July 16, 2024
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Swim This Summer With WaterWaze Swim Academy

One of the benefits of living in Rockland County is how accessible pools are. Many of us have friends or neighbors who are willing to share. Maybe you’re not lucky enough to know the “right people,” but still get invited to pool parties or go to the bungalow colony for the weekend. Practically every camp offers swimming on a daily basis, and many have seasonal trips to waterparks. Swimming is a great activity that provides fun for the whole family. It offers numerous benefits, including sensory input, muscle tone and strengthening, and helps with focus. The problem is that drowning is the sixth leading cause of death worldwide for children aged 5-14 years. Statistically speaking, if you own both a gun and a swimming pool, the swimming pool is about 100 times more likely to kill a child than the gun. Every year in the United States, there are over 4,000 fatal unintentional drownings. Having been in the industry for over 15 years, Waterwaze Swim Academy has made it our goal to train parents, therapists and educators in what to look for when hiring a swim instructor. Over the next few weeks, this column will address the 10 most commonly asked questions about swimming lessons.

I don’t have a pool, and we never go swimming. Lessons are expensive. Why do my kids need swimming lessons?

Answering this question from the perspective of a swim school owner seems like a conflict of interest. After 20 years in the field and teaching over a thousand students, I have a unique perspective on how swimming lessons can contribute to a child’s quality of life. The right instructor teaches much more than just swimming. The student learns how to focus, follow directions and regulate themselves. They walk away feeling confident and accomplished, with the capacity to do things that previously seemed terrifying, impossible and completely beyond their ability. But instead of going on about the intangible benefits, let’s consider the more obvious repercussions of children not learning to swim.

Unless you plan to have your child at home all year round and keep them trapped in a bubble of safety, they will be exposed to pools and water activities: water parks, beaches, boating trips, riverside hikes, fishing, kayaking, and pool parties. Then of course, there’s the obvious one—summer camp. Many camps don’t offer quality instruction, and the shallow ends are often overcrowded. Not much fun in that. And at the risk of sounding like a helicopter parent, not all camp lifeguards are up to the standards you would want for your child’s supervision. I have interviewed lifeguards who, when tested, didn’t have basic swimming skills (let alone competency in saving lives). It’s important to note that I don’t think children need to have a perfect breaststroke or front crawl. However, they must be deep water safe. Strokes can be dealt with later.

Waterwaze Swim Academy specializes in adults who have a fear of water. One common denominator is that 98% of them have one or both parents who don’t swim. Keep this in mind if you’re not comfortable in deep water and your children can’t swim. Your fear often gets passed down unintentionally. I have personally observed families that demonstrate fear of the water that is handed down for generations. Statistics also tell us that when an adult parent doesn’t know how to swim, the children in that household only have a 19% chance of learning to swim themselves. Most of our adult students say that their parents tried to get them lessons, and they were unsuccessful because the instructor didn’t understand them. They tend to have an underlying feeling of regret that they didn’t learn earlier—before their fear became a part of their identity. If your child is having a hard time, it might be time to look for another swim school.

If your primary concern is the expense, it may behoove you to reevaluate the other programs your child is signed up for. There’s tremendous value in gymnastics, drawing class and martial arts. But of all the extracurricular activities marketed towards kids, swimming is the only one that could potentially save your child’s life.

Stay wet and stay safe!

Swimcerely yours,

Zahava


Zahava Shapiro is the owner of Waterwaze Swim Academy, which has locations in Monsey, Lakewood and Israel. At Waterwaze, we teach swimming to all ages, from 4 months to 99 years old using a gentle approach that prioritizes comfort over skill. Instructors are trained in Total Immersion, Infant Swim and Swim Angelfish methods. Waterwaze swim instructors specialize in people who have been traumatized or affected by a negative experience with water. We believe every person is capable of learning how to swim. You can reach Waterwaze at 551-775-2745 or www.waterwazeswimacademy.com

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