren) progress if teachers stand and watch them swim lengths up and down? Teachers also have to progress lessons and swimming stroke that is appropriate for the swimmer’s age/growth development. A swimmer’s anatomy is an important facet of swimming – how they are positioned in the water, do they float/sink, can they hold their balance and body position when bringing their arms out of the water?

What about beginners?

Technique does not just refer to how well the stroke is executed. Consider skills such as blowing bubbles, jumping, floating, mushroom shapes and somersaults, which can be covered by beginners and above. The skills used as an example above are foundations to excellent technique. For example, if a swimmer doesn’t learn inhaling and exhaling correctly with blowing bubbles, then technique such as bilateral breathing will not be mastered. Instead, swimmers will hold their breath. Another example, jumping into the pool teaches children not to fear diving, deep water but instead teaches them breathing control, builds confidence and adds fun to lessons! I could give to many examples that would make this blog a book!

How long does technique take to develop?

Technique is constantly being taught, the quicker the technique is grasped and mastered, the more natural and quicker the distance will come. Constant feedback with swimmers and practice is important, communicating in ways the swimmer understands. For example, simple terminology, comparing to television programmes and objects or storytelling. Equipment can be used and teacher support to further push progress and correct technique quicker. The results will be by far better than forcing swimmers to do length after length of ‘sloppy’ swimming or struggling to reach the other side of the pool.

If you would like your child(ren) to learn to swim safely and learn the life skills of swimming then  call us on 07505 065 184 or email:

Can you spot a good swimming lesson provider?

Can you spot a good swimming lesson provider?

Swimming lessons are an investment!

When you’re paying for a service, you expect good quality! So, it goes without saying that you’d want to find the best swimming lesson provider that you can for yourself or your child! But could you spot a good swimming lesson provider? Read on to learn what you should be looking for and the questions you should be asking!

Ask if the lessons follow Swim England’s ‘Learn to Swim’ pathway or equivalent

The Swim England ‘Learn to Swim’ pathway is the national syllabus that swimming teachers should follow in their lessons. The pathway has been structured to ensure that learners are receiving the best possible instruction with qualified teachers. Lessons that follow Swim England’s ‘Learn to Swim Pathway’ are more likely to be of a high standard and suitable for the learner’s age and ability. Learn more about the Swim England ‘Learn to Swim’ pathway here.

Check that all teachers are qualified to teach swimming

Most swimming teachers in England hold Swim England qualifications (n.b. Swim England has recently been re-branded from the Amateur Swimming Association).
Teachers who hold their Level 1 Swimming Assistant Qualification in teaching swimming are qualified to actively support a qualified Swimming Teacher in the delivery of a lesson. Teachers who hold their Level 2 Swimming Teacher Qualification are qualified to independently deliver swimming lessons.
It is worth noting that it is not mandatory for all swimming lessons to be delivered by Swim England Level 2 qualified teachers. When these guidelines are adhered to the lessons tend to be of a higher quality!

Check the size of group lessons

Before you sign up for group lessons, check the class sizes! Swim England recommends a ratio of no more than 12 non-swimmers and beginners to 1 teacher, or a ratio of 20 improving or competent swimmers to 1 teacher.
You may think that these numbers seem high – so do we! Core Aquatics classes have a maximum of 4, 5 or 6 swimmers to 1 teacher, depending on swimming ability, because we know that small groups encourage a faster rate of progression!

Make sure the lessons are fun!

Nobody learns well when they’re bored and disengaged! Keeping lessons fun and incorporating games into the lessons to support learning can be hugely beneficial to swimming progression!
Ask the teachers if they use game-based learning and whether they have pool toys to use as part of their lessons.

Check that the lessons are comprehensive!

Swimming for swimming’s sake does not make for good swimming lessons. So, check that the lessons will focus on the development of key water skills.
In the earlier stages teachers should be focusing on activities such as floating, blowing bubbles, and they should also be stressing the importance of water safety!
Swimming strokes should be introduced gradually once a swimmer has acquired the basic skills. These should not be introduced immediately.
In the latter stages swimmers should be developing more advanced skills, including diving, forward rolls, and turns in the water.
All swimmers should also be encouraged to recognise swimming as a fitness exercise!

