Blog - Swim Jim



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Have a great week,

SwimJim, Inc.


Winter Swimming


TRUE OR FALSE: Involving a child in swimming during the winter will cause the child to have an excessive amount of colds and other illnesses.  They catch cold from going outside with a “wet head”.


The answer:  a most resounding FALSE!


The TRUTH: The benefits of winter swimming for children far outweigh the risk.

As we prepare for our winter sessions each year, I notice that some of our parents take their children out of class “as a precautionary measure”.  They are convinced that their child will catch cold or the flu from being in the pool and getting wet during the winter.

Moms and Dads, ask your pediatricians.  Getting colds and flu from exposure to cold air during the winter is just an old wives’ tale.  There is no scientific evidence that this is a factor.  Colds and flu are transmitted by casual contact with an infected person.  There is more likelihood they will catch a cold or flu from a sibling than from swimming.  One rule of thumb to follow: if your child is sick, keep him/her home to minimize exposure to others.  This common sense rule applies ANY time of the year.


What are the benefits of winter swimming?  Plenty!  Children who swim through the winter maintain continuity and increase their skill levels as they practice each week.  Physical fitness is increased, and children who swim year round actually tend to be healthier than their non-swimming counterparts.  How, you ask?  Consider the excellent health benefits that can be obtained by year round swimming at any age.

  • The deep breathing that occurs in swimming helps keep the lungs clear of accumulated mucous, reducing the chance of respiratory problems. In fact, swimming is a preferred exercise for asthmatics because of the warm, moist environment we maintain.  The type of deep breathing that occurs in swimming helps to pump the cerebrospinal fluid through the body, assisting the body in maintaining a high intake of oxygen to the brain and the blood.
  • The body’s internal cleaning system is governed by the lymph system. Lymph is a milky liquid that transports toxins from the cells to the blood, which, in turn, releases them out of the body through the lungs, kidneys, intestines and skin. There is twice as much lymph in the body as there is blood, and it is transported through the body by the action of muscles instead of the heart.  Thus, movement of the muscles is imperative to a healthy body.  And how do we move our muscles?  EXERCISE!
  • It is amazing to watch young children enjoy themselves in the water.  Even our youngest babies have a look of sheer pleasure on their face.  Research has shown that when we enjoy ourselves, the brain produces very powerful biochemicals called endorphins, which are the strongest painkillers known to mankind.  Not only do endorphins ease pain, they boost the immune system, which is a vital part of staying healthy during the cold, winter months.

Stress affects the immune system of everyone.  Love, laughter and thirty minutes of swimming in a warm water environment are a great relief valve for anyone!

So, parents, here’s the prescription for a happy, healthy child this winter:

Keep them home when they are sick.

Dress them warm by layering when it’s cold outside—hats on, because 70% of the body’s heat is lost through the top of the head.  Several layers will insulate better than one big, thick layer.  If they are shivering in the pool, relax.  The water at all our pools is a warm 86-89 degrees.  Young children shiver because of their low volume of insulation—better known as body fat.  Try a swim cap or a wet suit – it will help keep them warm and minimize the “shivers”.

Feed them a nutritionally sound diet—really push those fruits and vegetables!

Keep them physically active by enrolling them in swim class at SwimJim—where you will find excellence in aquatic education!



SwimBabies/SwimFants Classes!

SwimJim’s Swimbaby/Swimfant class is an introductory class for students to explore the water with their parents through song and sensory games/activities! Our method is based off of a routine program that helps you’re child adapt to water in a safe and comforting way. Some things to expect in your first class are as follows.

You will be nervous. Our staff spends extra time training to teach baby swimming lesson classes because we have not only the children to teach but their parents as well!  Don’t expect that you will get every move or activity right. It takes a few classes to feel comfortable with your instructor and how to maneuver your child in the water that is comfortable for them! With time you will learn the routine and class will become much easier!

The first day your child won’t be submerged. Day one is a time for your child to take in the scenery and should be a relaxing fun time! Don’t let floating get you down! When your child is floating on their back there are many new sensations they are dealing with, being on their back, not having a clear view of anyone other than the sky, and water in their ears. Floating does take time to get used to but with patience floating will come easier!

Expect the unexpected. Even if your child loves the water class might not go as smoothly as you think. Some babies are used to the pool equaling play time, so they get frustrated when suddenly they have to follow a lesson plan. Even if your child is crying we ask that you stick with the routine! Skipping activities because a child is crying just affirms in their minds that swimming is negative (the instructor will use their best judgment to decide when your child can be submerged if upset.)

Finally, have fun! Each instructor tries to make the class just as fun for you as they do your child! We are so thankful you chose SwimJim for your water training needs! Happy Happy Swim day!


Core Training

Core training is something that is neglected in many sports including basketball, baseball, and especially swimming. There are people who believe that the “core” only means having strong abdominal muscles, or a six-pack.  In all actuality, having strong abdominal muscles and not training the rest of your body is indeed detrimental to your body’s health.  The core encompasses the many muscles working in unison encompassing the abdominals, low back, hips and buttocks as well as deep stabilizing muscles around your spine all working cooperatively.

Swimming fitness is an extremely good form of aerobic exercise but if done improperly, the core is not utilized and most of the strength is focused primarily on the shoulders and legs.   Aerobic fitness increases the efficiency of the metabolic rate of muscle tissue.  It practices improving the capacity and efficiency of one’s metabolism prolonging when the body switches over to an anaerobic state.  When the body “kicks in” to an anaerobic state the body produces lactic acid and the burning sensation begins.  It is extremely less efficient and much more tiring.  As this improves without the proper knowledge core training is hindered.

