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Triangle of Success

By Dr Ralph Richards
The triangle of success
Your child should be acknowledged for who they are – not simply for what
they accomplish in sport. Naturally, the person they are will impact upon
every aspect of their life, including swimming.
Real progress in swimming comes not from size, strength, or training
alone; it also comes from their development as a person – their character,
values, behavior, etc.
We will all celebrate if your child eventually becomes a champion, but
every day, in many ways, we can all benefit from your child’s involvement
in this great sport – if they happen to also swim fast, that’s a bonus.
Good questions to ask
• What were you working on today?  • Did you have fun?
• Did you try hard?             • How did you go?      • What did your coach think?

Water Safety

In the 2013 National drowning report we have seen a sharp increase of drowning in the under 5 years age
group, after several years of decline. Nationally, 31 under 5’s lost their
lives in pools, dams and bathtubs. 61% drowned in swimming pools. In half of the
cases, the child entered the pool because it was either un-fenced, the gate was
faulty or the gate was left propped open. This statistic also means that the
other half were able to access the pool with a fully compliant fence and gate. In ALL cases, the drowning would
have been prevented with supervision. (Data sourced from Royal Life Saving )
I’m not suggesting that the only solution is “helicopter parenting” and wrapping them in “cotton wool”, but
to know where they are, and watch the children – especially when near water –
is essential. To put it in perspective: if there is a camp fire, or bonfire –
we would supervise the children near it. We supervise the children near or on a
road. All of these are dangerous, why would water be treated differently?
The Royal Life Saving
Campaign for drowning prevention is:
1.      Supervise – A child can drown in the time it takes to answer
the door or telephone. Parents and carers must communicate and establish
responsibility for direct supervision of children at all times around water.
2.      Familiarise – Helping a child to become familiar with water can
be fun for the whole family, and will assist everyone to develop skills in and
around the water.
3.      Fence – A fence is an effective barrier between your child
and the water ( however it is not foolproof ).
4.      Resuscitate – A child's life may be saved if parents or carers
have the proper knowledge and skills to rescue and resuscitate quickly and

Recoveries and Exits

A large emphasis of swimming and water safety in
the early stages (bubs, Levels 1 – 3) is not just the confidence to try, and
the body positioning and stroke, but the ability to recover and get to safety.
You will notice that almost all the time after an entry and “swim” the learners
are either taught to roll onto their backs, or taught to propel towards the
edge of a pool or to something that floats. And sometimes even a combination of
all these things.

Wet Faces

We see a lot of learners who do not like to get their face wet. There can be so many reasons for this, including: Gasping water while submerged (bubble blowing exercises at swimming and home will help this), Soap in the eyes while washing (you still need to wash! However, not allowing water on the face at all will make it harder to accept later. As far as Paul is concerned, the shower visor that stops water going on the face while washing is something you should not buy). Telling the little person that they will not go under water while swimming is like saying that a bird can fly without wings (be honest – yes we go underwater, but then we come back up- it’s ok! – after some practice, it is really fun!).

In short, start early with water on the face and keep it up. Sprinkles, splashes, submersions, jumping in, watering cans over the head/face, bubbles, etc, all help to get our face/head in the water, which is essential to develop correct swimming strokes.

Modeling behaviour

Do you remember when, or are your children currently learning to walk or talk? They spend hours each day on these life skills modelling their learning on their parents, even siblings or other people around them. Swimming is the same. If a child is constantly told that “dad can’t swim”, or “mum doesn’t like to go under the water”, Quite often the child can think that this is what they are supposed to do. Parents must be positive
about their own water experience in order to help their children’s attitude to swimming.