Ask teachers how they reward and encourage swimmer progression

Good lesson providers should have a system in place that acknowledges swimmer progression through certificates and/or badges. They are a great way to reward achievements and motivate children when they are finding things more difficult. Certificates and badges tend to be something that can be purchased at a small cost but can add a disproportionate boost to the child’s enthusiasm and love for swimming..

At Core Aquatics we acknowledge achievement via the Swim England ‘Learn to swim’ pathway certificates and badges. We also have our very own ‘Core Aquatics Award of Achievement’, which recognise interim progress between formal accredited Swim England swimming stages. These are FREE and provided to swimmers who have made exceptional milestone achievement.

Core Aquatics also provide feedback evenings twice a year for parents to sit with the teacher and ask any questions/hear how their child is progressing.

If you find a swimming lesson provider that meets all the above criteria, then you can feel confident that the lessons will be of a high quality.

If you’re interested in lessons with Core Aquatics, we would love to hear from you and we would be really happy to answer any questions that you may have! Core Aquatics would love to hear from you, call to enquire/book  on 07505 065184 or book on or email


Expectations of swimming lessons

As a parent/guardian:

All parents expect their children to learn to swim and be safe in and around water. It may be surprising that some parents seem to want their children to be Olympic swimmers overnight. Some parents allow children to progress in their own time. The important message is to allow measurable progress each lesson and encourage foundation skills to be mastered. Learning to swim is a gradual process not a ‘quick fix’. Naturally, everyone learns at different paces.

Consider what are reasonable expectations – a swimmer putting their face in the water can seem so simple to us but for them a great challenge. Recognise everything, be their biggest cheerleader and give them the confidence and support to help them progress.

As a swimmer yourself:

Similarly, to parents and children, always acknowledge what you have achieved. Acknowledging your progress will give you great confidence to move forward. Swimming as an adult can be harder as you may have had a traumatic experience very young or later in life. Secondly there are aspects of swimming that can be more difficult to master as an adult – remember, it isn’t impossible! The more information you can tell your teacher, the easier we can make the lessons and the more you are supported.

What you can expect from Core Aquatics:

  • Teachers who care about progress and attending to each child’s specific needs
  • Patient and understanding teachers
  • Communication – what is happening, swimmer progress, changes in the industry etc.
  • Measurable progress
  • Advice to aid progress
  • Acknowledgement of progress through awards
  • Encouraging and fun environment
  • Welcoming team
  • Small groups to ensure all children get more attention

To join our swimming lessons, team contact us today! You can also contact us about any further questions regarding what to expect from swimming lessons and Core Aquatics. Contact us on 07505065184 or email


Consistency and Progression

Consistency and progression

Consistency is important for progress; fundamentally consistency can have an equally significant impact upon swimmers’ confidence.

Swimmer progress
Muscle memory

The above three points are all linked together, nevertheless, each point is important on their own. Therefore, each element will be considered and links highlighted.

Swimmer progress

A swimmer’s progress is multifaceted; some facets are outlined below:

  • parental influence/actions/support
  • swimmer’s ability
  • learning style
  • confidence
  • attendance (consistency)
  • teacher – patience, knowledge, understanding, support, tuition
  • swimmer’s behaviour / attitude

Bringing the above list together, by having a positive swimming lesson experience, with the right support, consistency of attendance/teacher can have a huge positive impact upon swimmer progress. If any of the points above are negative, then there are consequences (progression slowing or stopping). As noted in our previous blogs, maintain a positive working relationship between swimmer, parent and teacher/business owner to ensure that the above are approached in the right way for the individual swimmer.

Muscle memory

For some swimmers, grasping certain technique can be difficult. These circumstances are more common where swimmers have either been pushed to swim too early or are so used to swimming with incorrect technique that their brain is taking longer to pick up the new technique. It is a case of ‘practise makes perfect’

Typically, with the above swimmers, from experience, it is a case of repetition and helping the swimmer to feel the change of movement. Asking them what feels different. For example, we ask swimmers to hold the side (and their permission) to move their legs so that they have some guided support and can feel the correct way to kick.

