June 4, 2024
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Waterwaze Swim Academy Gets You Ready for Summer

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 both own a gun and have a swimming pool in the backyard, the swimming pool is about 100 times more likely to kill a child than the gun is. 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.

What qualities or certifications should I look for in a potential instructor?

There are two qualities I look for when hiring a potential new instructor. Good instructors understand hydrodynamics and how to guide a child step by step toward safety in the deep. It is equally important that they know how to deal with kids. In our instructor course, we have entire sections devoted to language, phrases not to use, and what to do with fearful and anxious swimmers. These two components are equally important. You can have an instructor with a great eye for correcting a swimmer’s technique, but if they lack the ability to communicate and connect with children, chances are the student won’t get very far in their swimming journey.

Find out how many years they’ve been in the business and get the contact information for previous or current clients. It’s important to ask the references to describe their child’s personality. An impulsive kid with sensory issues will have a vastly different experience than a mainstream kid who’s super athletic. Do not trust an instructor based on an advertisement alone. The instructor should be certified in CPR and first aid and preferably be a lifeguard as well. Being a Red Cross WSI (Water Safety Instructor) doesn’t add any legitimacy to an instructor’s teaching abilities. Aside from myself, none of WWSA’s instructors are WSI certified, but they spend an average of 50 hours training in the Waterwaze Swim Academy methodology, which prioritizes comfort over skill.

Other qualities to look for include (but are not limited to); patience, warmth, love of children, good communication skills and, perhaps my favorite, the ability to get down to a child’s level and be silly.  Some qualifications which have earned our respect right along with Waterwaze Swim Academy Level One certification, include Swimangelfish, Total Immersion, Miracle Swimming and the Dolfun Swim Academy.

Next week we’ll talk about treading and if it’s an effective way to ascertain a child’s safety in deep water.

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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