Summer Session is notorious for having older kids (think 6+ years old) who don’t know how to swim. Well, let me rephrase that, summer is notorious for having older kids who think they know how to swim, but really don’t. We get so many people, both young and old, who take lessons, and think that swimming is thrashing their arms and legs in the water. They think that they have to “do something”–like move their arms or kick really hard to be able to move through the water. But this is not how you swim.
Swimming is really just floating. That’s it. It’s floating with gentle movements from arm and legs that propel you forward. The best way to swim is to actually do the least amount possible. Kind of like golf.
Floating, and therefore swimming, is understanding that the water works opposite. To move forward, you need to push the water backwards, and vice versa. It is trusting that the water will hold you up (buoyancy), and working with the water to move.
And this is why floating is so important in swimming because floating IS swimming. If you can float with your face in the water and move your arms, BAM, you have a freestyle. If you can float on your back and gently kick, BAM, that’s a backstroke. It may not be Olympic quality swimming, but it will get you from point A to point B safely. This is why we spend so much time in our Level 1 and Level 2 classes on floating, because floating is the foundation of swimming, and back floating especially, is the foundation for being safe in the water.
Safety-wise, back floating is incredibly important. Every single one of my Level 2 classes does a component of back floating every class. If you can float on your back, you can breathe! This is why we focus so much on rollover breathing because back floating enables you to catch your breath, relax, fix goggles, or call for help if needed. Kids who can roll over and float on their back can swim quite a distance as well (which is what makes these younger Level 2 kids so dangerous, but that is for a different blog). If there is one safety skill that you emphasize with your kids, it is back floating.
There is also something called vertical floating, which is my favorite. Vertical floating is floating straight up and down (vertically). Vertical floating is great because it is such a flex, a power move. If you can float vertically, you can tread water, and if you can tread water, you can play water polo (the best sport ever).
So while many people may scoff at floating and think that it’s not important or it’s just for lower levels, it is actually the most important part of swimming, hands down (or no hands down, because that wouldn’t be floating, and no feet down either). Next time you’re in the pool, try just floating around and see what all you can do with such a basic skill.
So this month I had this really great idea to get a video of all of our staff saying what they were grateful for and to have a special statement from Jim and Penny. Penny, by the way, hates pictures and videos of herself, hence, the statement. And then….I started exhibiting symptoms and Swim-in Zone made the decision to shut down for the rest of the Fall session, and now I am stuck with “what am I thankful for?”
Many of you are not aware of some of the personal issues that hit me earlier in the year. I’ve been dealing with the fallout of my marriage. I’ve had to adjust my living situation and I got a roommate, then of course, Covid and quarantine and the rest of the dumpster fire of 2020. And now, I’m stuck at home, quarantining again, because I may have gotten it. It would be so, so easy for me to wallow. I mean, this year, specifically, I could beat almost anyone in a “Woe is Me” contest, lol. But, I won’t. Mostly because I have started to look for the silver linings
And yes, it is so easy for me to say to look at the silver linings and be grateful for what you have this November. It’s practically a November cliché. But this one is different. It is different because I’ve had to change my perspective on every aspect of my life, and honestly, if it wasn’t for my Swim-in Zone family (because, that’s what you guys are at this point), I’m not sure I would have gotten through this year so unscathed.
I’m so, so thankful that I was super poor in 2013 and decided to apply to SiZ. I had/have a job. Some of you know that I am a professor at Northampton Community College. But, adjuncting is hard and inconsistent. So, I applied for a job that I knew I could do since I worked at various YMCAs teaching lessons throughout high school and college. I thought, “hey, this’ll be easy and fun”…and probably short term. From here, I met all the staff that would eventually become my family. Betsy, who worked at SiZ until recently, is my de facto big sister and emergency contact. Dana, who is the office manager, and the one who responds to your general emails, is my best friend. Jim, Penny, and Sue, the owners of the business, are my parents and saviors and life guiders and sometimes pain in my butt, all rolled into one. Many companies say that they are like families, but so few actually achieve the sentiment. I am so glad that way back in 2013 I couldn’t get a summer class and needed a job. Like I said, silver lining, right.