Alternatively using different terminology to explain the same thing helps – as a teacher you quickly learn how to explain one thing in about fifteen different ways!

Both above points reinforce muscle memory and eventually result in a successful outcome of good/correct technique.


Before any technique or swimming can start a swimmer must be confident in the water. If they trust the teacher and are familiar with the surroundings then they are more amenable to try what is asked. Without confidence there isn’t much we can do – other than build confidence!

If you would like to join our lessons, with quality teachers then give Nicole a call or email today: or 07505 065 184 and hear how we can help!

Why does my child cry when swimming?

Why does my child cry when swimming?

Sometimes it can be obvious why a child cries when they go to swimming lessons, often they tell us. However, many children can turn up to their first few lessons and just scream!

Firstly, as a parent/guardian, do not blame yourself! The most common question I get from parent/guardians is “Is my child the worst you have ever taught?”…the answer is no, over the years of teaching I have been spat on, hit, kicked in the stomach, pinched, had swimming bricks thrown at me and more! On all of these occasions there has been a reason why these behaviours were displayed, and all resolved! The reason underlying these issues is often confidence. Remember, do not give up!

Here are a few reasons why your child cries at swimming lessons:

  • Something new / change
  • Confidence / extreme fear
  • Attention seeking behaviour
  • Tiredness
  • Parental separation

Something new / change

For a child going somewhere new with new people can be a nervous or daunting experience, quite like their first day at nursery, playgroup or school! I always advise my clients to talk to their children about their upcoming swimming lessons; who their teacher is, where the lessons are, what we do in the lessons, what they would like to do. The more information you can tell us about your child/ren, for example, learning style, favourite music/television programmes, the better we can be prepared to incorporate and accommodate these into their lessons. Easing the transition is very important.

If you give up easily, the issue will not go away and no matter where you swim or at what point in life, if they have a fear or do not like change then being consistent is best. Allow your child to build a trusting bond with their teacher, trust the teacher’s judgement – we are good at knowing a child’s boundaries and what we can encourage them to do. Fundamentally, unless they attend lessons, we can’t resolve!

The more frequently a child encounters the swimming pool environment the more familiar they are and become more relaxed with their surroundings.


Often a swimmer’s confidence can grow in a matter of a few lessons, other times confidence can develop over a couple of months. Patience and consistency are important.

If you, as a parent/guardian, are not confident with swimming, try not to express this in front of your children as it can transfer on them! Trusting the swimming teacher is vital to allow them to teach your child correctly and safely – if it makes you nervous watching them swim underwater/jump/dive feel free to look away!

Children who have had a ‘near drowning’ experience prior to taking formal swimming lessons can develop extreme fear – if this is the case you must tell the new swimming teacher about the experience. One to one sessions are often best to address this fear to allow the child to have a calmer environment and develop a strong trust with the teacher.


Always allow a term of lessons for crying children and then re-evaluate after that. Some will cry for a minute; others can cry for a number of weeks. You have to be more stubborn than them! I understand hearing the “I want mummy/daddy” can be hard to ignore and make you feel like you just want to get them out and give them a cuddle! Try to avoid this as it can prolong the issue. Ensure all children go to the toilet before they swim so that we know any “I need the toilet” excuses are just a reason to get out rather than a genuine need.

Spending two or three minutes at bath time, practising washing their hair, kicking their legs or blowing bubbles can really help a child reduce/relieve their fear/anxiety. Such activity helps them to associate fun with water. I am not suggesting here to turn their bath time into another lesson, just a couple of minutes each bath time can be sufficient!

At Core Aquatics, we specialise in small groups; such an intimate environment can help swimmers to progress more quickly and provides an ideal environment for confident and quicker progression.

Finally, if you have a teacher that takes the time to understand the issue/reasons for crying, offers suggestions for practice at home, is patient and talks to the child rather than joining in a shouting match then you’re onto a winner!

If your child cries at their swimming lesson and you’d like a team who can handle them at their worst, as well as bring out their best. Contact us today on 07505 065184 or email