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:
- 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!
The Rewucki family has been swimming with Aqua for the last 6 years and Rayna has been swimming since she was 2.5 years old. She has seen tremendous growth since then and since the family spends so much time camping in the summer, she gets to practice her abilities every day! Rayna has a TON of confidence around all types of water. Her favourite parts of swimming lessons with Aidan are swimming to the wall with her straight arms and using the slide!
Here’s what Aidan had to say about Rayna:
I would like to nominate Rayna Rewucki as Swimmer of the Month of October! Rayna has been working so hard and has improved so much! She is a super strong and independent swimmer at the Salamander level! She can swim half a length by herself on her back swim! Her kicks have improved a ton and she’s kicking with tons of power and strength. Not only has she been constantly improving on her back, but her front swims have been coming along like crazy! She’s starting to swim further and further by herself and is starting to keep those arms up on top of the water! Rayna has my nomination for her growth and independence in the pool this month! Congrats Rayna!
Maksym started swimming with Aqua Essence in September of 2017. Before swimming with us he would like to be able to touch the bottom of wherever he was swimming and was hesitant to swim without assistance. Now Maksym is a fantastic independent swimmer! He feels he is really learning a lot and improving his swimming which makes going to the pool exciting. Maksym says his instructor Sam makes it fun to learn with his encouraging attitude!
Here’s what Sam had to say about Maksym:
I have had the pleasure of teaching Maksim since September. He has made a lot of improvements since then! He has been working very hard on his back kicks and his latest achievement has been being able to swim a full length of the pool all by himself! At the start of classes, we used boards and I was supporting him but after a while and lots of practice, he is swimming by himself and is improving every class! Maksym is very enthusiastic is always working hard and I am so proud of the improvement he has made during this session! Congratulations Maksym!
Sarah joined Aqua Essence, in the Winter of 2019. Prior to that, she had taken some drop in lessons about two years ago elsewhere. Sarah has a fear of water and the lessons have provdided her with a comfort that she never had before, It’s a skill that she sincerely enjoys learning further, and she looks forward to swimming during vacations and over the Summer.
Here’s what Sari had to say:
I would like to nominate Sarah Kenyon for swimmer of the month. Sarah started taking lessons this February, after not being in the water for years. Sarah has quickly progressed from swimming with assistance in the shallow end to completing entrire laps in the deep end, all on her own in just over 2 months. Sarah’s hard work and drive to learn is incredile to see and shows that no matter your circumstances, it’s never too late to learn this important life skill. Congratulations on all your hard work Sarah!
Diego started swimming wtih Aqua Essence in the Fall of 2017. Prior to that he had taken lessons elsewhere, and felt comfortbale in the water, but wanted to focus on skill development. Diego’s Aunt, suggested he move to swim wtih Aqua Essence and his mom wished she had done so, a lot sooner! Diego enjoys his private one on one class with his instructor Mitchell and getting to know him, which makes him feel more confident in his swimming! Diego looks forward to swimming at Cindy Klassen each week.
Here’s what Mitchell had to say:
Diego has been chosen as swimmer of the month for April. Diego and I have been working to complete the Red Cross Swim Kids program for almost a year now and he has come so far. Diego is one of those kids that never complains, and does the work. Because of this attitude he has been able to improve drastically in a short amount of time. He is locked in on his goal of completing Level 10 and he is so close now. I’m sure he can see the light at the end of the tunnel! I want to recognize Diego’s efforts over the past few months, specifically because of the increase I’ve noticed in his endurance. Being able to swim continually is a huge part of the last few levels and Diego is more than up to that task. Great work Diego and great attitude!
Thabiso joined Aqua Essence in the Fall of 2017, he had no swimming experience previously. He was afraid of getting into the water and was especially terrified of putting his head under the water. He couldn’t float or swim. Sasha was his first instructor and was very patrient. Thabiso now enjys swimming and he can’t wait to get to his swimming lessons. He also likes to practice his skills outside of his swimming lessons. He enjoys doing arm circles, pencil swims, and diving. Thabiso enjoys swimming with his instructor Annika and he regularly smiles and is very happy when he is in the pool. Thabiso enjoys getting high gives from his teacher when he achieves a certain skill.
Here’s what Annika had to say: I would like to nominate Thabiso Mohamme for swimmer of hte month. Thabiso and I have been swimming together since September, and since then he has improved tremendously! In the first few classes, he was very fearful of entering the water and had absolutely no interest of stepping foot near the deep end. After just a few weeks, Thabiso was swimming from one end of the pool to the other, and jumping into the deep end on his own!
Thabiso works really hard and it shows, each class he is improving more and more. Once Thabiso get to the pool he is very eager to hop int eh water and start working on his front crawl. HIs front crawl has come such a long way! It took Thabiso a while to get the hang of the arm circles using the board, but now he is swimming multiple lengths without any assitance! Keep up the awesome work Thabiso!
Ben joined Aqua Essence in the Fall of 2014. His very first instructor was Mitchell! This was his very first set of swimming levels and before joining Aqua Essence, his comfort level in the water was non-existent. Ben enjoys swimming, and now that he is in Level 6, he is looking forward to wearing googles in teh water next session! Ben looks forward to swimming at Cindy Klassen Recreation Centre each week!
Here’s what Hannah had to say:
I would like to nominate Benjamin Plaseski as a swimmer of the month. Ben has been working very hard during lessons, especially on his endurance in teh deep end and he has been improving with every class. Although practising, whip kick can be repetitve and frustrating, Iam proud of Ben for remaining dedicated eveyr week. All of hte hard work has really paid off! I also admire his sense of humour and I look forward to seeing him every week at the pool!
Abby joined Aqua Essence in September 2018. Prior to taking lessons, Abby loved the water but would only go in, with floaties on. Abby loves being in the big pool, like her older brothers! She enjoys taking lessons at Concordia Pool.
Here’s what Ashley had to say:
I would like to nominate Abby Carrasco for swimmer of thte month for January. Abby has made leaps during her swimming lessons for the past few months. From being hesistant swimming alone, she has become independent with her swimming and is able to swim long distance by herself! Abby always comes to swimming lessons with a smile on her face and a positive attidue. She is excited to swim by herself and is eager to learn more ways of swimming and ways to stay safe in and around the water!
Russell joined Aqua Essence in the Fall of 2010, at the age of six. He has always been very comfortable in the water. Russell’s favourite part of his lessons, is any skill/activity that allows him to go underwater, and he really enjoys having Caitlyn as his instructor. Russell enjoys swimming at Sergeant Tommy Prince Place, and most recently Cindy Klassen Recreation Complex.
Here’s what Caitlyn had to say:
I would like to nominate Russell Dykstra for swimmer of the month for December! Russell and I have been swimming together since I started teaching in April 2018. He is on of the most dedicated swimmers’ I have ever met. When I first started with Russell, he was a bit shy. Russell now comes to swimming each week telling me what he wants to work on and his goal for that class! We have been working on Breast Stroke consistently for the last month and half, and although it’s a challenging stroke to learn, not once has Russell given less than 100%! The best part of swimming with Russell is that he never forgets a hug at the end of the class. Keep up the hard work Russell! Congratulations on being swimmer of the month, you deserve it!