A NUMBER of coaches from Learn to Swim (LTS) and other competitive swim schools on the South Coast have noticed with concern the impact lockdown has had on some of their students.
While they are thrilled to be back in the water, they’ve seen that some are unfit, with others showing alarming evidence of perhaps too much snacking. Not being able to exercise or train is partly to blame for this, as is too much screen time.
KZNA accredited swim schools in the Ugu district which have opened include Margate Swimming Club, Bondi’s Swim School, Blue Ocean Aquatics, Little Dolphins Swim School and Super Shark Swim School.
Gerhard Labuschagne, chairman of Ugu Aquatics and vice-president of KZN Aquatics, is also the owner of Margate Swimming School.
He said that to ensure the safety of staff and swimmers, strict protocols have been put in place by KZN Aquatics and Swim SA.
He encouraged support for swimming and local clubs as he felt it was unlikely many other sports would be permitted to resume this year. Swimming however, he said, stood a good chance.
The coaches are pleased to see increasing numbers of swimmers return, at all levels, but have emphasised that it’s so much more than just about swimming.
“Why do we fight to get the students back in the water? It’s not just for the business. We coach because we save lives one at a time and because of our passion for the sport,” said Edward Holden-Smith of Super Shark Swim School.
“The coaches want to help young athletes develop natural discipline, dedication, leadership, persistence and resilience,” he said.
He added that, sadly, there were cases in South Africa where children had drowned during lockdown.
“Learning to swim is not only a sport but an educational process and life skill that reduces the chance of drowning by 80 percent,” he said.
He pointed out that learning to swim also opened doors to various water sports, such as competitive swimming, scuba diving, spear fishing, water polo and underwater hockey.
Mandy Koegelenberg of Blue Ocean Aquatics said that as a competitive coach, the most important thing now was not to push too hard early on because athletes can pick up injuries, which is the last thing they need after four months of no swimming.
“We are going to get back into training slowly and concentrate on drills, slow and correct swimming, getting balance, and most importantly, getting the ‘feel’ of the water again,” she said.
Thea Thomas of Little Dolphins Swim School said the ‘little ones’ are running through the door in excitement to get back into the pool.
“When I ask them to get out after the lesson, they give me many excuses,” she said.
“Children need to exercise and it is now safe for them to do so, especially with the protocol we have to observe. Parents are anxious and we respect their fear. We keep our protocol and sanitation in place and along with small classes we will survive this, and we will get back to where we were before.”
Dietician Natalie Quinn advised youngsters to avoid spicy, fatty and sugary food before swimming, as well as anything with caffeine in it, and to focus on eating wholegrain cereals, yoghurt, fruit and wholegrain sandwiches – with protein filling – at appropriate times before getting into the pool.
(Source: South Coast Herald)