Aqua Fun Academy
Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Kicking

Today’s Swimming Tip Tuesday is on kicking:

Kicking is a key aspect of swimming, specifically flutter kick. It is used in both Front crawl also known as freestyle to those who swim competitively.  As well as during Back crawl, which is still called Back crawl even if the stroke is done competitively. Due to the fact that the muscles in our legs are significantly stronger than the muscles in our arms, it is essentially to learn how to use these muscles effectively. As one learns more strokes and swimming techniques, how and what we do with our legs to propel our bodies in the forward motion, or sometimes in an upward motion varies. To increase propulsion it is important to have mastery of kicking, especially flutter kick.

Swimming Tip Tuesday: an example of fluter kick

Swimming Tip Tuesday: an example of fluter kick

When doing flutter kick, we must remember to keep our toes pointed, as show in the photo to the left. As well as to generate power from our hips. Simply put we must kick from our hips rather than our knees. This is done by keeping the entirety of the leg mainly straight. With minimal bending at the knees. When we accomplish this we allow our legs to stay fairly close together. This is important! Though as a new swimmer it is common to push our legs up or down splitting our legs a great distance apart, usually in a effort to increase propulsion. In practice pushing our legs far away from each other increases drag, which slows us down. Ultimately leading to increased fatigue which in turn forces us to complete a shorter distances.

To achieve greater distances without out getting very tired in practice it is more beneficial to keep our leg movements small and rhythmic. This will allow us to increase our forward propulsion. Think of it as having your legs tip-toe near the top of the water. The steadier this motion, the better we stay streamlined. Due to our optimal body positioning the water will assist your streamline position and thus move you forward at a faster rate.

All in all you want to remember to Kick with your legs close together!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Your legs should be close together

 

Throwback Thursday

Swimming Throwback Thursday: Poppy

Throwback Thursday to mat play with Poppy. Pool foam floats are primarily used as a leisure tool for comfort and relaxation, often with a cold beverage. AFA uses foam floats primarily for ice safety training, as they can easily simulate drifting sheets of ice over ponds and lakes. In Canada, this is considered a vital part of swim training. However, that doesn’t stop anyone from using the floats to simulate white-water rafting, a swimmer favorite downtime activity at the end of our classes.

During wintertime, many of us like to skate or approach ice on small rivers or lakes nearby. However, the sturdiness of the ice is an incredibly important factor to whether or not we are able to enjoy this pastime. Nobody wants to be the person to end up falling in the ice. Whether it is proving a point to your friends or taking a (very bad) bet, what could seem like a fun innocent idea at first could end up being an absolutely nightmare within moments. It’s important to learn the rules of ice safety before heading out during the winter season.

The colour of the ice is a very strong indicator as to whether or not it is safe to approach and walk on it.  Clear blue ice is considered the strongest form of ice.
Grey ice however is considered to be the weakest of them all and is not considered safe in anyway.

Mats are a swimmer favourite, as instructors can push them around to simulate white water rafting (without the danger)! Play time, or recess, serves as a necessary break from the rigors of concentrated, academic challenges in the class. But equally important is the fact that safe and well-supervised recess offers cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits that may not be fully appreciated when a decision is made to diminish it. Recess is unique from, and a complement to, physical education—not a substitute for it.

🏊🙊🙉🙈

August 8, 2017

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday – Streamline Breastroke

Todays’ Swimming Tip Tuesday we will talk about staying streamline while doing Breaststroke.

In previous Swimming Tip Tuesdays’ we have isolated various movements that help simplify this complicated stroke that is Breaststroke. We’ve also discussed maintaining streamline body position during other strokes. Today we are going to look at the body from the top of the torso to the knees when performing Breaststroke.

In Breast Stroke the body moves through a sequence of steps: pull, breathe, whip, and glide for three seconds. During the glide phase the body is in perfect streamline position, as seen in the photo below.

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: An example of a swimmer in full glide potion.

When a swimmer executes the pull and breathe phase we partially break streamline position. However these motions are to help us generate forward momentum. As we whip, the arms are returning to streamline position. In order to prevent drag as we whip the swimmer must try to keep their thighs at the same level as their torso.

