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Swimming: A Proven Way to Improve Academic Ability

Swimming: A Proven Way to Improve Academic Ability

Over the years, many studies have been published regarding exercise and academic abilities. Much of what was concluded was that exercise does in fact help academic performance. But this was all generalized, as in any type of exercise or sport would help boost a child’s grades. For instance, if your child played soccer, they would have good grades, just as if he would play basketball, or she would play softball. However, research published in April 2020 has found that swimming is a bit different. Swimming does just a little bit more and kids that keep swimming end up quite academically accomplished.

So why is swimming different and what exactly does it do?

Swimming provides what is called bilateral cross patterning movements, meaning that the right and left side of the body are doing opposite movements. Think about swimming freestyle or backstroke. When one arm is in front of the head, the other arm is down by the side. These cross patterning movements help the brain develop nerve fibers between the hemispheres that “facilitate communication, feedback, and modulation,” according to Lana Whitehead, a lead swimming researcher in her pamphlet Water Smart Babies: Scientific Benefits of Baby Swim Lessons. The more both sides of the brain “talk” with each other, the more efficient neurological development will be. However, if there is poor interaction between the hemispheres of the brain, the slower language development, and academic learning will be. In addition to stronger neurological development, the water provides a gentle resistance that forces the body to work through it, thus further developing nerve fibers and muscle control and coordination. 

The neurological development that swimming provides literally sets children up for academic success. A 2012 study out of Griffith University in Australia found that kids who took year-round swimming lessons were approximately 20 months ahead in major milestones, compared with their peers within the same age group and socioeconomic status. This further breaks down to 11 months ahead in oral expressions, 6 months ahead in mathematical reasoning, 2 months ahead in brief reading, 17 months ahead in story recall, and 20 months ahead in understanding directions for the average 4-year-old. The benefits of swimming lessons further extends to better mathematical scores in elementary school. A study out of the United Kingdom in 2016 looked at 6400 children at ages 5, 7, and 11 years olds found those who participated in organized sports were 1.5 times more likely to “reach higher than expected levels in tests” compared with peers who did not participate in sports. And, kids who continue swimming into high school had 89.3% better than typical grades.

Swimming isn’t just conducive for neuro-typical children either. Kids with ADD/ADHD who swim show “improvement in ADHD symptoms and social functioning” according to a 2016 study. Kids with ADD/ADHD have issues with impulse control, processing speed, gross and fine motor skills, and academic achievement due to focus problems, and swimming addresses all these issues through the neurological and chemical responses in the brain. The best example of swimming benefiting kids with ADD/ADHD is Michael Phelps, who’s mother enrolled him in swimming after being diagnosed with ADHD at age 11. On a more personal note, my mother, in her infinite wisdom, had me swimming at age 3-4 just so I would sleep and stop annoying her (her words, not mine. Also, love you mom!). 

Me, age 7, probably annoying the photographer because I’m not in the water.

It doesn’t just stop at high school though either. Swimming at any age provides better blood flow to the brain. A study conducted by researchers from Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom found that simply standing in the water chest deep significantly increased blood flow to the brain, which has been shown to increase cognitive function. (Our instructors might be geniuses!)

Swimming provides some amazing life long benefits and while good grades and socialization are incredibly important during childhood and adolescent years, the health benefits of swimming and exercise pay off in later years as well. If you want to give your child a head start in their education, sign them up for swim lessons. It’s fun, it teaches them a lifelong skill, and it sets them up for a future of academic success.

And for our shameless plug, we are offering Fynn’s Academy for the Fall. Fynn’s Academy is a 3-hour program, in which your child receives academic assistance with online learning by a certified Pre-K–12 teacher for 2 hours and 1 hour of free swim, thus fully linking academic skills with swimming skills. You can sign up for this online, at the front desk, or call us at 610-625-4848.

References and Additional Reading

Ian R. Cumming and Karl J. New – http://www.swimming.org/assets/Are-Adolescent-Swimmers-Cleverer.pdf

Griffith University – https://news.griffith.edu.au/2012/11/15/swimming-kids-are-smarter/

Lana Whitehead – https://www.swimkidsaz.com/pdfs/SwimmingBabies.pdf

With Great Entertainment Comes Great Responsibility: Keeping Families Safe in Your Home Pool

With Great Entertainment Comes Great Responsibility: Keeping Families Safe in Your Home Pool

It’s summertime and the pools are open! Well, at least YOUR pool is open, and all the neighbors want to come to your house and swim. But, how do you make sure you are keeping your family and friends safe? According to the CDC, the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1-4 is drowning, and 25% of these little ones drown in home pools. Drowning is also the second leading cause of unintentional death for kids ages 5-9 (the first is motor vehicle accidents). This equates to about 700 children a year dying, and approximately 6000 children in the ER with non-fatal injuries. And this doesn’t even take into account children on the spectrum, who are 160 times more likely to drown. 

