Chapter Ten~A~Treading, Indiv.
The Home Pool


Safety For Swim Areas and The Elementary Backstroke

Most communities have strict regulations governing places to swim. Because areas differ, their rules vary. There are ocean beaches, lakes, ponds, reservoirs, rivers, streams, home pools, indoor, outdoor, public and private pools. Anywhere water is warm enough, deep enough, fairly still and big enough to jump into and swim is likely to be regulated.

It's up to swimmers to be aware of what is lawful in a particular area. Abiding by a rule at one swimming place may save your life while the same rule at another may not even apply.

Man-made pools usually have more rules than natural areas because they are built specifically for the purpose of swimming and are generally more frequented. Most are required to pass public health laws, local fire codes and other safety standards. They also have guidelines initiated by individual facility directors.

Health laws in most states generally forbid anyone with a communicable disease or an open sore from entering a pool. They may also require swimmers to rinse off surface soil by taking a shower before entering the pool. Overcrowding is usually restricted by state laws, permitting only a certain ratio of people to pool size. Some laws require public pools to have at least one certified Guard for every twenty or thirty people in a 25 yard pool.

Standards of sanitation in pools, dressing rooms, showers and toilets are also governed by state laws. If the pH (potential hydrogen) is consistently too high the state board of health may close the pool.

The Fire Marshall's Office is another enforcement agency governing pools. Many swimmers are unaware that stored chlorine near large pools is kept under pressure. A leaky tank can become combustible if a match or cigarette is lit near it. Tanks must be kept in a safe place and no-smoking rules near pools are enforced. Fire Marshalls inspect boilers, storage rooms, and wooden bleachers for fire hazards. They also make sure that there are escape routes in case of a fire or gas leakage.

Lifesaving classes and Water Safety Instructor classes (WSI,) are offered by the Red Cross, YMCA and the and the YWCA. Other organizations authorized to train lifeguards and swimming instructors are the Military and certain Emergency Medical Training (EMT,) programs. Strong swimmers with the endurance to swim at least 20 lengths of a 25 meter pool in fifteen minutes are eligible to partake in most of these training courses.

Only those with WSI certification may teach swimming and lifesaving classes. Certified lifeguards without WSI training may assist with classes as aides. Standard or advanced First Aid is a requirement for both Guards and WSIs.

All certified swimming instructors are required to follow specific guidelines. Strokes must be taught correctly according to a set model. This is particularly important for competitive swimmers. For example, there cannot be some people swimming their own version of the Front Crawl while their competitors swim it differently. All strokes must be performed in like manner. Instructors are frequently tested to make certain that they are swimming and teaching all the strokes correctly.

Methods of teaching may vary, according to pupils' ages, abilities, class size, pool availability and other diversities, but it's a strict rule that pupils must be taught the correct way in order to perform all standardized strokes. One may find an instructor who teaches too fast, seldom demonstrates, is sloppy or whom no one likes, but all certified swimming instructors are obligated to teach kicks, strokes, body position, etc., by the specified model. However--as in competitive diving, one diver may execute a perfect reverse gainer and another perform the same dive with legs uneven--not all pupils are perfect in performance even when taught correctly.



After this chapter both Instructor and Individual progressions will be written together. Once everyone has mastered a good Front Crawl and is swimming regularly to build up endurance, both Individual and Instructor's pupils should be swimming the Front Crawl equally well. Classes taught by hands-on instructors, however, will have probably reached this point earlier than Individual learners.


The Elementary Backstroke: This is a "safety" stroke. Though easy to learn it generally isn't taught as a first stroke for the following reasons: maintaining a good back float is not as easy to accomplish as a face-down float; most beginners dislike floating on their backs; non-swimmers who are not Water-Shy have probably taught themselves a pretty good "dog paddle" so learning the Front Crawl first is a natural alternative for them. Furthermore, floating face down as opposed to floating on one's back, helps pupils adjust more easily to having their faces in the water.

There are three good reasons why the Elementary Backstroke should be taught soon after the Front Crawl.

ONE--Because beginner swimmers have not swum enough to develop much endurance, having the ability to turn onto their backs and slowly move into shallow water may prevent panic and could even save their lives.

TWO--It's a relaxing stroke and doesn't require a lot of energy. When swimmers become tired the Elementary Backstroke allows them to catch their breath and still make headway.

THREE--Elementary Backstroke is a good lead-in for learning the Back Crawl and the Inverted Breast Stroke.


Chapter 11~A~The Elementary Backstroke Progressions
The Home Pool
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