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. 🙂

ad-hoc swimming

Too busy to exercise?

Did you resolve to increase the amount of exercise you do every week this New Year? How many times in a row have you resolved to do this but failed?

Many of you may find that your hectic schedules are getting in the way of your regular exercise. On days that you manage to get off work early, you may be just too tired to exercise. After all, an evening spent relaxing in your couch would probably be more enticing than dragging your exhausted bodies out for a jog.

For something more refreshing and easy on your body, how about going for a swim after work? According to Harvard Health Publications, swimming can burn as much calories as going for a jog. More over, we know from our previous post that swimming can help to alleviate stress, thereby making you feel better at the end of the day.

For those of you who would like to learn swimming, but are too busy to have regular lessons, we have come up with a new service! SwimInSG will be offering ad-hoc swimming lessons for busy individuals. For more information on these lessons that will fit well into your busy schedule, check it out here.

Have an awesome 2015!

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

Lifesaving, Sea

Who to Save First – Mum or Wife?

So your mum and your wife decided to fall into the sea at the same time. Who should you save first? This classic question never fails to come up at some point of your life. So, here is a comprehensive answer that you can provide that will in one way or another, make both your mum and wife speechless. Do note that my answer is provided from my point of view as a qualified lifesaver, and can be applied in an actual situation to increase the likelihood of preserving lives.

Think before you act!

After being alerted to the situation, you have to assess the situation first:

  • How far are the victims away from you?
  • Who is the weaker swimmer?
  • Are there any rescue aids available?
  • Are you fit enough to perform the rescue?

The rule of thumb is to save the person with the higher chance of survival first. Generally, this means that you should save the person nearest to you, the weaker swimmer or who is injured first. If one of them has already become unconscious (what were you doing??), you should save the one who is conscious first.

Another thing to take note of is whether there is anything near you that can aid you in your rescue. Anything that floats and can provide support can be used to perform the rescue. All you have to do is to throw the “float” to them. If there is only one of it, throw it to the nearer person since it is far easier than to throw it far. If there is a rope that is long enough, you may even use it to perform the rescue. This means that technically, you can don’t enter the water and still save both of them!

The smart aleck who asked you the question may follow up and say “What if they are equal distance away?”

Reply: “Have you ever heard of a ‘double chin tow’?”

Basically, a “chin tow” is a form of rescue that involves you towing a conscious casualty to safety. “Double chin tow” just means you tow 2 people at one go.

Smart aleck: “What if your wife is pregnant? That is 2 lives vs. 1 life”

This is where you cook up some excuse and stop entertaining this person, regardless of whether that is your mum or your wife.

Making an informed decision is not as easy as it seems. There are more considerations that you will learn by taking up lifesaving courses. Lifesaving tests include an “Initiative Test”, where you have to exercise your best judgement to decide who to save first. So, if you want to be fully-prepared to tackle this in real life, or just to answer this question, you may wish to take up lifesaving lessons. Alternatively, leave a comment with your question and we will do our best to answer you.


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.

SwimInSG Blog

SwimInSG’s Blog on Swimming in Singapore

SwimInSG started out in 2011 as a referral website that links students to swimming and lifesaving instructors. We have since expanded to also provide our own coaching services to organisations and individuals. We have instructors that provide swimming lessons for toddlers, children and adults, as well as lifesaving lessons.

In order to promote swimming and water safety, we have decided to start this blog. There will be posts on water safety, guides on how to teach your young ones to swim, and even video tutorials! Given that we are situated in Singapore, some of our posts will be more applicable in the Singapore context.

Do stay tuned!

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