When is it time to move to a bigger pool?
The unique Shapland Swim School teaching pool is one quarter ¼ the size of an Olympic pool, which means if you were to multiple the length and width of our teaching pool it would measure 50m long by 25m wide.
It was not by accident the pool was designed this way. Back in 1973 when my father ‘Bernie’ opened the first boutique Shapland Swim School at 26 Hill Parade Clontarf, Redcliffe, Queensland. He wanted a pool small enough to build without any expansion or constructions joints, yet large enough to give his pupils the feel for what it was like to swim 25, 50, 100, 200, 400 and 1000m.
Because efficient swimming relies on a sound technique it is very important a swimmer has a long grounding in swimming technically correctly. This long grounding ensures the swimmer knows no other way to swim and no matter what the water conditions (still or open water), should be able to relax and swim with very little effort. Of course, swimming competitively requires a lot of effort and is very taxing on muscles and your cardiovascular system, which means it is even more imperative you have a flawless technique when you race.
Moving into a squad in a 25 or 50m pool too soon can be very detrimental to a swimmers’ technique, not to mention going from a small class of three to a class of up to 15 swimmers in the one lane. This is not only daunting but also results in the swimmer getting lost amongst the crowd and their technique suffers because as the get tired their technique falls apart resulting in the swimmer practicing bad habits.
A swimmer who graduates from the top level of a Shapland Swim School is able to swim all strokes technically correct as well as know how to read a swim program (written on a white board by the coach). Being able to execute a tumble turn is a must before you move up to a competitive swimming squad.
By the time a swimmer graduates from our program they should be able to swim at least 400m non-stop. Some of our graduate students have requested they be allowed to swim nonstop for 40 minutes; in which time they cover over 1 kilometre.
Having said all of the above it would be my recommendation that a child should be able to swim at least 50m is all strokes technically correctly before they contemplate moving up to swimming consistently in a 25 or 50m pool or in open water events in the ocean or lakes.