Choosing The Right Swim School


Teacher in pool explaining next exercise to children swimmers sat on the side of swimming pool.

Swim School lesson with Aquatots Swimming Ltd

All Aquatots teachers come to us with an existing ASA (Amateur Swimming Association) or STA (Swimming Teacher Association) level 2 qualification. This means they have all undergone the relevant training in a nationally recognised framework to ensure that before they even begin their hundred hours of Aquatots training they are able to deliver lessons to a high and consistent level. (This qualification has been designed by both the ASA and the STA to train would be swimming Teachers to teach children from the ages of 3 upwards.)  This is true of all professional swimming teachers so what happens when your Swim School or teacher are not able to meet your expectations?

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Summer Water Safety

Life savings 2

At Aquatots we pride ourselves in not only teaching babies and children how to swim but also giving them the skills to save their own lives (and during our higher levels the skills to save others!).  Having these skills does reduce the risk of serious water related incidents BUT accidents happen especially to young children and we ask that you NEVER become complacent about the dangers, teach your children to respect water and always supervise them when they are around water.

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Why Aquatots gives ‘Something for Nothing!’

Boy and Girl logo

‘Freebies’….a word that can make people very suspicious – can you really get Something for Nothing?  At Aquatots we have a core belief – ‘If YOU are happy then we are happy’!  This is why FOUR times a year we offer completely FREE, no strings attached Baby Swimming Taster Sessions.  They are not a gimmick or a stunt to trap you, there is not a sales person hiding in the changing rooms to encourage you to sign up to a full course or a hidden cost of the Taster Session if you decide not to start your baby swimming with Aquatots.  They are simply our way of giving you and your baby the opportunity to experience what we can do and more importantly allowing you to decide if you like it.

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Aquatots Swimmers reaching their full swimming potential

Your baby starts their journey with Aquatots somewhere between 8 weeks and 18 months old and they begin at our Duckling level.  We want you and your child to really enjoy your weekly lesson.  We strive to make each session varied, interesting yet informative and most importantly productive!  During the first term with us we are going to be teaching you and your baby 28 exercises – this is why our courses are not a “drop in”.  We need the structure of the course especially in this important Duckling level, to teach your child the abilities they will need to continue on to learn the skills to save their own life and then later in swimming widths and then lengths of the pool.  By the end of the  Duckling course your baby will have done at least 5 submersions in one lesson. They will be using their instincts and Mammalian Dive Reflex under the water to build confidence levels and learning new skills above water that will help them with exercises in later levels as well as out of the water i.e ‘holding on’.  The Duckling level is such an important starter point and we do encourage the same person to take baby swimming throughout this course as it is as much about the parent/guardian learning as the child!

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Swimming with Special Needs

Lynn is an Aquatots Mum, she has been bringing her 10 month old daughter Libby to lessons for five months and is progressing up the levels as expected but Lynn is no ordinary Mum, she is registered disabled.  Lynn has a mixture of orthopaedic conditions, the main conditions are bilateral acetabular and femoral dysplasia which means her hip sockets and femurs didn’t develop properly as she was growing. She also have scoliosis which is a curvature of the spine and some disk degeneration.

