Swimming Lesson Stages & Swimming Clubs(19 Posts)
Can anyone with any experience of swimming lessons and swimming clubs offer their knowledge on when children can usually join a swimming club? I have seen quite different age ranges at different clubs and also what about ability, the ASA Stages that they may have completed?
My daughter was i a competitive swim squad until easter. They recruit purely on ability, not age, although they may have upper and sometimes lower age bands for their squads. To find out if your child is suitable you need to contact the membership secretary and enquire as to when the next trails will be held. They will usually ask about your childs current swimming abilities in order to place them in the best trial swim for them to be assessed.
In many cases they can start much earlier than you think, as they will have "Tadpoles" or similiar sounding beginner squads for children who are new but competant swimmers. They are not allowed to swim competitively against other clubs until they turn 8 or 9 (sorry forgot exact age but def. not younger than this) due to ASA rules.
swimming clubs in our area take complete beginners
Our swimming clubs takes you as soon as you can swim a length.....
The club the dss are members of have lessons and then squads. When you reach silver they ask you if you want to try for the lowest squad.
If you dont have lessons with them I guess you just call about a trial.
dds swimming club runs stage 1 and 2 tads and ducklings. stage 1 are non swimmers they reach stage 2 when they can swim only about 50 yards unaided then not sure about stage 2 but I assume a length. this is regardless of age both stage 1 and 2 run from around 3 to 10 years.
once stage 2 is achieved then they can join squads. the competitive squads tend to be age orientated, I believe the competitive swimming begins at 8 years.
most swimming clubs run trials so your child can try out for their own stage. my dds club run trials as and when you enquire.
I would advocate a club rather than lessons as they tend to be better staffed and far cheaper.
My DS started in swim squad at 6.5. He was offered a trial after a coach saw him in a normal weekend family swim. At that point he could do say 600m on each three main strokes, a not particularly good butterfly and tumble turns. Squad is great, but hard work. He is now 7.5 and swims two or three times a week for an hour each time plus half an hour of land training (playing team games usually). Their age limit is usually 8 minimum, but they have some 7 year olds. They can't compete in external galas until age 9, but get to do club championships and internal stuff. It is the stamina that improves drastically, they have to have all the technique already to be in the squad, but all clubs vary so it's best to ring your local one and see what their criteria is. Our club has trials once a month for about 10 swimmers each time, and usually 1 or 2 get in. It is £30 a month, but if they do all the swims that is 12 sessions. DS absolutely loves it.
My dd joined a squad at 5.5 - worse move I could have made - she had her 3000m badge, was able to do all four strokes (crawl/backstroke/breaststroke/butterfly) and beat 11/12 year olds.
But the problem was you are not allowed to compete in galas until you are 9.
So it was 3.5 yrs of lots of training, but no reward (competitions) she could beat the squad, but wasn't allowed to go to races.
She burned out, and quit aged 8. By the time she could compete she was no longer the best, so didn't want to go to training.
My advice regardless of how great your child is at swimming the earliest they should start competitive squad is age 8.5 as then 6mths to nail technique before they can start interclub competitions.
My DCs are in a swimming club. My DS (10) was good swimmer but he really needs to do swimming 3 times per week to do well in the club and he also does keyboard, drums and various other hobbies so finding the time to train properly is quite hard and he is losing interest rapidly. They do do coaching for the little ones. My DD (6) is being coached now and could swim about 25m on her back and front. They only do this for the siblings of those who made the club via a trial. There are some very good swimmers but are now starting some trials for beginners and the less competitive swimmers which will be better for my DS.
Swimming clubs vary enormously in how competitive they are, what age they take children from, whether or not they offer 'learn to swim' or just take children who are already competent.
In our borough there are three clubs, two are very competitive and one much less so. All swimming lessons are now supposed to conform to the ASA's National Plan for Teaching Swimming which is supposed to standardise lessons across the board, so if you're stage 6 for example at one swim school, then you could guarantee that you'd be stage 6 if you moved to another school. In practice however standards still vary enormously.
