Esmond Lee

Swimming Lessons: What to bring?

Swimming Lessons: What to bring?

From our previous post, we have shared the appropriate attire for swimming lessons. This post serves to furnish you with more information to get you better prepared for the first swimming lesson. Here are a few things that are typically required for a swimming lesson:

  1. Swimming goggles
  2. Kickboard
  3. Swim Cap (optional)

Swimming goggles, or goggles in short, serve to enable relatively clear vision when your head is underwater. In addition, the goggles keep water out of your eyes which is an important feature for most beginner swimmers as it can be extremely uncomfortable for the uninitiated. So, how does one choose a pair of goggles? Our first piece of advice would be for the goggles to be of a good fit. In other words, adults should not be wearing kid-sized goggles and vice versa. If you happen to be myopic, you may wish to use optical goggles. However, do note that the refraction of light underwater means that you should opt for lower powered goggles.

Most instructors use kickboards as training aids to enable component training. For example, your instructor may want to work on your kicking, so he/she asks you to perform kicking drills. Although some instructors do provide kickboards for the lessons, it is wiser to purchase your own so that you may practice outside of lessons. So do ask your instructor for their opinion on the type of kickboards to purchase as different instructors may have different preferences for the conduct of their lessons.

The chlorine in the water can be damaging to your hair. As such, you may consider getting a silicone swimming cap to protect your hair. Also, if you get to the high performance level for swimming, it helps reduce drag. Some swim schools may issue swim caps to their students, but if they don’t, you can always get your own.

Now that you are properly equipped for the first swimming lesson, we hope that you will have an enjoyable and fruitful experience while learning how to swim.

Swimming Lessons: What to wear?

Swimming Lessons: What to wear?

It may be your child’s first swimming lesson. It could also be your own first swimming lesson. As the date of the first lesson draws nearer, you start to worry about whether the lessons would be enjoyable. Some first time students of swimming may also have doubts about whether they would be able to pick up swimming as a sport. We believe the one thing that would definitely help improve your experience is to be dressed appropriately for class.

This leads us to the question, “what is appropriate for swimming lessons?”. Ideally, one’s swimwear should follow the following guidelines:

  1. Size
  2. Material
  3. Decency

Over the years, we have realised that beginner swimmers have difficulty picking up swimming should their swimwear be ill-fitting. Oversized swimwear tends to restrict movement and can be a safety hazard, especially for beginner swimmers. On the other hand, undersized swimwear is simply uncomfortable. Therefore, please ensure that the swimwear you choose is of the appropriate size!

Next, do note that cotton based clothing are not allowed at most swimming pools due to hygiene reasons. Please do ensure that your swimwear is made of non-cotton material. No zips or any other metal parts should be found on your chosen swimming attire as this may be a safety hazard for both you and other swimmers.

The concept of decency may vary from person to person but we will define the minimum required for swimming lessons. Please ensure that your swimwear is able to cover the private regions. We would also recommend avoiding the following; bikinis, thongs, man-thongs, etc.

If your swimwear is able to meet the above guidelines, you can be assured that the first swimming lesson would be much more enjoyable.

Swimming: Pregnancy

Swimming: Pregnancy

It is a common misconception that pregnant women should avoid exercising. On the contrary, exercise is beneficial to the pregnant woman and her unborn child. Swimming, in particular, has tremendous benefits for the expectant mother, which we will highlight in this article.

As compared to any other form of exercise on land, going for a swim is less strenuous on the expectant mother as the additional weight of the unborn child is offset by the buoyancy factor. At the same time, there are excellent cardiovascular benefits to be reaped from swimming. The fact that swimming is a low impact sport means that the joints are spared from unnecessary wear and tear. Last but not least, swimming also strengthens the muscles required to maintain a good posture.

Although we do encourage expectant mothers to go for the occasional dip in the swimming pool, we do believe that certain safety precautions should still be taken. The most important of all in sunny Singapore is the need to stay hydrated even though you are immersed in water during your swim. Should you feel unwell at any point in time during your pregnancy, please seek medical advice before going for a swim. It may also be wise to avoid overly exerting yourself during your pregnancy, so do swim at a comfortable pace.

