Swimming Lessons: SwimSafer

SwimSafer is a national water safety programme that draws on elements of the National Survival Swimming Award (NASSA) and Learn-to-swim (LTS) programme. Introduced in July 2010 by the National Water Safety Council (NWSC), it aims to progressively teach children  swimming and water survival skills over six stages. Upon the successful completion of each stage, the child will receive a certificate detailing his/her skill achievements.


Each of the six stages progressively imparts skills in the following areas.

  • Entries / Exits
  • Sculling and Body Orientation
  • Underwater Skills
  • Movement / Swimming strokes
  • Survival Skills
  • Rescue Skills
  • Knowledge


Stage 1: Introduction to water skills

This stage of the programme seeks to build water confidence and impart water safety knowledge to the child. In addition, it introduces forward and backward movement along with safe entry and exit techniques.


Stage 2: Fundamental water skills

The knowledge and skills learnt at this stage are built upon those that were acquired in Stage 1. New skills that are taught at this stage include unassisted step entry, sculling, feet first surface dives and personal water safety skills. The child will also be required to be able to swim 25 metres continuously.


Stage 3: Personal and Stroke Development Skills

At this stage, the child will learn personal survival skills and some basic rescue skills. Skills taught in Stage 2 of the programme such as sculling and underwater skills will be further developed here. The child will also learn how to use a personal flotation device. At this stage of the programme, the child should be able to swim 50 metres continuously.


Stage 4 (a.k.a Bronze): Personal Survival and Stroke Improvement Skills

This is where the child’s swimming strokes and breathing techniques will be developed. Throughout this stage, children will build up their stamina and work towards swimming 100 metres continuously. Also, personal survival skills and basic rescue skills will be further developed. At the same time, knowledge on water craft safety will be introduced.


Stage 5 ( a.k.a Silver): Intermediate Personal Survival and Stroke Refinement Skills

This is the point where fundamentals of diving will be introduced.  Advancements in the level of rescue skills and personal survival knowledge is to be expected and children should be able to demonstrate efficient stroke techniques by the end of this stage.


Stage 6 (a.k.a Gold): Advance Personal Survival and Swimming Skill Proficiency

SwimSafer Gold is the final stage of the programme and children will have to perform strokes with relative finesse over 400 metres. Standing dive and personal safety skills will continue to be imparted at this stage in addition to rescue skills and water safety knowledge

Singapore Children Group Class

Swimming Lessons: Private vs. Group

What kind of swimming lessons would better suit your learning needs? We understand that there may be several considerations such as cost and coach-student ratio. This article seeks to furnish you with more information to help you with your decision making process.

Private Swimming Lessons

Private swimming lessons would provide you with the flexibility of choosing the location, timing and class size. However, the flexibility does come with a price, which makes the private swimming class more expensive than a group swimming class.

It is important to highlight that the use of location for swimming lessons is highly dependent on the facility management. For example, some condominiums may charge the instructor a monthly fee or require the instructor to pay a deposit in order to coach at the pool. You will have to be prepared to bear such fees for the convenience of using your condominium pool. In addition, pools that belong to clubs tend to partner with swimming schools, which mean that you can only register with the partnered swimming school for lessons.

The timings for the lessons are subject to the availability of swimming instructors. You may have difficulty getting instructors at popular timeslots. We would also advise you to choose your preferred timeslot and stick to it, as it would be unfair for the instructor to constantly rearrange his schedule.

Class size is determined upon registration when you sign up together with your friends. Unlike group classes, instructors cannot take in other students other than those already in your class. As such, private classes are usually small in size with excellent coach-student ratio.

Group Swimming Lessons

Group swimming lessons are managed by the instructor or the swim school that you sign up with. They will set the timing of the lessons, as well as the location. These lessons are open to the public for registration and are only limited to the maximum class size set by the facility management, the instructor or the swim school. All you have to do is to find a group class at your preferred pool and sign up.  To give you an idea of the maximum class size of swimming classes, Sport Singapore stipulates that swimming instructors conducting lessons in their pools can only have a maximum of 10 students at any given time.

Another benefit of a group class is that students get to make new friends in class and learn a new skill together while having fun. Group swimming lessons are also less taxing on the wallet.

Now that you have a better idea of what private and group classes have to offer, we hope that you will be able to make better-informed decisions when registering for swimming lessons. May you have an awesome experience learning swimming!

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. 🙂

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.


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

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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