Gordie Zebrasky – January 2020

Gordie Zebrasky – January 2020

Gordie has been swimming with Aqua since Fall 2018. When Gordie started his lessons he was very unsure about putting his face in the water and there would be tears when swimming time came around each week. Fast forward to today: Gordie loves swimming with his face in the water during his Sea Otter classes! Gordie’s parents credit the trusting relationship that Kristiana has built with Gordie while simultaneously pushing him to be his best!

Here’s what Kristiana had to say about Gordie:

I’ve had Gordie as a swimmer since last Spring. Gordie started off as a timid swimmer. He would not like to lay his head back when we did floats and protested whenever we had to do reaches to the wall or bobs. This session is when I started to see improvements every class. He has become completely independent during his bobs, reaches to the wall, and back floats. Not to mention how comfortable he has gotten with dipping his face into the water! He even does a swim off the wall into my hands with his face completely submerged. I am so impressed with how much he’s pushed himself to do all these skills! I nominated Gordie to acknowledge how he always challenges himself to try something new every class. I am so proud of you Gordie and I can’t wait to see what else you surprise me with at the pool!!

Congratulations Gordie!

How to Prepare for a Bronze Course with Aqua Essence

If you’re reading this then chances are you just signed up for an Aqua Essence Bronze Medallion or Bronze Cross course. What a fantastic decision! These entry-level courses give our candidates not only certifications that are recognized by Manitoba’s Lifesaving Society but lifesaving knowledge that could prevent serious injury or even death. These certifications look amazing on a resume when applying for literally any position imaginable and (more importantly) the skills gained in these courses give our candidates confidence around the water that will stay with them for the entirety of their lives.

Anyway! Enough about all the obvious benefits of taking this course. Let’s talk about how our courses here at Aqua are a little bit different:

  • Crash Course: We are able to offer a compact course by completing two 8-hour days in a single weekend. These days will generally run 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. This has the benefit of keeping the material fresh in the minds of our candidates which helps to alleviate some of the pressure fo the final practical exam. Candidates will be given a homework assignment that should take a few hours to complete properly. All the information for the assignment can be found in the Candian Lifesaving Manual; a book that young lifesavers will become familiar with as they move through the courses toward lifeguard certification.
  • We Come to You: Summertime is prime time for both swimming and lifesaving courses! Take full advantage of our privatized teaching style by holding a course in your own backyard pool. A certified, confident, knowledgeable instructor can come to you as long as you have at least 3 candidates.
  • EFA or SFA Included: It’s very rare to find both first aid and lifesaving certification in one course even though both of them are required for employment almost anywhere. At Aqua we have amalgamated the two! Emergency First Aid comes with every Bronze Medallion and Standard First Aid comes with every Bronze Cross. Two Courses in one!
  • Year-Round: During the school year our courses take place in the central locations of the Canadian Mennonite University and the Cindy Klassen Recreation Centre for dry and wet classes respectively. In the summertime, we have a beautiful outdoor pool in River Heights where candidates can enjoy the sun and learn in a realistic environment.

What kinds of things should you be doing as a candidate to get yourself 100% prepared?

  • Check requirements! The pre-requisite for Bronze Medallion is to be either 13 years old or a Bronze Star holder. You can challenge Bronze Star as early as 11 years old. Contact our office to find out if this option is right for you. The only pre-requisite for Bronze Cross is to be a Bronze Medallion holder.
  • Swim! Bronze courses are physically demanding and if you haven’t been swimming for a year or two you will be challenged by the distance and fitness swims that are in both the Medallion and Cross courses. Medallion candidates should be able to complete a swim of 500m in less than 15 minutes. While Cross candidates should be able to complete a 600m swim in less than 18 minutes. Overall physical fitness is a huge benefit but in lifesaving and swimming in general, the technique is always the most important factor for success.
  • Sleep! Your mind needs to be sharp throughout the long days that these courses entail. Getting a full 8-hour sleep is a necessary part of keeping yourself in the zone.
  • Bring snacks! There will be lots of energy spent throughout the days of the courses and replenishing yourself will allow you to stay alert and ready.
  • Bring 2-3 towels! There will be a lot of jumping in and out of the water and there’s nothing worse than wrapping yourself in a cold damp towel. Bring a bunch so you can stay warm!
  • Check the Weather! During the summer when our courses are outside, we stop for nothing due to our tight schedule. Thunder and lightning might keep us out of the water but there are still dryland skills to practice no matter what. Dressing for the weather of the weekend will be crucial to candidate success.
  • Check your email! Our office needs to see your pre-requisite certifications before you are eligible for the course. We also offer the ability to order Subway through us and you wouldn’t want to miss out! Contact us at courses@aquaessence.ca 

After reading through this post you are undoubtedly ready for anything Bronze Medallion or Cross can throw at you! Our instructors can’t wait to meet you and help push you through the challenges these courses provide! Check our Leadership Courses tab above to look for a course today!

