Learn to Swim Campaign: My interview with Becky Adlington

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Learn to Swim Campaign: My interview with Becky Adlington

Becky Adlington


Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington is the Speedo Learn to Swim Ambassador and today I was lucky enough to have a quick chat to her about the campaign and ask her some questions and tips about learning to swim. The campaign is a way of engaging parents by offering advice and tips on swimming with children. Speedo offer a range of products designed to make the swimming pool lots of fun for children so they are able to learn the valuable life saving skill without even realising.

Long time readers of my blog will know that when I grew up, Sundays were spent swimming with my Dad. It created fantastic childhood memories and when I had big man, I signed him up for baby swimming classes immediately. The research that Speedo have carried out shows that nearly a quarter of British children feel embarrassed about being unable to swim and 81% of children would like to go more often. Infact their research also found that 36% of kids would prefer to get a new badge at swimming rather than ride a bike without stabilisers (26%)

When it came to questions to ask Becky I thought I would see if any of my facebook fans had any good ones and they certainly did! 

Tips for children going underwater

Big man loves going underwater, but many children dislike this, so I asked Becky for advice. She advised that practice was the key to gaining confidence. Children feel safer with their parents, so she would encourage going at the weekend as a family and using some of the fun underwater toys and sinkers available.



What are your views on arm bands?

@brinabirdandson was keen to know Becky's views on using armbands to swim. I was also keen to know this as the swim schools we have used in the past have not encouraged them. Rebecca said that it is really dependent on the child and on the swim school. She advised that there are many f aids avialiable now and chest floats and vests can be used allowing more movements than traditional blow up arm bands.



What key skills do you think a child should learn before they stop having formal lessons?

Although I am keen that my children learn to swim, it is unlikely that they will be Olympic athletes so wanted to know what Becky thought was the minimum a child should achieve before stopping formal swimming lessons. At a minimum she felt that children should reach stage 8 which means that they are able to swim 25m with no help or aids in the four strokes. Of course, you can join swimming clubs after this.

Tips for a child with Aspergers

Becky advised that swimming is a fantastic sport for children with disabilities whether they are physical or learning. Finding the right club is key, but she advised that there are many available and to enquire and visit a couple of clubs. In particular cases it may be necessary to look at private lessons depending on where in the UK you live.

Did you ever wear a nose clip?

KittyMadeMe wanted to know if Becky had ever used a nose clip, as she can't do a tumble turn without one. The answer was no. She advised that it is usually people that do backstroke that would use these and that although it feels funny when you first do them, you just get used to it.

Cross training recommendations for a 13 year old competitive swimmer

@liveotherwise had a great question for Becky. Her 13 year old swims competitively and she wanted to know of any cross training she would recommend. Rebecca said playing a variety of sports was useful, for example she played netball and ran. She advised not to do anything weight related as it could damage muscles, and advised that the Thera-Bands were also helpful.

Random question from my 5 year old

I explained to big man that I was going to talk to a really good olympic swimmer and asked if he had any questions. He wanted to know if the double gold olympic swimmer could swim 35m and whether she had ever swam across a river. I said I was pretty sure that she could do the 35m but I would ask her about the river. He was very excited when I picked him up after school and I must say he was somewhat disappointed that the answer to her swimming across a river was a no. I am now wondering if this is why big man is learning to swim, and what river he has in mind!

For more information on the campaign visit the Speedo website here.


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17 comments:

The Beesley Buzz said...

fantastic interview and great questions! It is so funny what kids come up with - love the river thing! We had a funny swimming lesson today where J decided to tread water for 20 minutes as he was trying to beat the record. Turns out the world record is 82 hours so he still has a long way to go! xxx

sabrina montagnoli said...

Thanks for asking about the armbands! My wee man is doing really well with the support of them and I trust one day he will be happy to take them off. Admittedly it has given him more confidence in the water and he is not hanging on to me all the time now.

Suzanne Whitton said...

Very interesting interview, particularly the question about when children should give up formal lessons. My last one stopped last year when he received his 100m badge, meaning he can adequately swim all 4 strokes - 25 metres of each. Have the stages changed recently, there was never a stage 8 last year!

Louise Fairweather said...

She didn't see a problem in using them at all. You never see a grown up in armbands do you so I think he will be fine xx

Louise Fairweather said...

Gosh why would you want to tread water for hrs!?!

Louise Fairweather said...

You know me - I wanted to know as I want to stop lessons when they are good enough. When I looked up stage 8 it said this: 1. Complete a set lasting 400m (e.g.16 x 25m) on a specific turn around time set by the coach (e.g. 1min for each 25m)
2. Swim 400m continuously using one stroke
3. Kick 25m backstroke with/without using a board
4. Kick 25m breaststroke with/without using a board
5. Kick 25m butterfly without using a board
6. Kick 25m front crawl with/without using a board
7. Perform a backstroke turn from 10m in to 15m out
8. Perform a breaststroke turn from 10m in to 15m out
9. Perform a butterfly turn from 10m in to 15m out
10. Perform a front crawl turn from 10m in to 15m out

And there is a stage 9 - have no idea if they are new or not x

Jo Laybourn said...

What a great post and so helpful too! My eldest had lessons from 2-4yrs and can swim 10m but stopped lessons when he started school. We only take him at wknd now but really do need to get him into lessons again. Our youngest is 2.5 and must have lessons soon! Thanks for the tips :)

Mary @ Over 40 and a Mum to One said...

Great post, sadly I couldn't make the telephone interviews.

Mary @ Over 40 and a Mum to One said...

Great post, sadly I couldn't make the telephone interviews.

Older Mum said...

Great post.... and very informative.... I am about to start finding swimming lessons for Little A - learning to swim is one of life's most important physical skills I reckon!

SarahMummy said...

This is a fab post. How exciting to speak to her - I'm not even going to tell my kids as they will be jealous and wonder why I didn't speak to her.
Our pool only offers up to stage 7. My boys did the course, but didn't pass it. My daughter starts stage 7 next week! :)

Tas D said...

I love the tip about getting toys from in the water - Z hates getting water on his hair of face so we're trying this at the moment.

Jaime Oliver said...

great interview with an amazing lady in fact she is from my area :-) xx

Helpful Mum said...

Fantastic interview. My son is still in stage one of swimming lessons but he really loves them.

Louise Fairweather said...

lessons are expensive and time consuming too aren't they x

Louise Fairweather said...

I cant normally make events so I was quite pleased with this x

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