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Swimming Sports: Teachers & Training For The School Carnival

School Swimming Sports

: I hate schools booking the pool!

Wait... Get Your Lesson Plans Here

Well, I should clarify that just a little, I don't hate schools per se but whenever I am on lifeguard duty, every time I have to set up the pool for a school booking, I get this tight feeling in my gut. Tension because I have no idea at the level of swimming ability of the students and worse the level of competence of the teachers/coaches.

It's normal for the school sports teacher to run the program but sometimes I just want to go up to them and say "could you have at least read a book on swim coaching or even just swim teaching before you booked the pool lanes"? Seriously!

It is terrifying to watch. Not all the time but enough times to be very stressful for a lifeguard; especially one who is a swim teacher as well.

I think the idea of school swimming carnivals and the associate training is fantastic but why, if you are a trained teacher would you assume that because you can swim, you know how to teach swimming? It doesn't make any sense to me, surely a school swimming sports teacher should know how to teach swimming.

Image of a child swimming in a lane at the pool:school swimming sports
School Swimming Sports

I know that one of the electives that physical education teachers can do here in Australia is an Austswim Certificate. This is a very highly regarded teaching certificate that qualified someone to teach swimming. However, it would seem that is not mandatory to have that qualification to run a school swimming sports program. Even if the teacher that is running that program has the qualification there is no guarantee that they have kept it current.

There are also other qualification that can be obtained but I have no idea if schools are even required to have someone in charge of the program, who is qualified. If they are it is not always reflected in the quality of schools approach to their swimming program. At least not the ones I see.

To be fair, Not all school frighten me like this. There are schools that come back regularly and as soon as I hear their name I breathe a sigh of relief. Still, they are not the majority; as much as I wish they were.

What confuses me is, in this day of "Duty of Care" and being a part of what is increasingly litigious society, how can you not know:
  • That you can't take at face value a parent signing a form that says their child can swim
  • That the definition of Swimming is widely varied among non-professionals
  • That you should test all swimmers in shallow water first Before you get into any lap swimming; with an instructor or at least responsible adult in the water whilst it is being done
  • That no one should be randomly passing in the lane during warm-ups
  • Basic lane etiquette so that you don't end up with head or spinal injuries from swimmers running into the wall or other swimmers
  • That you have to discourage swimmers from running on deck; it is slippery no matter what you put on it
And lets not even get started about the poor teaching and training techniques.

I get it, I'm trained to be paranoid around water. But I really don't think that I am asking anybody else to be. I'm just asking Professionals to be professional and respect the water environment. It isn't "just Water". Let's treat it with respect


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