Jack Taylor – December 2019

Jack Taylor – December 2019

Jack started with Aqua Essence when he was just 6 months old. This now 6 and a half-year-old is a rockstar in the pool. Jack loves trying new skills in the pool and has been working on mastering his front crawl and diving as of late. Jack has always had a great level of comfort in the water that his family attributes to his consistently high level of instruction over the years.

Here’s what Mitchell had to say about Jack:

Jack has had a monumental year of swimming. I was lucky enough to swim with this little man from January to December in 2019 and WOW has he seen progress. From January to March Jack was mostly a shallow end swimmer getting the hang of breathing to the side. In the summertime, Jack was able to complete his first lap of full front crawl and I was never prouder of him. That was until September when Jack began spending about half his time in the deep end doing laps in the 25m lanes. I was blown away. Jack was able to fit one more HUGE accomplishment into 2019 when he completed his laps to get to the deep end by himself. Having me out of the water was a big change for Jack that we are still getting used to. His bravery and confidence in the water have skyrocketed this year and I chose Jack for Swimmer of the Month in December to recognize his hard work and dedication to improving over the past 12 months. On to Level 5 and a new year of challenges that I know he will crush!! Congratulations buddy.

Spencer Dicks – November 2019

Spencer Dicks – November 2019

Spencer has been swimming with Aqua Essence in both the Fall/Winter and Spring Sessions for multiple years now and is currently working on his goal of finishing Level 8. Spencer is very proud of the progress he’s seen in himself over the years with his many various teachers!

Here’s what Emily had to say about Spencer:

I am so proud of how hard Spencer worked this session, and how much his confidence has grown in the water. I’ve watched Spencer improve week by week and he’s even surprised himself so far this year with his progress! He was his own leader in improving his Breast Stroke, perfecting his dives, and increasing his endurance for his lap swims. Spencer was motivated to push himself to do better each week and worked with me to hone his skills. He even comes to the pool early to practice his dives by himself! Spencer also impressed me with his wonderful water safety knowledge and the fact that he could tread water for a very long time. Congratulations Spencer – your positive attitude and hard work ethic will take you far in life!

Congratulations Spencer!

Rethinking Results Oriented Thinking

Hi Aqua Families! Let’s talk about progression.

There will always be peaks and valleys when it comes to progressing in any skill. The Red Cross Swim Kids program that Aqua uses has a lot of benefits. It’s split up into 3 main sections:

  • Swimming
  • Skills and Water Safety
  • Fitness Activities

This format helps structure a lesson from an instructor’s point of view because they can see exactly where each individual swimmer needs to spend time and energy working. Maybe it’s the distance swim that’s giving them trouble. Focus on Fitness Activities. Perhaps Eggbeater has been challenging a swimmer. Focus on Water Safety Skills for the next few weeks.

These are the things going on in a swim instructor’s mind at any given point during a lesson: Where to go next. A plan of action moving forward. This is the exact reason that we don’t like to focus on what level the child is in. I know that doesn’t make much sense right out the gate. Hear me out!

Levels are a quick way for us to gauge skill level ON PAPER. That’s it. When deciding what to work on with a class, getting a badge is very rarely on my mind. I feel my swimmers’ time is better spent on developing and progressing skills, thinking of the badges as a by-product of the skill development.

Over the years I’ve seen a lot of swimmers and their families get very disappointed about not completing a level when, in reality, they had a fantastic session where they improved tremendously! This saddens me deeply. Hitting an arbitrary checkpoint on the road towards being a great swimmer matter less than the fact that they are progressing in the first place in my mind. We can absolutely celebrate these checkpoints when they happen, but should also celebrate mastering a Standing Dive, getting a perfect ‘S’ pull during Front Crawl, keeping ankles flexed during Front Whip Kick, or any number of accomplishments that don’t have to be involved with the receipt of a badge.

Here at Aqua, we take a huge amount of pride in producing the absolute best swimmers from our program. There are no handouts and our swimmers will work hard each and every week to achieve their individualized goals. This method can bring up some tense situations where a swimmer and an instructor may disagree on what constitutes a change in level. These are moments I like to remind my families that we can and will progress any skill when it’s ready to be progressed. There have been many situations where a swimmer will be Level 5 on paper because they are having a tough time with the Whip Kick needed for that level, but will also be working on Stride Entries (Level 7), Eggbeater Treading (Level 8) and Elementary Backstroke (Level 6).

Let’s have a great swimming year and remember the knowledge and skills learned are more important than any badge!