Why Swimming Lessons Are Essential.

Discover the Lifesaving and Health Benefits of Learning to Swim

Welcome to The Clubs at River City, where we believe that swimming is not just a recreational activity but a vital life skill. Did you know that drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children under 14, with the highest rates among children ages 1-4? These alarming statistics underscore the importance of equipping our children with the ability to swim. At The Clubs at River City in Peoria, Illinois, we are committed to providing expert swim lessons to ensure your family enjoys the water safely and confidently.

Swimming offers a multitude of benefits beyond safety. It’s an excellent full-body workout that strengthens muscles, improves cardiovascular health, and boosts lung capacity. Whether your child is a beginner or looking to refine their technique, our experienced instructors are here to guide them every step of the way. (Learn more about the benefits of swimming from the CDC.) In this article, we’ll explore why learning to swim is essential, the best time to start lessons, how to choose the right program, and answer common questions to help you dive into the world of swimming with confidence. Let’s make a splash together and create a safer, healthier future for our children!

Kids learning to swim at The Clubs at River City in Peoria

Why Learning to Swim is Essential

Life-saving Skill

Swimming isn’t just a fun way to cool off on a hot day; it’s a vital life-saving skill. Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children under 14, with the highest rates among children ages 1-4. That’s a scary statistic, but it highlights just how crucial it is to ensure your child learns to swim. Water is everywhere – pools, lakes, rivers, even bathtubs – and knowing how to swim can make all the difference in preventing a tragedy. Here at The Clubs at River City in Peoria, Illinois, we understand the importance of water safety and are dedicated to providing top-notch swim lessons to keep your family safe.

Health Benefits

Aside from the safety aspect, swimming is a fantastic workout. It forces your body to work against water resistance, which helps to strengthen muscles, improve heart health, and boost lung capacity. Plus, it’s low impact, making it easier on the joints than many other forms of exercise. So, not only will your child be safer, but they’ll also be healthier and stronger. Win-win!

When to Start Swim Lessons

Age Recommendations

You might be wondering, “When should my child start swim lessons?” The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends starting swim lessons as early as age 1. Studies have shown that water survival skills training can reduce the risk of drowning for children ages 1-4. Parent-child classes can introduce good water safety habits and build swim readiness skills. By age 4, most children are ready to learn basic water survival skills such as floating, treading water, and getting to an exit point. By age 5 or 6, many kids can master the front crawl.

Developmental Readiness

Every child is unique, and readiness for swim lessons can vary. Consider your child’s emotional maturity, physical abilities, and comfort level in the water. Some kids are eager to jump in at an early age, while others may need a little more time to feel comfortable. Trust your instincts and observe your child’s reactions to water. If they seem ready, it’s a good idea to start lessons.

Types of Swim Lessons

Parent-Child Swim Classes

For toddlers and preschoolers, parent-child swim classes can be incredibly beneficial. These classes not only help reduce the risk of drowning but also provide a fantastic opportunity for bonding. Plus, they’re a lot of fun! Singing songs, playing games, and splashing around together can make your child’s first experiences with water positive and enjoyable.

Independent Swim Lessons

By the time children are 4 years old, most are ready for independent swim lessons. These lessons focus on teaching basic water survival skills, such as floating, treading water, and swimming to an exit point. As they progress, kids will learn different strokes, like the front crawl, and improve their overall water competency.

Table 1: Types of Swim Lessons

Type of LessonDescriptionAge GroupKey Benefits
Parent-Child Swim ClassesClasses involving both parents and toddlers, focused on introducing water safety habits and fun activities.Toddlers & PreschoolersBonding, water safety habits, social and emotional development.
Independent Swim LessonsLessons where children learn basic water survival skills and swimming strokes independently.Ages 4 and upWater survival skills, improved swimming techniques, confidence.