And even though this is so fresh, I am so glad that my life turned absolutely on end this year. There’s an idea I always see floating around the interwebs and that is the concept that an arrow can only be shot forwards by pulling it back. So, the saying goes that when life drags you back, it means it will eventually launch you into something great. The first 3 months of 2020 were a personal hell for me. Jim and I had a candid conversation and he asked me what I needed. And the only thing I could think of and the only thing I could honestly do, was to keep working. I said, let me just keep working. And they did. Ooh, they certainly did. The pandemic hit in March and Sue, Jim, and Penny decided to reorganize and I got promoted to Swim School Director and working with the Marketing team and helping with communication to the Staff and training instructors and front desk reception and getting made part of the administration team and now I’m doing the blog and they totally kept me working! The silver lining is that I am actually better off now, then I was a year ago–definitely financially and most definitely personally. Life certainly did fling me forward, more than I ever thought possible.
So, as this year comes to a close and I am now stuck quarantining at home with potential symptoms of Covid and more than likely not able to join my friends and adopted family for Thanksgiving, I am reminded that there are silver linings and there are things to be grateful for and there is goodness and kindness and caring still happening in the world. If there is one thing 2020 did for us, and I mean all of us, was to give us the time (literally) to keep looking, and most importantly, to be all of these things.
We hope you and your family are doing well during this difficult time. When we reopen Swim-in Zone will look very different. We believe that learning to swim is a very important life skill for the entire family, and, in fact, swimming lessons reduce child drowning deaths by 88% according to the National Drowning Prevention Alliance. So, to help parents feel safer bringing their children to swim lessons, we have implemented new entry and cleaning procedures and policies maintaining social distancing.
Dealing with our new normal, we are planning for only private lessons, sibling groups, and small parent-child classes. We may start adding some weeklong group lessons when restrictions are less severe possibly in late summer.
Knowing how chlorine works to kill the virus makes us feel more comfortable about reopening! CDC says chlorine at 2ppm (our normal level) kills the virus, disrupting the sensitive capsule with the virus protein inside it. In addition, we also have our UV which denatures the alignment of amino acids in the protein rendering it unable to replicate. Yeah for chlorine and UV!
This is what we have decided so far:
We have been maintaining payroll. We are awaiting government funding of the Payroll Protection Program but have not yet received it. We are waiting on our government and bank loans.
The spring session has officially ended, and we are reopening with an Interim Session when permitted to do so. We are setting a moving target date of May 15 for reopening, which has moved to June 4th as on May 13, 2020.
Group classes can no longer be our model when we re-open, and so, we are immediately planning for private lessons and treat the weeks prior to the start of our summer session on June 15 as an Interim Session.
Credits were assigned to each family’s account based on the amounts paid. Thank you to those who paid in full for the spring session or school year option. You will see credits applied for all classes from March 16 -June 15.
You can use your credits to sign up immediately for the Interim Session and or the summer session. To sign-up online for the Interim Session, click the “spring” session button on the parent portal.
Your credits may be used for classes this interim session, summer, or deferred to fall, next spring, birthday parties, or for anything we sell. They have no expiration date.
School Year Option enrollment has been postponed until we can safely resume group classes.
Social distancing outside the pool
Plastic partition barriers to protect staff and clients at the front desk.
Staff will be wearing face masks for as long as required.
Limit 1 Parent/caregiver per child. Parents may sit 6’ apart in the party room or take a chair into the natatorium.
There will be an “in” door and an “out” door to the building as well as the natatorium.
No camps this summer.
No dolphin dough cards or treats. Please bring a treat for your child.
We will have hand sanitizer and disinfectant available,
The requirement of normal temperature and the use of hand sanitizer when entering the facility for staff and families.
Parents and children > 4 are encouraged to wear coverage over their mouth and nose.
