Surrounded by water, it's little surprise that swimming is one of the most popular pastimes in Australia, as well as one of our top sports — certainly in the Olympics.
Since the 1900 Paris Olympics, Australia has fielded a swimming team in every Summer Olympics (after only sending Edwin Flack, a runner, to the 1896 Athens games), and our swimmers have won a total of 70 gold medals — 49 more than the second-ranked sport of athletics.
Frederic Lane was the first Australian to represent the country (1900 Paris Olympics), winning two gold medals — not bad for a Sydney lad who nearly drowned in Sydney Harbour when he was 4 years old. Fanny Durack and Wilhelmina ‘Mina’ Wylie represented Australia in the 1912 Olympics — the first year women were allowed to participate — winning gold and silver respectively in the 100 metres freestyle.
Speaking of freestyle — this stroke, originally known as the 'Australian crawl', is claimed to have originated in Australia in the early 1900s — developed by Arthur Cavill, with his brother, Richard, becoming the first to use it in competition when he won the State Championships 100 yards race in 1899.
Naturally, competitive swimmers need to spend a lot of time in the pool, training, perfecting their stroke and finetuning their technique. But, what if you just love spending time in the water — whether at the beach, in the pool or lazy days paddling in the river?
Surely we don't all need to be perfect swimmers for that — right?
Why Should I Learn How to Swim?
Amongst adults in Australia, surveys report that around 5 per cent can not swim at all and over 50 per cent would be unable to save themself or other swimmers if they were to get into difficulty.
Is this you?
These are scary figures — and the numbers are probably higher because of the embarrassment factor making people reluctant to own up to their lack of skills.
Even scarier are the drowning rates:
- over 70 per cent of all recorded drownings are male
- the average age of drowning victims is 43
- the highest percentage of drownings occurred in the 25-34 age group
- over 50 per cent of drowning deaths occurred while the victims were participating in a recreational activity.
These reasons are not here to scare you, but to make you aware of the importance of learning to swim, and ensuring your children learn how to swim — at least enough so they are confident and safe in the water, and know how to get out of trouble in an emergency.
Swimming classes for kids are a lot more comprehensive, and a lot more effective these days than they were when I was a child — and are stringently regulated. And, if you're an adult, there is no stigma about the fact you're heading to your local pool every week for a swimming class.
So, where do you find the best swim school for you? You could certainly try Googling 'swimming lessons near me' or 'swimming classes near me' — but if you're in one of our capital cities, take a look below to get some starting tips on some of the best lessons available throughout Australia.
Swim Schools in Adelaide
With beautiful beaches and a host of scenic water recreation spots, you don't want to miss the water fun in Adelaide because you can't swim.
The Adelaide Aquatic Centre and State Swim both get the 'two thumbs up' from the Adelaide Mum's Group when it comes to swimming classes for kids of every age group.
The YMCA is also a great bet for kids and is NDIS approved.
When it comes to adults, you can't go past the State Aquatic Centre for top lessons for every level. For adults who have a fear of water, we recommend you try private, one-on-one lessons with a swimming teacher you feel comfortable with, either in a public pool or at your own home.
Find more swimming lessons near me in Adelaide here.
Swimming Classes Near Me in Brisbane
Host of the 1982 Commonwealth Games, Brisbane and the nearby Gold Coast (host of the 2018 Commonwealth Games) are near-paradise locations for swimmers, young and old. And, to top it off, Brisbane was recently announced as the host for the 2032 Olympic Games — not least of which will necessitate building a brand new aquatic sports centre.
Given the climate, and the proximity to seemingly endless water sports locations — surfing, diving, kayaking, snorkelling, boating — it's little wonder that swimming classes and training programs are high on the list of priorities in the Queensland capital.
Try out Kingswim or Superfish Swim School for great small group programs for babies, kids and adults alike. Or if you prefer private one-on-one lessons, you might want to check out Karryn's Water Safety or one of the many other mobile swim teachers.
Most public pool 'learn to swim' courses can also arrange private teachers upon request — handy for those of us who don't have the luxury of a backyard pool.
You're not short of options when it comes to swim programs in Brisbane.
Swimming Classes for Kids in Canberra
The nation's capital might be landlocked, but there are still plenty of options for keen swimmers — an abundance of public pools (many of which are indoor) and safe swimming areas in the lakes and rivers — and the South Coast with its beautiful beaches is only a 2-hour drive away. (During school and public holidays, you could mistake coastal locations like Batemans Bay for being an outer Canberra suburb!)
There are a number of public and private swim school options in Canberra. Try Aquatots for babies and young children. Learn to swim where the Olympic athletes train at the Australian Institute of Sport. Or try out the intensive swim school holiday and weekend programs in summer at Big Splash Water Park.
All swimmers, every age and level, are catered for in Canberra swim school classes.
Melbourne Swim School Recommendations
Melbourne is the site of Australia's best-ever performance in Olympic Swimming — the 1956 Melbourne games — and has continued to produce a swathe of high-performance swimmers and other athletes since.
No different from any other Australian state capital, Melbourne has a strong focus on learn to swim classes for every age and level. Babies and toddlers are well-catered for at places like the Melbourne Sports Centre, and older children do particularly well at Aquastar Swim School.
Adults are not left out with the Melbourne H2O Swimming Club being exclusively for swimmers over the age of 18 and they cater for every level from the complete beginner to elite swimmers.
Learn to swim in Melbourne with private and small group programs for everybody.
Learning to Swim in Perth
Perth has to be credited for leading the way when it comes to truly catering for ALL swimmers. The Western Australia state capital has, for many years, placed a strong emphasis on the creation of lifelong swimmers with a focus on safety, and most swim school institutions offer specialised programs for people with diverse needs and abilities, including physical disabilities and autism.
The beaches in Perth are simply gorgeous and further up the coast you will find some of the best snorkelling and diving locations in Australia — why would you want to miss out on this just because you can't swim or you're not a strong enough swimmer with the skills to ensure your safety?
For a 'one stop shop' experience, you can't go past the Beatty Park Leisure Centre, where you'll find high-quality swimming classes for kids, babies and adults, with every level catered for and a world-class private program for students with diverse needs.
Kirby Swim is another of Perth's best swim school locations, with its unique philosophy inspired by Olympic champion, Bill Kirby.
If you're after the best private or small group program, check out swimming lessons in Perth or search for swimming classes near me if you live elsewhere in Western Australia.
Find good swimming lessons near me here on Superprof.
Sydney Learn to Swim Courses
Host of the 2000 Olympic Games, Sydney has a long tradition of producing elite swimmers and first-time champions, including Clare Dennis, Bonnie Mealing and John Davies who were the first Australian swimmers to win gold in strokes other than freestyle.
Like all other state capitals, Sydney is blessed with beautiful beaches and outdoor recreation locations near water — so to take full advantage of these, with safety your first priority, knowing how to swim is essential.
If you want to experience the pool where Olympians won gold in 2000, the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre is the place to go. They have lessons for every age and level, starting with babies of 3 months. Other great locations to learn to swim include Fun Fitness Swim School and the Mermaid Swim Academy.
Check out all your options for Sydney swimming lessons near me here.
Don't wait until it's too late — learn to swim, strengthen your technique or improve your swimming fitness today!
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