There are several aquatic exercises that allow for a balanced core, but knowing how to achieve balance only comes with a précis understanding of anatomy and swimming technique.  In performing these exercises, not only can you have great posture and strong abs, but you can also have true strength spread throughout your body.

Most swimmers rely too much on their shoulders or “pull”, which can lead to problems with capsular laxity and rotator cuff tendinitis, more commonly known as “swimmer’s shoulder.” Other factors such as poor posture, lack of flexibility, poor stroke mechanics, breathing only to one side, and especially lack of upper back strength contribute to shoulder problems.

At SwimJim, we bring a great attention to detail on how to protect the shoulders and focus on core strength.  Our entire program is built around the idea of swimming from the core and balancing muscular strength.  In turn improving the body’s fitness through aerobic capacity, core strength, and balance; three things that will keep a swimmer happy, healthy, fast and with longevity.


Why we teach back floating…

We are first and foremost a water safety education center.  It is our primary goal to make sure that every child is safer in the water, no matter what skill level the child.  Every aspect of our curriculum is geared toward that reward.

You may have noticed that we spend a lot of time floating with the children, and adults.  We teach coming off the wall on our backs, rolling over to our backs to breathe, diving and resurfacing to a back float, getting rings off the floor to a back float and starting all skills on our back, i.e., backstroke before freestyle and elementary backstroke before breaststroke.  Floating is the foundation of our program.  It gives children and adults somewhere “SAFER” to go while exploring the water, simultaneously establishing balance by learning to access core muscles (the muscles that attach to our spine and ribs, helping us balance and stand upright) in an aquatic environment.

New swimmers often have a difficult time adjusting to floating.  We are land based animals and are used to balancing in an upright position.  This makes it difficult for some children, and adults, to get used to trying to balance on their backs.  On land, we look to the horizon to find our bearings; this does not work in the water.  It makes floating more difficult.  Sitting up, looking for the horizon makes you sink in the water, hence the feeling of “falling” children often express about floating.  It has been said that repetition is the mother of all learning.  So we spend the majority of time early in our swimming careers learning to float, ensuring a safer child in the water.

A child that feels safer in the water will pick up new, more complicated skills easier than a child who is insecure about the water, and that child will be less likely to drown.  Any time a child, or adult, feels insecure in the water; they should roll to their backs and float or grab the wall if they are near it.  This will give you time to collect yourself, emotionally, mentally and physically, then get to a safer place like the wall, beach or somewhere you can stand.  We still suggest that parents and caregivers take CPR and first aid classes as an added precaution, as well as follow the “SAFER 3” (Safer Kids, Safer Water, Safer Response) from the “Swim for Life” Foundation, of which Jim Spiers is a board member.

Swimming is a life skill that we believe everyone should master.  It promotes a healthy, more confident, safer and enthusiastic water environment.  It keeps our children active and promotes a healthier lifestyle.  And most importantly, helps reduce the risk of drowning related accidents.


Rip Currents!

I read an interesting article today, which made me eager to increase the awareness in the subject of rip currents.  Rip currents are strong channels of water flowing away from the shoreline, typically through the surf line, and can occur on any shore that has breaking waves. They are the leading cause of beach drowning.  Rip currents are not the same as undertows! Rip currents are formed when water flow is disrupted.  This can occur from human-engineered structures such as piers. It disrupts the water flow by deflecting water seaward at a very fast rate. Speeds of rip currents vary greatly, usually ranging from 1-3 feet per second, but have gotten as fast as 8 feet per second.


In the article, by Aquatics International, entitled “Getting Current,” an Olympic gold medal swimmer was placed in the center of a very strong rip current.  He was unable to swim against the current despite being a record holding swimmer.  Therefore, it’s very important to teach people, especially those around currents such as these, that when caught in a rip current, you must swim parallel to the beach until the current weakens before attempting to swim back to the shore.  Fighting the current requires much more work, and in fact can result in death or long-lasting injury. Please be safe and remember…always trust your gut instincts about getting into the water.


Money Saving Ideas at SwimJim

In these troubled financial times we are all looking for ways to save money, so we are offering our students these money saving ideas:

  1. As you probably know, we have put in a new system so that instead of charging you in advance for a three month session, we are taking automatic monthly deductions – you can hold onto your money a little longer!
  2. If you don’t mind paying up front, we will give you 3% off on paying 3 months in advance, 5% off on paying 6 months in advance and 10% off on paying  9 months in advance.  Try getting those rates at your local bank!
  3. Want to take lessons for free?  For every new student you refer, we will give you $35 in manatee money which you can use as a credit towards your next session.
  4. Did you know that we offer a 30% discount when your child takes a second lesson/week?  We believe that children learn faster and gain greater skills and confidence if they swim twice a week.  Try it!
  5. Gift certificates!  SwimJim offers gift certificates for one or more lessons.  Purchase four lessons or more at one time (can be more than one certificate) and receive a free class! Easy gift idea when Grandma asks what your child wants for the holidays – and a fun and different gift for friends.  The gift certificates can be purchased with a phone call to our office.

Exciting New Check-In Policy!

Each teacher will be assigned a color chip. As you walk in, check in with the deck supervisor and have your child get the appropriate chip for their teacher. When it is time for the lesson to start, have your child take the chip to the teacher and deposit it in the color coordinated cup.