To make matters more depressing, it’s not just kids and it’s not just pools. According to the Red Cross, approximately 54% of all Americans either can’t swim or don’t have the basic swimming survival skills, which are the ability to jump into water over their heads, take a breath, tread water or float for one minute, swim one length, and get out of the pool without a ladder. This means the adults at your home are also in danger, especially if they don’t know how to swim and/or drinking is involved. And everyone without a pool–you’re not off the hook. Infants and toddlers can also drown in bathtubs, bath seats, buckets, wells, cisterns, septic tanks, decorative ponds, and toilets. Children can drown in as little as an inch of water. Almost 70% of kids who drowned were not expected to be in or around a body of water. Make sure that if your child is missing, you always check the water first!

With all this bleak information, you might feel like, “why bother?”, but there are many preventative measures you can take to keep everyone protected. The two, single, most important things you can do is to have a designated water watcher and to have physical barriers surrounding the pool that prevent unintended use.

Look at this mom—not a cell phone in sight. Be a good mom like her!
If only we all could have pools like this.

A designated water watcher doesn’t necessarily have to be a lifeguard. It should be someone who is responsible, sober, and dedicated to undistracted watching. This means they are actively watching the pool, and not chatting with friends, reading, or playing on their cell phone. Besides just having a water watcher, all children who can’t swim should be within arm’s distance of an adult. Drowning is not like in the movies. There’s no screaming, no splashing, and no calling for help. So even though an adult might be right there, a child could easily go under without anyone noticing. Having the adult and having the water watcher provides layers of protection to help ensure this doesn’t happen.

Another layer of protection is physical barriers. The Red Cross highlights many physical safety measures to take to secure your pool. Your home pool, whether in ground or above ground, should be completely (all 4 sides) surrounded by isolated fencing. The pool should be separated from not only your backyard, but the house as well. All gates should be self-closing, self-latching, and out of reach of children. This alone reduces drowning risk by about 83%. For above ground pools, any access points, like ladders or steps, should be secured, locked, or removed after use. 

The bottom line is drowning deaths are preventable. Once precautionary measures are in place, and you commit to teaching the entire family safe swimming practices, it will give you more peace of mind and make your home pool a more enjoyable place to entertain. Happy Swimming!

Water safety infor graphic from Swim Strong Foundation
Zoning in @ SiZ Summer 2020

Zoning in @ SiZ Summer 2020

Yes! We are back in the Pool. Hurrah!

Yeah! What fun to be back in the pool!”

“Getting back in the pool is just wonderful”

Ms. Penny said, “I have never been out of the water that long in my whole life”.

“I never enjoyed anything so much as my first time back in the pool after this shutdown”

“This morning my child took his pj’s off and put on his swim suit and goggles. He is more than excited.”

“I’m so glad that you are open. Thank you.”

“Can’t I stay longer?”

“I’m so glad to be out of the house and my kids exercising! I am so ready to get going again.”

What it means to be “green”.

Group Weeklong lessons, group make-up lessons as well as private lessons and semiprivate lessons. We can also have 50% capacity which is 84 people for a building of 9,000 sq. ft.
Yeah! Our county is going to “green” on 6/26. Free group make-ups can now be scheduled as well as private makeups for $10 each. Small birthday parties and expanded times for lap swim will all be added to the schedule soon. Masks are still required but some distancing requirements and other requirements are relaxed.

New Make Up Policies

Parent/Child Classes:

  • MUST sign up in advance
  • Only 1 parent/child can do a make up per class

Private Lessons:

  • $10 per make up

Semi-Private Lessons:

  • $10 per make up

Group Make Ups:

  • No charge

Remote Swim-in Zone!

Swim lessons at your pool.

Swim-in Zone will send an instructor to your (or family or friend’s) home pool and teach swimming to your children and any other children that you chose.

Please see our website or call us for more information. Lessons will be available throughout the summer.

Does my Child still need swim lessons?

When can a parent feel confident in their child’s ability to survive a water related accident in any body of water? When is a child finished with swim lessons?

At Swim-in Zone we teach, safety and survival skills at every lesson in every level such as: wait for the grown-up; grown-up always first in the pool; grown-up must be watching– not reading, on phone or on computer; parents put on and take off lifejackets or puddle jumpers, jumping safely; safety when diving; treading water, rollover to float and breathe, what to do when you fall off the step, wall or noodle; ask a grown-up for help to go after a toy and how to help others by staying safe themselves.

The American Academy of Pediatrics definition of basic swim skills and water competency focuses not only on swim skills or strokes but also on the person’s ability to recognize and respond to dangers, get to where they need to go or float and call for help.

American Academy of Pediatrics 2019

Enter the water; Surface; Turn around; Propel oneself for at least 25 yds.;
Float or tread water then; Exit from the water
“Water competency is the ability to anticipate, avoid, and survive common drowning situations. The components of water competency include water safety awareness, basic swim skills, and the ability to recognize and respond to a swimmer in trouble.”

“Learning to swim needs to be seen as a component of water competency that also includes knowledge and awareness of local hazards/risks and of one’s own limitations, how to wear a life jacket, ability to recognize and respond to a swimmer in distress, call for help, and to perform safe rescue and CPR.”

Other organizations such aa the American Swim Coaches Association, the United States Swim School Association and The Boy Scouts of America have all de- fined what it takes to be a “safer or competent” swimmer.

