Chapter Nine-C--Front Crawl, Indiv.
The Home Pool


Treading Water and Other Safety Measures~Instructor
(Also Individual)

At this point in the lessons, the Instructor brings pupils to the pool's deep end so they may learn how to tread water. Until now, most instruction has been focused on coming to terms with aquaphobia and learning proper swim strokes--all in water about waist high.

The idea of swimming in water over one's head is seldom if ever brought up because it's an added stress for those who are already apprehensive about even being in a swim pool.

Such words as, "oh, no" and "Ooh!" are heard whenever instructors mention swimming in deep water. For this reason, it's best not to have anyone swim at the deep end until having been taught and mastered treading water and at least one of the back floats or swim strokes. Water-Shy pupils may still be subconsciously fearful of swimming in deep water and could become panicked while in it after only a few strokes.

The best way to take pupils into deep water for the first time is to line them up lengthwise against the pool side at the shallow end and have them SLOWLY slide hand to hand toward the deep while holding onto the pool wall or trough. The instructor ABSOLUTELY MUST alternately swim and tread water alongside them at ALL TIMES, staying vigilant and attentive to signs of panic. By now, however, most pupils will be much braver and have fewer qualms about heading toward the deep end.

For the Individual swimmer this method is similar, however, Individuals ABSOLUTELY MUST be accompanied by a registered swimming instructor, a lifeguard or an expert swimmer. This is a precaution against possible sudden or unexpected panic reactions. See iIlustrations and progressions for Individuals in Chapter Ten-A

Progressions for Treading Water~Instructor

1--Class stands on deck as you explain why treading water is important. (For instance, it keeps you afloat in deep water and won't tire you as quickly as most swim strokes; breathing is easier, etc...)

2--While on deck, demonstrate the back and forth hand movement.

3--Have class practice the hand movement. Critique until all are correct.

4--Class enters WAIST deep water and practices hand movement with hands under water. Critique.

5--Explain how class will move to deep end by lining up against side of pool. Pupils will move toward deep end by grabbing ahold of gutter trough or pool side and sliding hands toward deep end. Caution that NO ONE is to release both hands at once from grasping side. Explain you will be treading and swimming alongside them as they move. Assure them that you will be ready to help immediately if anyone has a problem or becomes panicky. Say that anyone who is unsure may remain at the shallow end. DO NOT FORCE ANYONE TO MOVE INTO DEEP WATER! They will be willing when they feel ready.

6--Have class move slowly toward deep end. Their backs will be partially facing you.

7--When class is in deep water, ask this question: "What do you think will happen if you should let loose of the side?" They will probably say that they will sink. Explain why they would not sink--that if they are completely relaxed, the most they'd sink would only be a foot or two under water, and if they moved their hands back and forth as they had practiced on deck and at the shallow end, they would easily keep their heads above water.

8--Tell them to watch as you demonstrate. Show you are not sinking to the bottom even when not moving any part of your body. Let them see how far under water you sink. Demonstrate at least 3 X.

9--Next, tell class to watch as you gently move your hands back and forth in front of you under water as practiced on deck and at shallow end. Demonstrate at least 3 X showing that your head easily stays well above water.

10--Explain how relaxed muscles cause muscle cells to be farther apart giving the body a lower Specific Gravity so it more easily floats. Explain that when muscles are tight, Specific Gravity increases and muscles become similar to rocks so the body will more easily sink .Demonstrate 3 X.

11--Have class take several deep, relaxing breaths. Explain you will be next to each pupil individually as each one removes hands from side and relaxes. Say that you will:

A~One at a time, have each pupil remove both hands from side and you lift up their elbow to guide them back to the wall.
B--This time pupils will again release both hands and totally relax without moving while you count to three, THEN you elbow-guide each one back to side. Do the above "hands on" guidance with each pupil until all are comfortable with it and realize that they will not sink to the bottom.

NOTE: Watch closely for panic or fear reactions. If anyone feels nervous about this step have the person hold onto the side and simply watch. Say that the pupil may try it later.

12--Demonstrate the hand movement as class watches holding onto side. Illustrations on next page.

13-Go down line again with each pupil individually. Have pupil release hands from side, relax, then SLOWLY perform hand movement back and forth in front of body with head above water. Count to five, then elbow-guide pupil back to side. Caution and make sure the rest of class HOLDS ONTO THE SIDE WITH BOTH HANDS while you are helping one person at a time.

14-Next, explain the leg treading motion while class is holding onto the side. I'ts best described as riding a bicycle. Demonstrate in front of class several X.

15-Again, go down the line working with each pupil individually as rest of class watches holding onto side. Have first pupil release both hands, take deep breath, relax, perform the hand movement, and then tread water with legs. Go down the line with each person. Every pupil should be able to perform the complete hand and leg task to count of ten.

16-Have two or three pupils at a time practice the complete task. Be ready to help those who move too far away from the side. Critique.

17-Have those who have mastered water treading swim toward you about eight feet from the side, stop, tread water to count of ten, turn and then swim back to side. Pupils practice several times or until mastered.

NOTE: From now on those who have learned water treading and have little or no qualms about being in deep water should routinely be allowed to practice treading in deep water for a few minutes during each class. They must, however, ALWAYS be watched by you or a lifeguard.



1--The major problem in treading water is that pupils may have a tendency to float on their backs as they tread. this is caused from bending the head backward instead of leaning forward. It's an instinctive reaction as they try to keep their noses above water. Have those with this problem lean forward while treading and to bend down their heads. As mentioned before, the body follows the head.

2--A less frequent mistake is bringing the body into a fetal position while treading. It looks like the person is sitting down in the water. This may also cause the body to lie back because the thighs are up where the arms should be. In order to make room for moving the arms, pupils will lean backward. Have these pupils straighten their legs and body by performing smaller leg rotations.


Chapter Ten-A Individual: Treading/Illustrations
The Home Pool
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