Fancy the experience of a life time? Apply now for Paid Work Experience in Oz!

The Swimming Teachers Association (STA) has secured a once in a lifetime opportunity for up to three fully qualified STA swim teachers to go to Brisbane, Australia, where they will receive paid work experience and training over a 4-6 week period at the fantastic Dunlop Park Pool (accommodation is also included). Dates are available in October–December 2013 and January-March 2014.

For further information or to apply before the 31st July deadline, please send your CV and cover letter to

Half of Those who Drown Do Know How to Swim

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Drowning is now the third most common cause of accidental death of children in this country and it reaches its highest rate during school and bank holidays. The National Water Safety Forum reveals that 407 people died from accidental drowning in 2011.

Most drownings are avoidable. Of course ensuring all children and adults can swim would make them less likely to drown but what is worrying is that more than half of people who drown know how to swim. Knowing how to swim is the start, but understanding safety and what to do in particular situations is just as important.

Teaching people to swim

It is vitally important that people are taught to swim when they are young. Recent statistics show that 51% of children aged seven to eleven cannot swim 25 metres unaided, according to a report by the ASA and Kelloggs; ‘Learning the lesson: The future of school swimming’.

Learning to swim is an essential life skill, which should be learnt as early as possible in life. Adults who didn’t learn as children are unlikely to learn later on in life. Nearly half of people who died by drowning did not intend to be in the water in the first place. This can cause huge problems for people who can’t swim if they are faced with water unintentionally. Walking and running were amongst the most common activities that consequently resulted in drowning.

Teaching swimmers how to be safe in water

While it’s important for people to learn to swim it is also important to teach them to be safe in water. Even accomplished swimmers can get into trouble in strong currents and wild seas. The most common place to drown in 2010 was in a river (25%), followed by the sea (17%) and a surprisingly high number who were actually on the shore or a beach (15%).

It is also important when coaching children that you have contact with parents or schools about the progress of each child. A lot of parents don’t know the true level and ability of their child and are perhaps too confident in their swimming skills.  

The Drowning Prevention week is running from 22nd to 30th June, their website  has a lot of useful water safety tips.

As aquatic professionals we need to make sure that all swimmers know how to be safe in or near water.

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How your swimsuit can affect your performance!

Swimming Lady

The performance of swimmers is measured to the nearest 0.01s, with swimmers at the top end of competitions separated by a mere 0.10s. These small margins mean that even the smallest factor can make the biggest difference. At London 2012 in the Men’s 200m Butterfly Final there was only a mere 0.25s difference between gold medal winner Chad le Clos and bronze medallist Takeshi Matsuda, with Michael Phelps finishing in silver only 0.05s behind le Clos.

Drag is a major factor in the energetics of swimming and small decreases in a swimmer’s drag can affect their performance. Therefore it is no surprise that swimmers are often looking for new ways to improve their performance, and the type of swimsuit a swimmer chooses to wear can certainly make a dramatic difference to performance.

When you go swimming, one thing that slows you down is the drag of your body, or what you’re wearing. This means that when you are in the water, the kind of swimwear you have can slow you down by creating more drag, or speed you up by reducing drag.

With a newer generation of swimsuits that cover larger parts of the body and are made from different materials than traditional swimsuits, it would appear that there is certainly potential for drag reduction.

Research conducted by J. Molledorf, et al (2004) shows that these newer swimsuits can reduce skin friction of the material itself by 16% and by 10% when worn by a swimmer. A Lycra designed suit covering male swimmers’ torsos reduced the energy demand of swimming compared with a standard racing suit, due to the drag reducing characteristics of the suit.

The opinion of new suits improving performance however is somewhat divided, many see this as a controversial topic. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and several universities carried out research that led to development of faster swimsuits. The scientists studied some of the fastest swimming marine animals and tried to mimic their abilities with technology. The resultant product was made out of polyurethane, which reduces drag significantly and allows the swimmer to be faster. Traditional swimsuits are typically made from Lycra, which absorbs air and water, consequently slowing you down in the water. At the FINA world championships in Rome, swimmers wearing the new suits set 29 world records in only five days. Consequently in 2010, FINA, the governing body for swimming, banned use of the suits.

The use of technology to make swimsuits better continues to be a controversial topic.

To read J. Molledorf’s research in full click here.

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Top Tips for Open Water Swimming

open water swimming

Open water swimming is currently one of the fastest growing sports in the country. With lakes and lochs of all shapes and sizes in Great Britain, open water swimming certainly has its appeal. With no lane ropes and pool walls – it knows no boundaries.

If you’re thinking of challenging yourself away from the pool then open water swimming is a great way to take it to the next level.

We’ve put together a few tips to take into consideration when taking part in this exciting sport! 

1. Draft, Draft, Draft 

Drafting, is the technique of following another swimmer so closely that water resistance is reduced and can be a key part to open water swimming. Sometimes it can help you, and at other times hurt you. There are key facts about drafting to keep in mind, the first one being the faster the lead swimming, the better your draft will be with all other things equal. Secondly, the physically larger the lead swimmer, the more beneficial the draft is those behind and finally the closer you are to the lead swimmer, the better your draft.  

2. Time when you sight  

The dilemma all open water swimmers face: The more you look, the more tired you will get, but the less you look, the less straight you may swim! So why not practice regular sigh-breathing in the pool, lifting your head forward in rhythm with your breathing. Open Water swimming coach Michael Collins suggests trying to look up every eight strokes and gradually working up to more strokes between sight checks.

3. Make sure you’ve got the correct goggles!

Don’t wait until a race to try a new pair of goggles, find a pair that you are really comfortable with and allow you to see properly.

4. Breathe on both sides (if you can!)

Open water swimming can be highly competitive to it’s best to breathe to the opposite side when someone is near you, otherwise you could end up getting hit in the face or even lose your goggles.

5. Really practice your sighting

When making the transition from the pool to open water try practising swimming with your eyes closed when in the pool for around 8 – 10 strokes. This will really help you learn to swim straight without having to use the bottom of the pool as a guide. Ideally you may want to limit how high you lift your head as this will cause your hips to drops, so try just below the goggle line.

For more tips on getting into open water swimming why not look at GoSwimming’s useful guide.

If you are interested in taking part or just fancying seeing this great sport in action then the WMR Open water event in due to take place in the West Midlands on Saturday 22nd June. Or why not have a look on the ASA’s calendar to see what events are happening near you!


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