The pool is a safe place to learn survival swimming. This page contains lesson plans for survival swimming beginners. Adapt them to the needs of your class.
This training should be done fully clothed to build water confidence. Inexperienced people often drown because they never learned how to swim in clothes. This lesson addresses this problem in a fun and entertaining way.
Check that everybody in your class has at least one full set of clothing to swim in and one dry set for their way home.
For hygiene reasons always shower in your training clothes before each session.
Lifeguards will check for dry spots.
This lesson helps you get familiar with the feeling of clothes in the water. In an emergency you may not have a choice of swimwear.
This training prepares you for an emergency, even if you are a non-swimmer. Don't worry, this is quite a pleasant experience and requires no swimming skills, so it is also fun for non-swimmers.
Recommended dress for your first time:
Feel free to add more clothing as your confidence grows.
Try out different kinds of clothes to gain a more varied experience.
Water sports clothes are best for swim training as they are designed to get wet.
At the shallow end sit on the edge and dangle your legs in the water. Feel the resistance your clothes make as you move your feet.
Next lower yourself into to the water and wade until you're in about chest deep. Move around until you gain full confidence wearing clothes in the pool.
Now take a deep breath and duck under. Float underwater for a moment. Notice that clothes will slow you down, but not pull you down. You may even get a lift from trapped air pockets.
Once you've got used to wearing clothes in the water,
swim a few length to feel how much they slow you down.
Next move to the ladder put your feet about two steps down from the surface. Hold on to the ladder and pull yourself out. As you come up from the water you will feel the weight of the wet clothes.
Go up and down a few times. This is a great strength building exercise for legs and arms due to the weight of the wet clothes. Do this in every swimming session from now on to build your arm and leg muscles.
Finally relax back into the pool.
Move around, play with friends, have fun while you enjoy the feeling of clothes in the water.
Life Jacket Float
Jump into the pool, put on a PFD (life jacket) on top of your clothes, and assume the HELP position for 3 minutes.
Swim with Life Jacket
Wearing a PFD (life jacket) on top of your clothes, roll forward into deep water and swim four lengths, then huddle with others.
Inflate Clothes and Huddle
Back roll into the pool, swim 10-15m, remove pants, inflate them and float for 3 minutes.
Jump into the water and practice underwater one forward and/or backward somersault. Then try it continuously until you run out of air or feel the need to stop.
50m head-up freestyle or breaststroke. Assume ready position and scull directionally.
Practice the eggbeater kick in a stationary position for at least 30 seconds. Now do the eggbeater kick with the ability to travel and change direction. Finally do the eggbeater kick while raising one hand out of the water, then both hands.
Head-up swim, head-first surface dive 2m, swim 5-10m underwater, surface, foot-first surface dive to 2m recover an object and return.
Starting in the water, swim underwater for a distance of 10m or one width of the pool. Do not hyperventilate.
Legs-only 25m swim with a 4.5kg (10 lb) object using the lifesaving backstroke.
Front Crawl versus Breaststroke
Swim several lengths using different swimming strokes. See which swim strokes work best for you as they may vary depending of what clothes you wear. Swimwear lets you get away with a very bad technique, whilst clothes force you to do it right, or you go nowhere.
You may find that with many clothes on, front crawl is not much faster than breaststroke or backstroke.
Many people don't know this simple fact and wear themselves out with front crawl when breaststroke is just as fast.
Knowing this difference may save your life one day.
This experiment will show you how clothes affect your movements and weight in the water. Although your clothes won't pull you down, they will resist your movements and give you a hard workout. One litre of water weighs one kilogram.
The difference in weight compared to wearing no clothes should be about 4 to 8 kg, depending on your size.
So the water in your clothes weighs between 2 and 5 kg, about 2 and 5 litres. About half of it runs off in a few minutes.
Do a few push-ups or sit-ups on the pool side.
Next climb out and jump in as often as you can in one minute. This may sound trivial, but you'll soon find out that it can be quite tough.
This is a great fun training for anyone who starts out with survival training. In our team we ask new swimmers to wear at least t-shirt and shorts, so it kind of mimics having some workout clothing on.
Gradually they wear more kit in the water to train at a higher level, like sweatshirt, hoodies and long pants. Finally they can do it in full gear.
Write down your weekly training results.
Time your swims.
Add more clothing layers over time.
You should see improvements.
It builds massive aquatic confidence.