At Big Blue we use SwimFin as an integral part of our preschool, non-swimmer and beginner 1 teaching.
We feel that they are a fantastic aid for allowing young children (2.5 years and up) to gain independence in the pool. They are designed to provide just the right amount of support and assistance to the child as they progress from a complete non-swimmer paddling around the pool in a vertical position to the competent beginner 1 swimming horizontally across the pool. As the child's body position changes from vertical to horizontal the swim fin moves further and further out of the water and provides increasingly less support and assistance.
SwimFin can also be used to swim on your back and you will see us using it in this way in most of our preschool classes. This is because many young children feel nervous on their back and are unable to hold a swim aid such as a float or woggle, therefore SwimFin allows them independence on their back that they would otherwise not have at this stage. Most of our beginners 1 classes use swim floats or woggle's when swimming on their back as most children can confidently hold a swim aid by this stage.
You will see that our use of SwimFin differs as a child increases in confidence and ability in the water.
We use SwimFin in all our preschool classes as it gives our very young swimmers freedom to move around the pool independently. Preschool is designed to build confidence in the water and introduce children to the basic core aquatic skills. Using SwimFin facilitates our philosophy that young children learn best through play and allows us to teach these skills in a fun and engaging way. SwimFin allows children full use of their arms unlike other swim aids, therefore encouraging participation in a variety of games, songs and activities. SwimFin also allows us to teach our lessons with all children in the water, limiting the duration that they spend on the side of the pool and allowing them to get the most out of each class.
Non-swimmer is similarly created to pre-school, but with older children in mind. The class content is designed to introduce children to the fundamental aquatic skills, but in a way, that is suitable to the age group. We still use SwimFin in this class when the child is comfortable doing so, but their use is more flexible. We use SwimFin at this level to encourage independence in the nervous non-swimmer and facilitate the transition from a naturally vertical body position to a more horizontal position.
Many children new to beginners 1 will still use a SwimFin during their lesson. The focus of beginners 1 is to introduce basic stroke technique and continue development of the core aquatic skills. SwimFin allows children to focus on learning this basic technique without tiring so quickly. It also alleviates the temptation to go from point A to B as quickly as possible forgetting all technique.
In beginners 1 we are aiming for children to achieve a horizontal body position when swimming on their front and back and SwimFin naturally encourages this. At this level, we aim to never use SwimFin for more than half a lesson allowing children plenty opportunity to swim unaided.