• 05 Mar

    Deep-dive into the Infamous Level 1 “Bob”

    What exactly is a “slow and controlled bob?” Developing and maintaining a correct breathing pattern is the first fundamental in teaching your child how to properly swim. In Level 1 we focus exclusively on teaching your child how to breathe underwater. In order to pass Level 1, your child must be able to easily perform 10 slow and controlled bobs.

    A perfectly executed bob is when your child, who is holding on to the edge of the pool with two hands, takes a BIG breath in through their mouth and then submerges their head fully underwater while releasing air out their nose. The air exhaled through the nose becomes bubbles once your child is submerged underwater.

    At home, you can encourage your child to practice their “bob” in the bathtub. Our coaches frequently describe the exhale through the nose as “humming” underwater. The act of humming produces exhalation through the nose instead of the mouth.

    What we look for is that your child is able to consistently and repeatedly put his head underwater while exhaling properly through the nose, come up and take a new breath in and then do another bob exhaling through the nose again and getting the head completely submerged underwater.

    Additionally, we want to see that your child is confident and comfortable performing ten bobs in a row without stopping, getting distracted, or needing to adjust goggles or wipe water from their eyes/nose/mouth and without jumping up from the bottom of the pool.

    Proper exhalation relieves tension in the body and is a foundational step in developing water confidence and comfort. This becomes especially important in Level 2 when your child is learning how to float on their front and back.

    If your child has already mastered the “bob” check out our blog post here for important reminders on breathing for swimmers across all levels of our learn-to-swim program.

    To learn more about the fundamentals of teaching your child to learn how to swim, check out our free FREE download on How to Set up your Child for Success in Swim Lessons!

    By Amy Rzepka Uncategorized
  • 05 Mar

    Don’t Forget to Breathe!

    Proper exhalation while swimming is a vital skill for two reasons: 1) it’s how we teach your child to keep water out of their nose while they are on their back whether it be floating in Level 2, flutter kicking in Level 3, or learning backstroke, and 2) it’s how swimmers release air in preparation to take a breath.

    Ultimately swimming is all about breathing. In Level 1 we focus exclusively on teaching your child how to breathe underwater. Developing and maintaining a correct pattern of inhaling and exhaling is the first fundamental in teaching your child how to properly swim. If your swimmer is in Level 1 or is still “bob-reluctant,” check out our deep-dive on bobs blog post here.

    This blog post is for you if your child has ever gotten frustrated or exclaimed, “I can’t…”

    … go as far as the coaches are asking
    … hold my breath that long
    … float – I just sink!
    … do a somersault in the water
    … touch the bottom of the pool (at 3-4 feet of depth)

    The average healthy child should have no problem covering a distance of 20 feet in the water provided they are exhaling properly and performing the skills being taught correctly. Swimmers that are not exhaling properly are likely to feel winded or become out of breath more quickly. Exhaling, on land or in water, releases tension. When you hold your breath, your body is unable to release carbon dioxide (CO2). This causes a sense of urgency or “needing” to breathe and results in a swimmer lifting their head and losing their body position.

    Holding the breath and retaining tension makes it hard to feel comfortable and confident in the water. This feeling of needing to breathe creates a sense of fear and no one, regardless of age or ability, is able to learn when fear is present. By first teaching every single student how to breathe underwater, we are able to help a child establish a baseline comfort and confidence in the water that allows them to then be able to learn.

    For more advanced swimmers who are expected to bilaterally breathe during freestyle, stockpiling CO2 from not exhaling makes the time between three strokes feel very long regardless of how strong or powerful you are. A swimmer, in this case, is more likely to revert back to breathing solely on their favored side. This results in your stroke becoming lopsided from poor body rotation on your non-breathing side which then leads to arm pull deficiency and other problems such as the arm crossing the body’s centerline. All stemming from a poor breathing technique!

    Whether your child is in Level 2 or Level 10, you can encourage them to make sure they are remembering to exhale (in the form of bubbles) through their nose while their face is in the water. Ask them to demonstrate at Family Swim Night or in the bathtub at home. Double check that bubbles are emerging from their nose. Heck, have them role play and demonstrate their breathing and head rotation anywhere!

    If your child is struggling to exhale through the nose, suggest they close their mouth and hum (exhale in the form of bubbles) as they put their face into the water. As your child improves their ability to exhale without needing to think about it, they will be able to exhale easily through the nose with their mouth open. However, this can be difficult to achieve when first learning how to exhale through the nose.

    For more tips on how to set your child up for success learning how to swim check out our other blog posts here!

    By Amy Rzepka Uncategorized