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Aquatot to Aqua’champ

Aquatots Swimming Ltd is the new sponsor of record breaking swimmer Tazmin Pugh, ranked 1st in the Europe in the 200m fly (short course).
When Dad Ian began Aquatot baby swimming classes with daughter Tazmin aged at 6 months he never imagined the lengths she would swim to get to the promising position she is in now.  Aquatots Managing Director and teacher Fiona Munt-Whittle recognised the raw talent of Tazmin even from such a young age and supportive Ian took Fiona’s advice and regularly visitied the pool with Tazmin outside of lessons to encourage her enthusiam for swimming.
At 15 Tazmin is travelling the world competing for England, her recent trip to the Commonweath Youth Games in Somoa saw her win 6 medals out of 8 events and help Team England come second with an overall 25 medals (Tazmin bringing home the most individual medals!).
The lastest exciting news is that Tazmin has been offered a place by British Swimming on the World Class programme ‘Podium Potential’, this small group compises of athletes whose performances indicate they have realistic capabilities for making the Olympic Team in 2016 and medal potential at those Games or in 2020, she is also due to represent Team GB in Canada this December!
Pershore raised Tazmin joined her first swim team at 5 and is now on a sponsorship at Ellesmere College regularly competing for her school team the ‘Titans’  – In fact she represented the West Midlands at the English Schools Swimming Inter-Divisional Championships (short-course) in Leeds on 3rd / 4th October where she gained her ‘1st in Europe’ title.
It does not stop there though, Tazmin’s older sister Brittany now takes her 2 year old son Ted swimming at our Tewkesbury Park Hotel venue.  With Auntie Tazmin as a role model and swimming talent running in the family – who knows where Ted will be in a few years time – WATCH THIS SPACE!

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Showering before swimming – the reasons why!

shower sign

Showering before jumping into water sounds a bit of a contradiction doesn’t it yet here at Aquatots we request you do it before every lesson.

In the UK 70% of swimmers admit to not showering before entering the pool – that sign in the changing area is not just a suggestion it is an essential part of ensuring you, your child and the pool is protected!

There are lots of reasons why we actively encourage you to take a shower before swimming, some are common sense but some reasons you may not expect – carry on reading and see why it’s so important:


Common Courtesy:

Its only polite to clean yourself before jumping into someone else’s pool, it’s the most considerate thing you can do!

Looking after the pool:

The more contaminated the pool becomes the harder it has to work to ensure its clean. Pumps and filters have to remove contaminates so it makes sense that the more there are in the pool the harder their job is.  Swimming pools are regularly checked and additional chlorine is added if required. Chlorine doesn’t come cheap and if everybody showered before swimming it would decrease the cost of pool chemicals by a third.

Removing contaminates:

The above are secondary to the main issue.  Before you shower your body (and that of your child)  will have substances such as sweat, soap, perfume, shampoo, deodorant, urine and even feces…..yes POO!  Chlorine is added to pool water to kill communicable pathogens (particularly bacterial or parasitic), but it doesn’t kill everything. Cryptosporidium (a germ that causes diarrhoea that is found in infected people’s stools and cannot be seen by the naked eye) can live for days in chlorine.

Imagine this, every swimmer that gets in the pool in one day contaminates it with a little urine and feces – the amounts will quickly add up and the result is that you and your child are swimming in a concoction of bodily fluids, now can you understand why we insist on ‘double bagging’ and showering!

So please take the time to properly shower before your lesson, not just a quick run through but a good wash to remove all those ‘yucky’ contaminates.


Thanks for reading and if you’ve found this post informative please add a comment.

Fiona Munt-Whittle




Dispelling the Myths of dry and secondary drowning.

Photo 1

We have recently seen some stories regarding dry or secondary drowning on social media sites that understandably may make you hesitant about taking your baby swimming if you do not know all the facts so here we are setting the record straight.

There are three types of drowning. Dry, Wet and Secondary.

Many people if not all have experienced “something going down the wrong way”, during drinking. When this happens the person coughs and splutter then still feeling a tickle in their throat they have a drink of water or two until the discomfort has gone. In the throat we have the food pipe (oesophagus) and the wind pipe (trachea) in between is a flap (epiglottis). This flap closes when we swallow to protect water entering the lungs.

Dry drowning.

If a person gets into difficulty in the water, they may have some water go down the throat. The flap or epiglottis as described above will snap shut in a conscious person, protecting the lungs from large amounts of water, however as it shuts it may catch a small amount of water. This normally doesn’t have much effect as our lungs need to be moist to work, this is why in cold weather we can see our breath (water vapour). Breathing in water can cause vocal chords to spasm and close up, this shuts off his airways, making it hard to breathe – symptoms of dry drowning generally happen immediately after the incident.