At my children's club, we take children from 5 upwards and have a waiting list for non-swimmers as we can only take a few children at that stage. Once they've passed Stage 7 with us they can then move onto the competitive squads. Occasionally children are ready to move into the squads at 7, it's more usual for them to be 8-10. They can't compete in external galas until they're 9 but can compete in club champs and internal galas.
It really doesn't matter how fast they are at 7 or 8 as the only thing which matters at that age is having fun and working on good technique - if their technique is good they will swim faster, and if they're having fun they'll want to keep going. The children who are fastest at 8 are highly unlikely to be the fastest at 16 - swimming should be a long-term sport as until all the kids competing have gone through puberty it's impossible to predict which are going to be the best.
Have a look at your local clubs' websites, call the membership secretary and ask to find out a bit more about their requirements
Thanks everyone, some interesting comments.
My eldest daughter was 5 last Tuesday and swims in ASA Stage 6, the lessons are held by the leisure centre rather than the swimming club. Her teacher is actually also the Head Coach of the Swimming Club, so obviously he is best placed to comment, he has told me she swims very well and he has moved her up the groups, but I really don't want to come across all wrong by asking too much about it as she has just turned 5! I have a feeling that the club doesn't take them until 7, however as some people have said here their DC have joined earlier and it has been good for some but not for others. I guess my question really revolves around what will she do when she completes Stage 7, and she is probably still going to be 5, she really loves swimming, obviously I can take her swimming, but it's not the same as lessons or a club.
With my time again - I would stick to the 30 minute weekly lessons then go on to diving/lifesaving lessons.
And keep swimming ticking over.
I am a holding off Mum our local club takes them at 6. But with 3 x 2 hour sessions a week I think it is too much for my 7 year old. So she has remained at the private swimming school and is in a class with 10 and 11 year olds working on stroke technique and building distance. If next year she is still enjoying it I will consider swimming club.
I have held DC back partly because of the burning out problem TimetoWaste mentions.
Those of you with experience... how much other exC activity does your DC manage to do as well as the competitive club training & events? Our club requires 3 hours in the pool/week plus a lot of Saturday galas (at least once a month, I imagine). DD already does about 5.5 hours of formal ExC activities/week in term time. 8.5 hours/week + galas sounds like just way too much.
I can't think of any club round here (not even the big uber-competitive ones) which would have a 7 year old swimming 3 2 hour sessions a week.
At our club, once they've completed stage 7 they go into the most junior squad which is 2 x 1 hour sessions a week, then they go to 3 x 1 hour, then 4 x 1.5 hour, then 5 x 2 hour and then (minimum) 6 x 2 hour plus land training but they have to be at least 14 for the top squad and by that stage they've decided that swimming is 'it' and obviously don't have much time for other extra-curricular stuff on top of school
evolucy7 your dd may well take a bit longer to go through stage 7 - my dd was in stage 6 when she was 5.5 and she's still in stage 7 at 8.5 (swimming 2 x 30 minutes a week). At our club by the end of stage 7 they will have learned to do all four strokes legally (i.e. wouldn't get disqualified at a gala), tumble turn, dive, be able to swim 200m freestyle continuously, be able to swim 50m butterfly, understand training 'etiquette' (i.e. which side of the lane to swim on etc) and generally be ready for squad training sessions. Our club has some very talented swimmers (national & international standard) but none of them would have been ready for squad training at 5 as it's a huge leap from lessons! If your dd's teacher is also at the club he should be well aware of the pitfalls of going into a club too early so would be good to ask his advice
Wow, thats good then if they swim club take beginners. they usually start at a swim school the progress to a swim club. And it is usually done on ability rather than age.
Our swimming club (wimbledon dolphins) take any age if the ability is there.
These are usually classed at Swim Schools who take beginners.
Clubs are usually for those children who have outgrown all the stages of a swim school and want to do more swimming
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