Turning tug boats into racing yachts

By Hilton Brown

While watching a school swimming competition the other day, I couldn’t help but be horrified by the yawning gap between the kids with good swimming technique and those without. It’s like comparing a tug boat with an America’s Cup racer – one pushes its way through the water with sheer force, the other glides through the water with minimal effort.

Good swimming technique is about streamlining and efficiency. It is platform for a lifetime of water enjoyment. Triathlons, harbour swims, swimming for fitness, surfing and water polo all require a solid foundation of properly-taught swimming skills.

Some parents challenge me on this. They say “My child can already swim 200 metres, so he/she doesn’t need lessons”. But when I watch that child, the 200 metres is achieved with a lot of uncomfortable hard work. Not only is it difficult to watch, there’s a safety issue because the child is clearly not at home in the water.

My advice to any parent is “start young”. Under five is the best time to start learning, so that by age eight all the components are in place – streamlining, breathing technique, head position and body position. And I also advise year-round lessons. If you want your child to be a great pianist, you wouldn’t stop lessons for half the year. The same applies to swimming – at least until all the basics have been well and truly mastered.

If you’re worried about your child’s swimming technique, book in for a free assessment at your nearest Hilton Brown Swimming centre.

Happy swimming.