Secondary drowning.

If the small amount of water is dirty e.g. From a lake or river rather than a swimming pool where the water is treated and filtered continuously. This can cause a chest infection (pneumonia) up to 72 hours after the incident, if in doubt always seek medical attention at an A & E department.

Wet drowning

This occurs when the casualty becomes unconscious and the flap (epiglottis) relaxes and the lungs fill with water. Only resuscitation can assist in this case.

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To summarise:-

The body has protective measures in place to prevent water entering the lungs, if a small amount of clean water does enter the lungs this will have little effect as the lungs need to be moist to work. If the water is dirty this may cause an infection however this is rare. If any signs of breathing difficulties are displayed up to 72 hours (3 days) after an incident in water then urgent medical attention must be sought.

Symptoms to look for:

Dry drowning and secondary drowning have the same symptoms. They include:

  • Coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Feeling extremely tired
  • Sudden changes in behaviour

In most cases symptoms will improve by themselves but it is worth getting checked out if you are concerned as the symptoms can be treated easily with oxygen or ventilation in a hospital.

We hope this helps to reassure you that although dry and secondary drowning DOES exist (although these are not official terms) it is a very rare phenomenon and only accounts for around 1% of all drowning cases.

Our pools are regularly filtered and checked which removes the risk of secondary drowning and all our teachers are first aid trained (lifeguards) but have never (and never expect to) treat a case of dry drowning.

Thank you to George Tarte of Aquatic Rescue Training for the in-depth and reassuring information and thanks to you for reading, please feel free to comment if you have found this post useful.

Fiona Munt-Whittle

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Excuses, excuses


Do any of these sound familiar?

  • My tummy just isn’t the same since giving birth.
  • I have cellulite
  • I just need to go to the gym for a few months first
  • I don’t want to get my hair wet

Throughout my life as a Mother and Swimming Instructor I’ve heard these reasons and many more countless times, they are the excuses used to not to get into a swimming pool.  I’ve heard Mum’s say them with real pained expressions on their faces, they really, really don’t want to strip off down to a swimming costume and walk through the pool area half naked!

I understand, I really do – I’ve had four children and I’m not 18 anymore but yet nearly every day I’m donning one of my swimming costumes, introducing myself to people on poolside and getting in and out of the pool in front of the lifeguards and other swimmers!  I may have an advantage, I have a history with water – I’ve been swimming since I was young and I’ve never stopped so I suppose I’m not fazed by the whole experience but that’s not the reason why I get in the water.  I get in because I want to teach babies how to swim, I want those babies to grow up confident in water and have those all-important life-saving skills, I want to see them progress, to dive to the bottom of the pool, to swim widths then lengths, to roll about, to blow bubbles in the water, to do handstands and then to get out at the end and confidently walk back to the changing rooms.

Now we all know the benefits of getting babies into the swimming pool as young as possible, you are literally exchanging one watery environment for another – babies love it!  You are helping your child to boost their intelligence, to strengthen their muscles and to socialise with others.

But let’s say you’re past that stage, your child(ren) already love going swimming and pester you to take them to the local pool at every opportunity, you really want to take them but can’t face putting your cellulite or love handles on show so you sit by the side whilst they splash about in the shallows complaining to the Mum’s around you “I’ll get in once I’ve got rid of this extra weight” or “once I find a swimsuit that covers all my body I’ll be happy to get in” – you may notice your child(ren) go quiet and absorb what you are saying – this is what they hear “I can only have fun if I’m physically perfect”.

above water

It may sound severe but that is literally what you are saying, you can only wear a swimming costume if you look flawless!  In this day and age of media pressure, expecting everyone to want to look like a super model it is not surprising that’s how you feel but is that also how you want your child(ren) to feel?  They look to you to be the example so I say now is the time to shrug off those expectations, show your children that you can have fun whatever you look like and throw on your swimming cossie and get in that water!

Thanks for reading

Fiona Munt-Whittle