What’s Wrong with Swimming Lessons in Australia?

After the post I wrote about Dani’s school swimming carnival way back last February (read it here) we then had all the covid crap. Finally the swimming pools re-opened and – with this year’s school swim carnival fast approaching – we managed to get him booked into a swimming class. But all is not what it seems…

First a little swimming brand background

From as far back as I can remember whenever you saw an Olympic swimming champion or any world record swim the chances are that the swimmer was wearing Speedo swimwear. Back in the day there were only two companies really. Speedo and Arena. These days of course all the big sportswear companies are into swimwear also, like Adidas and Nike etc… Speedo are the sports brand associated with the famous (or infamous) “budgie smuggler” style of swimming trunks. Generally, Speedo = Swimming!

How bad can it be?

In Australia, of all places, you would expect the swimming lessons for kids to be 100% spot on right? If I told you that the swimming classes Dani had been having were held at a Speedo owned pool and swimming school you would expect everything to be perfect right? Wrong. Double WRONG!

In fact you could not be more wrong. In five weeks of “lessons” (and I use that word very loosely) I would say that they almost undid two years of swimming lessons he had in Madrid. At the risk of sounding libellous I would say it was some kind of fraud. Certainly getting people to part with money for what they have the nerve to call “swimming lessons”.

Five weeks of nothing…

I let the first two weeks go as it was explained to me that they were assessing Dani’s ability. Fine. Then it became apparent that they were not really teaching him anything. Not even allowing him to try to swim further than a few metres. Honestly. I am not making this shit up. I can hardly believe it myself as I type. In fact, after the fifth “teacher” in five weeks I actually felt nauseous and could not bear to watch. What a bloody rip-off! I was fuming.

Over That Biggest Hurdle 

At least he still has that eagerness to jump in and have a go. That fear of water and dread of pushing off into the open pool to try and swim is not there. He overcame that first (and definitely biggest) hurdle some time ago. So he is ready to actually swim properly. 

As far back as last February in his school swimming carnival he had no problem jumping in an Olympic sized 50 metre long pool. His technique was rubbish but he did not have that fear that still stops many adults from swimming. Now we have just paid for these idiots to only allow him to “swim” a few metres and not give him hardly (and I mean almost zero!) any instruction or tips.

Vote with your feet…

As always it was time to vote with our feet. I arranged lessons in another location (actually closer to his school). Initially they seemed a lot better but more recently he has had a different “teacher” every week. And they are not letting them swim far enough. he needs to be doing full lengths of the pool now in order to improve. Little or no continuity and definitely not pushing him hard enough. 

I fear the only way may be private tailor-made lessons and not some swim school’s dragged-out method. But then you still need a pool eh? Private lessons (in the same place he goes now) may be a little better but only if they allow him more space.

DIY?

You may be wondering why I don’t teach him myself. Good point, because I could certainly do it. No problem in knowing and passing on the techniques required. The answer is simple. He will not listen to me. Nor his mum. Otherwise, trust me, that is what I would do. He responds much better to a third party “teacher”. 

So Here’s a Question: How the hell does Australia produce so many great swimmers with so called “lessons” like these? (Of course I know part of the answer…)

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