Teaching a vital life skill

Posted on: 16th January, 2014

Category: News

Contributor: West Cork People

The Water School at Pearson’s Bridge in Ballylickey opened five years ago to answer the need for a dedicated swimming school in this area. Since then the school has taught over 4000 people to swim, both adults and children.

Swimming is a vital life skill, especially in West Cork — an area full of lakes and rivers and skirted by the sea. It is a skill that promotes both physical health and mental wellbeing. Almost anyone can learn to swim — the youngest clients at The Water School are six months-old and the oldest (so far) is 88 years-young! Even disability need not be a bar to learning to swim. The school has had many clients with physical and mental disabilities for whom learning to swim has been a personal triumph. One of its past clients even has a Special Olympics Gold Medal for swimming.

The Water School runs swimming classes for adults and for children of all abilities, from absolute beginners to experienced swimmers. The classes are small and friendly and the teachers are very highly qualified and experienced. The pool itself is extra warm (about 30°C) and the water is as free of chemicals as possible (it has a very modern pool sterilisation system, which does not use chlorine). The air around the pool and in the changing rooms is also extra warm (about 28°C) so that all clients can feel warm and relaxed the whole time they are there.

In addition to swimming classes, The Water School  also runs the following;

Aquafit: Fun and fast aerobic exercises done to great music in the water, great for weight loss and toning. Exercising in water uses more calories than the same workout done on land, but also is far easier on your joints.

Aquastretch: Gentler exercises, lots of stretching, relaxing music, great for rheumatism, arthritis, pregnancy, obesity, recuperation from illness or injury.

Lane Swimming: for advanced swimmers, classes for adults and children.

Parent and Toddler Class: a chance for parents to teach their children to love the water and learn basic swimming skills, from six months up.

One-to-one tuition: Have the whole pool to yourself! Just you and the instructor.

As swimming is on the National Curriculum, The Water School also caters for schools, and endeavours to provide the same high quality swimming classes as it does for private customers. Courses are also run for colleges and other organisations (such as the GAA and CoAction) on request. Occasionally, the school caters for more unusual groups like scuba divers or canoeists.

Far too many people drown every year in Ireland, swimmers and non-swimmers alike. A good knowledge of Water safety and Life Saving is vital to reduce this number of tragedies, therefore The Water School periodically runs Water Safety Courses for both adults and older children.

Finally, teacher training courses and poolguard courses are taught as often as possible. This helps The Water School make sure all its teachers are highly qualified and also allows others in this area to get useful qualifications

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