Choosing the Right Swim Lesson Program

Key Factors to Consider

When it comes to selecting a swim lesson program at The Clubs at River City in Peoria, not all are created equal. Look for programs with experienced, qualified instructors who are certified through a nationally recognized curriculum. It’s also important that lifeguards are present and that they have current CPR and First Aid certifications. The pool environment should be safe, clean, and well-maintained, with proper water temperature and quality.

Observing a Class

Before committing to a program, ask if you can observe a class. This gives you a chance to see the instructors in action and evaluate the learning environment. Are the kids engaged and actively swimming, or are they spending a lot of time waiting for their turn? Do the instructors provide individual attention and feedback? These are important factors to consider.

Program Requirements

Swim lessons should be structured in multiple sessions to allow for consistent progress. For younger children, look for programs that offer a supportive and age-appropriate atmosphere. There should be a focus on safety and supervision, with parents encouraged to participate or observe. Lessons should also teach broader water survival skills, such as self-rescue techniques and how to handle unexpected situations.

Table 2: Key Factors for Choosing a Swim Program

Experienced InstructorsLook for certified instructors with training from nationally recognized curricula.
Safety MeasuresEnsure the presence of lifeguards with CPR and First Aid certifications.
Learning EnvironmentEvaluate if children are engaged and receiving individual attention during lessons.
Program StructureMultiple sessions for consistent progress, focus on age-appropriate and supportive atmosphere.
Observing a ClassCheck if you can observe a class to see the teaching methods and interaction.
Broader Water Survival SkillsPrograms should include self-rescue techniques and handling unexpected situations.
Affordability OptionsLook for scholarship programs and payment plans to make lessons accessible.
Community ResourcesExplore local government and public pool programs for affordable or free swim lessons.

Essential Swimming Techniques


The breaststroke is often described as “pull, breathe, kick, glide.” It’s a rhythm that swimmers recite in their heads to remember the sequence. To perform the breaststroke:

  1. Float with your face in the water, body straight and horizontal.
  2. Press your hands out and back in a circle while lifting your head to inhale.
  3. Bring your hands together in front of your shoulders while bending your knees and pointing your feet outward.
  4. Reach your arms forward, kick out and back in a circle, then snap your feet together.
  5. Glide forward and repeat.

Pro tip: Keep your legs behind you instead of below you to minimize resistance and swim faster.


The butterfly, or “fly,” is known as the most challenging stroke due to its complex timing and coordination. Start by mastering the wave-like body movement:

  1. Float with your face in the water, body straight and horizontal.
  2. Move your head down and forward, pushing your hips up, then move your head up, pushing your hips down.
  3. When your head goes down, kick and send your arms down past your hips while lifting your head to inhale.
  4. Kick again, continuing the body wave, sending your arms up and across the water. Exhale as your face reenters the water.

Pro tip: Avoid exaggerating the wave movement. Keep your hips near the surface to maintain speed.

Freestyle (Front Crawl)

Freestyle involves a leg movement called the flutter kick. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Float with your face in the water, body straight and horizontal.
  2. Alternate moving your feet up and down quickly, keeping your ankles loose and knees slightly bent.
  3. Reach your right hand 12 to 18 inches ahead, palm facing down.
  4. Pull your right hand down and back, then rotate your hip and shoulder upward as your hand passes your thigh.
  5. Bring your hand up and across the water, repeating the motion with your left hand.
  6. Breathe every two or three strokes as your hand exits the water.

Pro tip: Always reach forward before pulling down to maintain long, relaxed strokes for better speed.

Man learning to swim at The Clubs at River City in Peoria

Supervision and Safety Measures

Effective Supervision

Proper supervision is crucial, even if your child is learning to swim. Drowning can happen quickly and silently, so always keep close, constant attention. Avoid distractions like reading, using your phone, or doing other activities. For younger children and weak swimmers, get in the water with them and practice “touch supervision” – always being within arm’s reach. Whether you’re enjoying our indoor and outdoor pools, safety is paramount.

Use of Life Jackets

When swimming in natural bodies of water, such as lakes or rivers, always use life jackets. They should fit properly and be approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. Weak swimmers should also wear life jackets at pools and water parks.