So, if you know someone who is expectant, do share this post with them so that more people can reap the tremendous benefits of swimming. If you are an expectant mother, we wish you a safe and healthy pregnancy. 🙂

swimming instructor certifications

Swimming Instructors: The Origins

As with every sports coach, the swimming instructor has to go through a series of certification programmes before he/she is qualified to teach. But what are the qualifications out there that can equip you with the knowledge required to be an excellent swimming instructor? This post serves to tell you more!

SG-Coach (Previously known as the National Coaching Accreditation Programme or NCAP)

The SG-Coach programme is a training and development programme created by Sport Singapore to train professional coaches in Singapore. In order to become a full fledged swimming instructor under this programme and be registered with the National Registry of Coaches (NROC), one must achieve the following certifications; Standard First Aid, Lifesaving 1, 2, 3, Basic Sport Science, SG-Coach Theory Level 1, SG-Coach Technical (Swimming) Level 1. The minimum age requirement is 18.

In order to register for the SG-Coach Technical (Swimming) Level 1 course, you should have acquired all the other certificates as listed above. Preliminary testing in the form of a skill test of your proficiency of the 4 strokes (namely, front crawl, backstroke, butterfly and breaststroke) for 25m per stroke will be conducted before lessons begin. Only selected candidates will be admitted to the course with lessons conducted twice a week. At the end of the course, candidates will have to pass a practical assessment and a theory exam. Successful candidates will be required to complete 24 attachment sessions before qualifying as a swimming coach.

Any instructor who wishes to teach at the Sport Singapore pools will have to go through a 2-day SwimSafer Instructor’s Course to qualify for the pool usage permit.

AUSTSWIM Teacher of Swimming and Water Safety™

The AUSTSWIM programme has a minimum age requirement of 17 and requires candidates to go through a 16-20 hour programme covering both theory and practical components. After which, candidates will have to complete an online theory assessment, demonstrate the ability to write lesson plans and demonstrate teaching skills through supervised on the job training and demonstrate competence in water safety techniques. AUSTSWIM instructors are required to renew their CPR annually in order for their license to be valid.

ASCTA Swim Australia™ Teacher

The ASCTA programme requires the candidates to undertake a 5-hour sideline observation before attending a practical induction programme and complete an online theory assessment. They will then have to demonstrate their competency in writing a lesson plan and practical teaching. Candidates are also required to be CPR certified and be of 17 years of age.

STA Swimming Teachers’ Certificate

The STA programme consists of two levels, the Basic Teachers Course (BTC) followed by the Swimming Teachers’ Certificate (STC). Candidates must first possess a minimum of lifesaving 1,2,3  and Standard First Aid or CPR certificates.

At the BTC level, candidates are to go through a skill test on their proficiency of front crawl, breaststroke and backstroke for 25m per stroke. . At the end of the course, candidates will have to pass a practical assessment and a theory exam. Candidates must be at least 17 years of age.

At STC level, candidates must be in possession of the BTC certificate are required to go through a skills test on their proficiency of the 4 strokes (front crawl, breast stroke, back stroke and butterfly for 50m per stroke. At the end of the course, candidates will have to pass a practical assessment and a theory exam. Candidates must be at least 18 years of age.



Lifeguard: The Origins

Since the 1800s, lifeguards have been safeguarding the lives and safety of people when swimming first gained popularity as a recreational activity. Based on the data provided by the International Lifesaving Federation, 1.2 million people around the world die drowning every year. The numbers are staggering, considering the widespread availability of swimming and water safety lessons. In an earlier post, we have also shed some light on the truth about the role of a lifeguard in Singapore.

So, how do you become a lifeguard in Singapore?

In order to become a lifeguard, you must first be a proficient swimmer. There is no need for you to possess swimming certificates such as NASSA, SwimSafer or SSPA. Most lifesaving teachers will assess your level of proficiency in swimming and it would be a huge advantage if you are proficient in the breaststroke.

Next, you will have to earn the Lifesaving 1, 2 and 3 certificates that are awarded by the Singapore Lifesaving Society (SLSS). At this stage, you will be equipped with theoretical knowledge of water safety, water and land based rescues and the practical applications lifesaving techniques. These certificates can be awarded concurrently and will serve as the prerequisites for the Bronze Medallion (BM), which is recognised in all Commonwealth countries.

