Last weekend I had my first swimming lesson in probably 15 years. I’m really keen to improve my fitness and running just doesn’t appeal to me, especially in the winter months, so getting into the water appeared to be my best bet. For the last 6 months I’ve been telling myself I’m going to start swimming, it’s a great talent of mine – saying I’m going to start a new fitness regime and never getting around to it. I was finally provided with the push I needed when Swimming Nature invited me to try one of their swimming lessons.
Swimming Nature are one of the UK’s largest swimming lesson providers, who have just launched some adult swimming lessons at Fitness First in Cheltenham. You are taught via the Shaw Method, an innovative adult swimming programme:
The Shaw Method is based upon the principles of the Alexander Technique, encouraging lengthening of the spine, using the whole body in balance and without stress. The Shaw Method re-crafts the strokes to promote optimal body alignment, ergonomic motion, and lasting physical comfort. The teaching programme incorporates a combination of dry land and water-based training, with hands-on guidance in the pool to facilitate learning.
The Shaw method classes include the basics of learning to swim, and more specific lessons in front crawl/backstroke/butterfly/breaststroke and are taught in small groups or one-to-one tuition. You can be a complete beginner or just want to gain more confidence in the water. For me, I don’t fear the water but I have no idea whether I swim efficiently or even correctly so last week I went along to Fitness First to find out.
I met my instructor Edward at reception and we headed straight to the pool. I originally thought about improving my breaststroke, however front crawl is ideal for those wanting to get fit so we focused on this instead.
The stroke is completely broken down so you focus on one area before moving onto the next. We started with the legs, then the movement of your body as you switch from one arm to the other and then how your arms go through the water; bringing it all together to create an elegant stroke.
The Shaw method teaches you how to use the body’s natural bouyancy to minimise effort, allowing you to swim for longer and get the most out of your time in the water. I kept having to remind myself to breathe out as I swam underwater instead of holding my breath, something I finally got the hang of.
After an hour, my lesson had come to an end and my motivation to maintain the new skills has already got me back into the water this weekend; honing the techniques and craft of the front crawl from the Shaw method, to keep me gliding through the pool without breaking too much of a sweat.
Although I was confident in the water before my lesson, I wasn’t confident about my swimming technique – I feel I made pretty good progress after my first lesson and can take a more calm and controlled approach to my front crawl.
To find out more about Swimming Nature and lessons near you, visit their website here.
If you’re struggling for Christmas presents for friends and family, or perhaps even yourself, why not give the gift of Swimming. Swimming Nature are currently offering gift vouchers at a special rate of £109 for a three-lesson adult package. Call Swimming Nature now on 03445 04 0506 and quote ‘Christmas gift‘ and we’ll pop a voucher in the post. We can send it either direct to your recipient or straight to you, so you can present it to them on Christmas Day. Just make sure you order before 18th December so we can guarantee delivery before the 25th.