Emergency Preparedness

Everyone should learn CPR and safe rescue techniques to respond in case of a drowning incident. Recognizing signs of distress and knowing how to respond can save lives. Water safety is a family affair, so make sure everyone is educated and prepared.

Overcoming Financial Barriers

Affordability Options

Swim lessons can be expensive, but don’t let cost be a barrier. Many cities offer scholarship programs to help cover the cost of lessons at public pools. Reach out to qualified instructors about possible payment plans or financial aid options.

Community Resources

Check with local government and public pools for affordable or free swim lessons. Many communities have programs designed to make swim lessons accessible to all families.

Benefits Beyond Safety

Long-term Advantages

Learning to swim opens the door to a lifetime of fun and fitness. It also offers potential employment opportunities, such as lifeguarding or teaching swim lessons. Swimming can be enjoyed at any age, making it a valuable skill for life.

Getting Started with Swim Lessons

Finding a Swim Instructor

When you’re ready to take the plunge, look for a swim instructor in your area. Whether you’re interested in beginner lessons or joining a competitive swim team, we have programs that suit all levels. You can find private or group lessons through local resources like rec centers, gyms, schools, and public pools. Online resources like the USA Swimming Foundation, United States Swim School Association, and U.S. Masters Swimming can also help you find local instructors.

Preparing for Lessons

Before starting lessons, make sure you and your child are prepared. Bring the essentials like swimwear, towels, and goggles. Encourage a positive experience by talking about how fun and exciting learning to swim will be. A little enthusiasm goes a long way!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you teach yourself how to swim?

While it’s possible to teach yourself how to swim, it’s generally safer and more effective to learn from a certified swim instructor. They can provide personalized guidance, correct techniques, and ensure you’re practicing water safety.

How should a beginner start swimming?

Beginners should start by getting comfortable in the water. Practice floating, kicking, and basic breathing techniques. Working with a swim instructor is highly recommended to learn proper form and build confidence.

How many days does it take to learn how to swim?

The time it takes to learn how to swim varies for each individual. With regular practice and lessons, many people can learn the basics within a few weeks. Consistency and patience are key.

Can I learn swimming at 40?

Absolutely! It’s never too late to learn how to swim. Many adults start swimming lessons later in life and find it to be a rewarding experience. A good instructor will tailor the lessons to your comfort and skill level.

With these tips and information, you’ll be well on your way to ensuring your child is safe, confident, and happy in the water.

Swim instructor directing swim lessons at The Clubs at River City in Peoria

The Importance of Swim Lessons for Safety and Health

Swimming is much more than just a fun activity—it’s a crucial life-saving skill and an excellent form of exercise that promotes overall health and well-being. At The Clubs at River City in Peoria, Illinois, we understand the vital role that swimming plays in ensuring safety around water. With drowning being the second leading cause of unintentional injury death among children under 14, learning to swim can significantly reduce this risk and provide peace of mind for parents. For more information on drowning prevention, visit Safe Kids Worldwide.

Starting swim lessons at an early age, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, helps children develop essential water survival skills and build a strong foundation for a lifetime of swimming. Whether through parent-child classes for toddlers or independent lessons for older kids, there are programs tailored to fit every child’s developmental readiness and comfort level.

Choosing the right swim program involves considering factors such as instructor qualifications, safety measures, and the overall learning environment. Observing a class and understanding the program’s structure can help parents make informed decisions that ensure their children receive high-quality instruction.

Moreover, learning to swim offers long-term benefits, including potential employment opportunities and a lifetime of enjoyable physical activity. It’s never too late to start, as adults can also learn to swim and reap the rewards of this valuable skill.

By prioritizing swim lessons, utilizing community resources, and embracing consistent practice, families can foster a safe and supportive environment for their children to thrive in the water. At The Clubs at River City, we are dedicated to helping you and your family make a splash in the safest and most enjoyable way possible. Dive in with us, and let’s create a safer, healthier future together!