After achieving the Lifesaving 1, 2 and 3 certificates, you will qualify for BM training. At this stage, speed and stamina is key. The practical components are as follows:

  1. Undress (you will be in long sleeved shirt and pants/skirt) and swim 50 meters, then perform clothing tow for 50 meters in 3 minutes 15 seconds
  2. Swim 50 meters followed by a chin tow for 50 meters
  3. Swim 15 meters and tow a submerged casualty to shore in 1 minute 15 seconds, timing stops when you administer the first rescue blow
  4. Initiative exercise where you have to apply your lifesaving knowledge to a scenario set by your examiner

You will also be required to pass a separate CPR test prior to your BM test. There will also be a theoretical component testing your understanding of water safety, rescue principles, survival in water and emergency aftercare.

Upon clearing the BM, you will be eligible to apply for lifeguarding positions. This is subject to in-house fitness criteria and in some cases, you will need to be AED certified. Embark on your journey to become a lifeguard and you will be part of a noble group that safeguards the lives of others.

Swimming: Stress Relief

Swimming: Stress Relief

Rush. Rush. Rush.

That is the essence of our fast paced society where everyone is rushing to meet deadlines, rushing for meetings, rushing to finish their meals so that they can continue to rush some more. Stressful, isn’t it?

Swimming is an excellent way to relieve some of that stress as it is shown to alleviate anxiety at an efficiency that is similar to yoga (Sawane & Gupta, 2013). After a long day at work, I’m sure most of you crave for some quiet, alone time to unwind. Rather than choosing to partake in a sedentary activity like watching television, why not go for a swim instead?

The repetitive strokes has an almost hypnotic effect which, when coupled with the soothing water, will grant you some relief from the stress. With the advances in technology, we have easy access to the people around us and vice versa. This can be a bane and a boon at the same time. We seek the high levels of connectivity that affords us much convenience but when we need time alone, we find it difficult to get disconnected. In the pool, you can get some respite from technology.

It is also said that our bodies release endorphins if we swim for more than 20 minutes (Evans, 2007), which promotes a sense of well-being. Endorphins are basically chemicals that help to relieve stress.

So, the next time you are stressed out, try going for a leisure swim at a swimming pool near you. This might be the quiet, alone time that you seek to de-stress effectively.

M.V. Sawane & S. S. Gupta (2013). Efficacy of Yoga and Swimming in Reducing Anxiety: A Comparative Study. People’s Journal of Scientific Research, Vol. 6(1))

J. Evans (2007). Janet Evan’s Total Swimming


The Truth about the Role of a Lifeguard in Singapore

Has the thought that “the lifeguards are a waste of resources as they merely sit on their chairs doing nothing” ever crossed your mind? If that’s the case, here are some facts that might change your mind about the importance of a lifeguard in preventing death by drowning in Singapore.

Based on statistics from the Singapore Lifesaving Society in 2010, a total number of 356 reported lifesaving rescues were performed and the total number of deaths by drowning cases heard in the Coroner’s Court was 42. Considering that Singapore is a water locked nation, this is hardly shocking news as most people will come into contact with large bodies of water from time to time.

A lifeguard seeks to prevent potential drowning cases at all times but is always ready for any emergency situations. All lifeguards are trained to identify the different categories of swimmers and are able to provide water safety advice. For example, when encountered with a weak swimmer attempting to swim at the competitive pool, the swimmer would be advised to use the training pool instead as it would be a much safer alternative.

Despite having put in some effort in making the waters a safer place for swimmers, lifeguards are on a constant lookout for emergency situations such as when a swimmer sustains an injury and panics. It is only when such situations arise that they tap on their arsenal of lifesaving techniques. Unlike what is usually depicted in dramas, where lifeguards dive in regardless of the situation, lifeguards are trained to perform rescues using techniques that can guarantee their own safety while achieving the objective of rescuing the casualty.

Hopefully, this article was able to shed some light on what a lifeguard is really doing on his chair while on duty and clear up some misconceptions regarding the profession.

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