So now how many of you, parents, need some swim lessons? We can fix that too!

Weeklong Accelerated Classes

(starting in green phase with reduced ratios)

Every day Monday thru Friday from 9 am-6 pm. A new week of classes starts every Monday.

Type of Class
LengthRatioFee for 5 Classes

All ages and levels


2 year old (Dippers) class

Semiprivate with partner
30min2:1350 for 2

Private No Make-ups

Non-refundable registration fee $35 for new families; $18 renewal. Same swimmer 4th, 5th summer week 20% off.



Green Phase Update

Yay, we are in green phase! We will be changing a few of our procedures with green phase:

  • Temperatures will not be taken at the door, but masks are still required.
  • We have a regular cleaning schedule that our staff will be doing. But we do have cleaning supplies available for you to clean the chairs you use, if you would like.

Is it safe to swim? 

The pool is probably the safest place you can be because of the chlorinated water and our UV Light Filtration system. Water chlorinated at 2 ppm will kill all germs and viruses, including the Coronavirus. We take sanitation one step further and have a UV Light Filter, which also kills all germs and pathogens. 

Is it safe to be at your facility? 

  • Everyone at Swim-in Zone is committed to safety; it’s a central core to our business. We are doing everything within our power to keep our facility as clean as possible.  
  • We have 3 Certified Pesticide Applicators on staff, which means Penny, Mr. Dan, and Jim are all certified to handle chemicals safely.  
  • Before you enter the building, you will be required to have your temperature checked, be given a squirt of hand sanitizer, and you must be wearing a mask.  
  • After checking in, you will be directed into our party room, where all chairs are distanced apart. We have a designated cleaner in the area who will be wiping down all chairs, changing rooms, bathrooms, as well as opening doors for you. 
  • Each instructor has his/her own door that the children will enter and exit from. Instructors will also have staggered lesson times to help keep everyone distanced.

How will everything be cleaned? 

  • We use a cleaner called Hi-Con 64, which is a hospital-grade disinfectant. 
  • We will have a designated cleaner in the party room, who will wipe down all areas, including chairs, continuously.  (changed in Green Phase)

What are the procedures for entering the facility? / How do I come in? 

  • You must be signed up for a lesson prior to entering the building. Our summer session starts on June 15th, and you can register online or call us and sign up on the phone.  
  • Everyone must wear a mask (except children under 4). 
  • Once at our location, you will be required to get a squirt of hand sanitizer, have your temperature taken (no longer required for clients – Only Staff), and sign a waiver. The waiver only needs to be signed the 1st time you enter the building post-March 2020, which includes COVID-19. 
  • You must then check-in at the Front Desk for attendance and to locate which door your child’s teacher will call your child from. 
  • Once fully checked in, you can go to the Party Room and have a seat. All seats are distanced, and we ask that you please keep your children with you at all times.  

Should my child be wearing his/her bathing suit? 

  • For children who are fully potty trained, yes. Anything to make the changing process coming into lessons as smooth as possible. 
  • For Parent/Child classes, we understand that you might not want your child to wear a swimming diaper until you get here. We have changing pads in the party room available as well as the locker rooms.  

Should my child wear a mask? 

  • Everyone over the age of 4 must wear a mask to enter the building. 
  • Once your child is invited into the water with the instructor, he/she can take the mask off. 
  • The CDC does not recommend wearing a mask in the water because it will inhibit breathing once it gets wet. 

Will the instructor be wearing a mask? 

  • Yes! The instructor will have on a clear, plastic face shield. We are calling them splash guards. 
  • If your child is too upset by this, we can choose to take the mask off. The CDC is not recommending any type of mask in the water, but we are trying to be cautious and conscientious of everyone’s needs.  

Can I use the locker rooms? 

  • We are reserving the lockers rooms for the Parent/Child classes only, and only 2 families can use it at a time. 
  • Everyone else should either wrap their children up in a towel and leave (through the exit doors), or quickly use one of our changing rooms and leave.  

Can I use the Changing Rooms? 

Yes, we have 4 doored changing rooms and 4 curtained off changing areas that you can use after your lessons. 

Can I use the Group Shower Area? 

  • Yes, as long as there are not more than 2 families using it at a time.  
  • We retain the right to close this area if we find that families are not distancing.  

Who can bring my child to lessons? Can grandparents come? 

  • We prefer only 1 caregiver to bring the child(ren) to lessons. 
  • We are okay if the grandparent is the caregiver bringing your child(ren) to lessons. We prefer only 1 caregiver. 
  • At this time, we prefer to not have extra family come to watch the lessons because of the limits we have for the number of patrons in the building You are more than welcome to take a video of the lessons and share it. Please tag us on social media too! 

What happens when the lesson is over? / How do I leave? 

  • Your child’s teacher will return your child through the door she originally came into the pool from. 
  • We would prefer a quick exit of wrapping your child up in a towel and leaving. 
  • If you need to rinse off and change, changing rooms are available. 
  • Everyone will exit through the exit door located next to the 2nd bathroom in the party room.