Social distancing inside the pool and natatorium:
Instructors will wear face shields in the pool.
Limiting pool to 6 or 7 instructors at a time means that we will be teaching only private or semiprivate classes in which everyone is living in the same house (siblings only).
Parent-child classes will be limited to 3 children.
In all classes, parents are invited to get into the pool if they wish, for hands-on with their own children. An added benefit to this is that the parent understands what is going on in the class and will learn the skills to teach and how to teach them. However, only parents in the parent/child classes are required to get into the pool.
We may be into warmer weather by the time we re-open, and it will be OK for your child to come wearing their bathing suit and leave in their bathing suit employing an optional “Wrap and Go” policy. Please shower at home.
Toys will be limited to those we can constantly and completely dunk in the pool. Feel free to bring your own toys.
Make-up classes: Temporary change in our usual make-up policy.
There will be an additional charge of $10/lesson until the necessity of only private and semiprivate classes no longer exists.
For all classes including parent/child, we will schedule special make-up days/times for the make-up lessons. Call or sign-up on-line for make-ups. Your usual teacher will probably not be teaching your private make-up.
These are temporary changes to our usual policy until we can resume free group make-ups.
We hope that the above information helps to ease some of your fears about returning to our business.
FYI: Wish Swim-in Zone a Happy Birthday on May 24. We opened 16 years ago!
Thank you for your support! We sincerely appreciate it.
Wonderful Spring! Swim-in Zone is in the midst of a busy season.
Sign-ups are on-going.
Spring is usually lively because parents want to give their
children a head start on summer. Typically, children lose
some of their swimming ability during the off months, but
they gain maturity and coordination. The recommendation is
that to regain those lost swimming skills, 1-2 lessons are
usually required for every month off and out of the pool.
Spring lessons end June 16. Summer lessons start June 17.
Our Theme: “For a Safer Summer”
We include safety skills practice into all levels. We designate a SAFETY
Week during each session. The teachers focus an additional 5-10 minutes on
the safety skills listed on the child’s level sheet, as well as the proper use of life-
jackets, rescue equipment and techniques. Did you know that a person in trouble
in the water rarely kicks, and cannot call out for help?
What Safety Skills Do We Teach at Swim-in Zone?
Rollover to breathe
Fall of steps? Turn & go back
Fall off the noodle? Go to your
back, float and call for help
Use the bottom to push up to
get a breath (safety jumps)
4 ways to get to safety after
Ask a grown-up to help get the
toy –don’t get it yourself
Wait for the grown-up. Kids
go in the pool last & out first.
Mom/Dad put your lifejacket
on & take it off, so Mom/Dad
KNOW it is off.
Rules for safe jumping & div-
ing. What is the depth?
Information about rip currents
Jumping in without goggles
Learn how to help by throwing
something that floats.
Spinal injury prevention
Water Safety Challenge– an optional event
We know that MOST drowning incidents do NOT happen when a child is wearing a
swimsuit and goggles. Children should be prepared to handle an unexpected situation, so
Swim-in Zone is offering a time to float test your kids wearing their clothing.
Water Safety Challenge in CLOTHING– what the kids need to do
Children will be asked to pretend to fall into the pool fully clothed, float on their back and call for help.
Children will be asked to pretend to fall into the pool fully clothed and get back to the side of the pool unassisted.
Children will be asked to tread water wearing their clothes.
Sign-up for our Water Safety Challenge: Kids come fully clothed and pretend fall into the pool and save themselves by floating on their back, calling for help and getting back to the side. $10 per 15 minute challenge. Call the front desk to schedule.
Easter Egg Hunt
for current spring swimmers is April 20 at 3:30pm. Adults MUST be in the water with their children ages 5 and under. Stay in the water and swim until 5pm. $7.50/child or $20 for the family. Limit 100 pre-registered children. Sign ups start March 20.
