And so, today as part of my normal day to day activities, I was on the phone with Rebecca Adlington. Yeah Right!!
I did – I actually spoke to Rebecca Adlington. Yes the Double Olympic Gold winner. Yes, the current world record holder for the 800m Freestyle.
It was a 10 minute interview where I got an opportunity to ask her questions about swimming and her tips and advice on children learning swimming.
I was a bit nervous somehow but was quickly put at ease because her tone was so friendly over the phone and the minutes seemed to go too quickly.
My first question was since my children are afraid of water falling on their faces, how could they learn how to swim?
She replied that it would be good to make use of swim toys to get them into the water and then they would gradually lose their fear. She also suggested using a jacket float so that when my children see that they cannot sink, they will have the confidence to swim.
I then asked her what the best age was for children to learn how to swim and she replied that though babies go into water, the best age is probably around 3 years.
With costs rising, it is often difficult for families to afford swimming lessons for their children. In my case with 3 children, it is not often possible to budget for swimming lessons especially when there is only one earning member and swimming lessons being quite costly. I asked her if there are any free swimming lessons in and around London that encourage children to learn as I had seen some advertised with the local council when I lived in the north of England.
She told me that she was not aware of any but I could contact my local council. She also mentioned that some brands run free kids swims, so I will be looking into that.
My last question was directed to her and I asked her how she felt being retired?
She laughed and said that though she has ’retired’ from sport, she is still very actively involved with swimming.
Rebecca is passionate about swimming and is the ambassador for Speedo’s Learn to Swim campaign where research revealed that being able to swim is more important to kids than riding a bike and a big source of confidence
* 81% of kids wish they could go swimming more often
* Kids who can’t swim say they feel left out (24%), embarrassed (22%) and sad (21%)
* Kids would rather get a new badge for swimming (36%) than be able to ride a bike without stabilisers (26%)
82 per cent of parents think learning to swim should be compulsory for all children in Britain and this is what Rebecca also agrees with.
Speedo’s Sea Squad Learn to Swim website has many interesting games and quizzes that help children to gain more confidence. There are 3 stages to the Learn to Swim – Start splashing, start swimming and get confident which have tips on how to approach swimming with your child. It’s a fantastic website and I am sure that it will help children learning how to swim.
I think that all children should learn to swim and classes should be made more accessible to children. My children’s school has free lessons for classes in turn but one term is not really enough to be able to learn effectively. I do hope that swimming lessons are soon a compulsory part of the curriculum.
It was fantastic to speak to Rebecca and my daughter is most in awe. She would love to be able to swim with Rebecca, she says.