A fresh approach for Learning to Swim as an Adult


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Posted by: Trevor Riches. 1st March 2015.

Starting out

 As a teenager I became qualified in life-saving and took a part time job as a lifeguard; I was given the job of guarding the kid’s pool, full of children pushing each other into the pool and seeing who could stay underwater the longest!

For a lifeguard it was a nightmare; but the memory that has stayed with me, is just how much fun everyone was having.

Before long I was moved to the larger pool. The adult swimming lessons with mixed groups of men and women would take place in the shallow end. The instructor would stand at the poolside shouting orders to the rather cold and bewildered looking people in the water.

There was rarely any attempt to talk to them individually; to assess what each person’s strengths and weaknesses were; or to ask what they hoped to achieve. The program was 1 lesson per week for 12 weeks and if you didn’t learn to swim in that time you would just have to start again.

It felt like such a contrast to those children swimming and having fun; enough of a contrast for the memory to stay with me into adulthood.

We make the move

So time passed and eventually I moved to Ireland to start a new life; one with less stress and more time for doing the things I love; and not having to watch the clock.

Now, living the ‘good life’ is all very well, but you can’t pay your electricity bill with some home-grown spuds and a few chicken eggs, and I needed to earn an income; but not by going back into the ‘rat race’.

The combination of a big house with spare rooms and a love of meeting new people made opening to guests a natural choice.

The penny drops

 Arthritis in my knees meant I had stopped running and started to swim again. Swimming in the closest pool to us, 20miles away and always crowded, I remember thinking how nice it would be to have your own pool.

We found a website that sold compact pools for use at home with an ingenious ‘flow’ system. Recalling those adult swimming lessons I said, “hey, that would be perfect for teaching adults to swim in private!” and so we came up with the concept of Residential Swimming Lessons.

People could learn to swim, one-to-one, in a small pool, no deep end, nobody watching them, the teacher in the pool; surely it would work?

So we set about the long process of testing, buying and fitting the pool into a purpose built pool-house and we found a fantastic lady instructor who genuinely cares about teaching adults to swim, and who are scared of the water.

We had a few enquiries at first, but then as the word spread, more and more people found their way to our door. Many arrived fearful of the water; mostly since childhood and a high proportion had tried the more ‘traditional’ approach of weekly swimming classes.

As seen on RTE!

Eventually, enough people were talking about our type of adult swimming lessons that we gained national recognition and we were featured on RTE Nationwide in 2013.

The huge interest that followed was incredible. It made us realise just how many people in Ireland can’t swim and how many people would dearly love to; but are really scared of the water.

More choice

So now, not only do we teach adults how to swim, we also have a course for people who are scared of the water and a course for adults who want to get better at swimming.

Since we appeared on TV, many more places now provide one to one swimming lessons, and that can only be a good thing. But our 5 day courses are still the only ones that allow you the time to relax, take your time, and focus properly in a totally private pool. Instead of trying to fit learning to swim in amongst all the other things that you do.

You’ll have a calming atmosphere in which to learn; you will have a team of people who really care about what you are going through; and you’ll have what I call the ‘brain space’ to absorb what your body is learning.

Our way is more like a Learn to Swim Holiday, than a set of intensive swimming lessons. For us, seeing people change is wonderful and they seem to gain an overall confidence in life, not just confidence in the water.

Although people want to swim for many reasons, thinking back to my teenage years I’m so pleased we can offer adults a way of learning to swim that means that now they too, can have some fun!

If you would like to learn how to swim in a warm and private pool that has no deep end, read this, or see what other people say- who already have!

Guesthouse Waterford

“Learnt to swim and had a great break- highly recommended”

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