Fun Swim Meet
Friday, May 3 6:45-9:00pm. All ages 100 swimmers
What fun! Younger swimmers will swim across the pool and older swimmers will swim lengths. We have an event for all ages. Every swimmer gets a ribbon. No charge for swimmers in our spring session. Pre-registration required. Forms available at the Front Desk.
Records Broken at our
Latest swim meets.
Liam Rummer (13) 50 IM 48.47
Michael Timm (10) 50 IM 48.75; 50yd. butterfly 56.47
Ryan Grieg (6) 30 ft. freestyle 10.16
Christopher Oliveira (14) 25 yd. free 16.56
Emily Korniyasov (12) 25 yd. butterfly 23.28
Reilly Jankowski (3) 30 ft. freestyle 31.72
Patrick Roberts (5) 30 ft. butterfly 11.87
Jason Deppner (7) 30 ft. freestyle 9.59
Karsten Immerzeel (10) 50 yd. freestyle 38.22
Valia Tsirakis (11) 50yd IM 42.18
Maja Romero (13) 25 yd. freestyle 17.84; 25yd.
Layla Nelson (5) 30 ft. freestyle 7.81; 30 ft. backstroke 9.97; 25 yd. backstroke 31.18
Brianna Carvalho (12) 100yd IM 1:02.25; 50 yd. breaststroke 43.03
FYI: Breath Control:
Swimmers should exhale underwater through their nose and mouth then inhale quickly- not hold their breath. Swimming is exercise. Rhythmic breathing is calming to the body and keeps the swimmer in control. Do not buy a face mask with the nose enclosed for the kids– they will never learn to keep water out of their nose, severely limiting their ability to swim.
Check out our parent portal on our website! User name is the email address we have. Make your own password. Sign-up for make-ups and to make a payment! Sign up for classes online. Call if you have trouble accessing the parent portal.
Make-ups Must be completed by the end of the session!
Group: Group make-ups are offered throughout the session. All make-ups are 30 min. with a ratio of 4:1. Sign-ups on par- ent portal 10 days ahead. Our website and App have the full schedule.
Parent/Child: Make-up a par- ent/child class by coming to another class. Dippers classes are made-up by attending a parent/child class. No pre-sign- ups are necessary for either.
Swim Team, Gold and Purple: Swim team practices are made-up by coming to another practice. Gold & purple level swimmers may attend a pre- scheduled make-up day or come to a swim team practice.
About Lifejackets for Kids
US Coast Guard approves lifejackets, or PFD’s (Personal Flotation Devices).
Pennsylvania law requires children <12years and all non-swimmers to wear a
USCG approved device when boating. The different types for children are:
Type II PFD is for anyone of any weight (infant to adult). It is designed to float the wearer on their back and may turn an unconscious person face-up.
The jacket-type or Type III PFD is designed to float the wearer. It may float the wearer face down or on their back. It will NOT turn an unconscious person face-up. Children must be over 30 lbs. and able to kick upright, or they will fall face forward.
Type V (Special-use device)– aka “puddle jumper” is for children 30-50lbs. The ones with the shoulder straps prevent the children from pulling the puddle jumper off their arms, sliding it down over their hips and taking it off themselves.
Devices without a USCG approval number carry the disclaimer “only to be used in water in which the wearer is within it’s depth”. When you purchase a flotation device for your child please check the manufacturer’s information.
When can my child
Treading water is complicated.
a supportive kick that pushes the water down.
sculling hand motion to push the water down.
A child’s head weighs 6-10
lbs.- a lot of weight to push up.
Putting the head back, allows
the person to breathe and float.
Weak & non-swimmers
of any AGE CANNOT
tread water at all– no sup-
Children who can swim
and are fairly comfortable in
Age 3 about 2-3 seconds
Age 4 about 4-7 seconds.
Age 5 about 10-12 seconds
4 different programs available this summer
3-hour Week-long Morning Camp for 5 days Includes: lesson + fun swim + activity/craft
Accelerated Weeklong Classes (five 45 min. group lessons): Offered Mon-Fri 9a-3pm for the entire summer, or in the evening during selected weeks.