There are a few ways to create drag during the whip phase that many beginners do while learning the stroke.

  • The swimmer drops their knees towards the ground as the initiate the bend phase.
  • The swimmer bends at the hips while they initiate the bend phase.
  • The swimmer bends so their ankles exit the water.

Now that we understand the mistakes that can be made how do we correct these?

  • The Swimmer aims their knees towards the wall directly behind us, keeping our thighs inline with our torso.
  • The swimmer bends their heels back towards our buttocks without bending at the hips.
  • During the whip phase the swimmer keeps their ankles under the water.

If the swimmer accomplishes all three of these corrections, they will improve speed efficiency and technique during Breaststroke, as a result of creating less drag.

Well that’s a wrap for this Swimming Tip Tuesday, until next time!Swimming Tip Tuesday

 

 

Throwback Thursday

Swimming Throwback Thursday: Hannah’s Welcome

Swimming Throwback Thursday: Hannah’s Welcome

Throwback Thursday to a warm welcome to our summer camp from Head Counsellor Hannah! Hannah is not only a swim instructor and lifeguard, but also a registered ECE and OCT. With more children’s qualifications than we can pronounce, her love for children speaks for itself. As does her love of AFA’s (optional) Friday spa days featuring manicures, a camper-favourite activity which she administers personally!

Early childhood education (ECE; also nursery education) is a branch of education theory which relates to the teaching of young children (formally and informally) up until the age of about eight. Infant/toddler education, a subset of early childhood education, denotes the education of children from birth to age two. Teaching at any level is a rewarding career, but early childhood teachers have a special opportunity to help children in their earliest stages. Early childhood education programs at Ontario colleges teach students the skills they need to get children started on a successful journey through the education system.

What does an early childhood educator do?

  • Assesses children’s developmental needs and stages in all developmental domains;
  • Designs curriculum to address children’s identified needs, stages of development and interests;
  • Plans programs and environments for play and activities that help children make developmental progress;
  • Maintains healthy emotional and social learning contexts for children; and
  • Reports to parents and supervisors on children’s developmental progress within healthy, safe, nurturing and challenging play environments.

About OCT: 

An Ontario teaching certificate is a licence to teach in Ontario. Only qualified teaching professionals who have been certified by and remain in good standing with the Ontario College of Teachers can use the abbreviation OCT – Ontario Certified Teacher – next to their name. OCTs have met the standards for acceptance into Ontario’s teaching profession. They possess the academic and experience credentials expected of teachers in publicly funded schools. The OCT designation ensures students are taught by highly qualified people. OCTs have the necessary knowledge and skills to help students learn and achieve.

Summer camp has started, but you can still register for future weeks! Don’t have a camp for your kids yet? Join us for a week full of outdoor and indoor sports, arts and crafts, and daily swimming! Learn more here.

🏊🙊🙉🙈

Welcome

Throwback Thursday

Swimming Throwback Thursday: Morning Stretching

Swimming Throwback Thursday: Morning Stretching

Throwback Thursday to morning stretching with counsellor David and camper Andrew. Looks like they’re getting ready for a fun game of frisbee. Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. We make a habit of stretching with our campers several times a day.

Many of us are guilty of neglecting stretching as a part of our regular routine. Though as we age it becomes increasingly important to stretch in our daily lives. Stretching dependent on the duration and intensity can be it’s own separate work out. For example Yoga is highly focused on learning ones body but also on stretching ones body and increasing the general range of motion. Our range of motion is composed of two elements; how well we can rotate and twist around a joint, secondly, how easily are these movements accomplished. The more frequently we stretch our range of motion increases. In the water it is relatively easier to work on expanding our ROM (range of motion).

The fun factor is integral when teaching kids about stretching. If a child thinks stretching is boring, she will likely lose interest in doing it. Try having kids mimic animals while they stretch. This practice is especially effective with young children. For example, children can practice the bear crawl by walking on their hands and feet. Encourage kids to walk forward, backward and sideways. The bear crawl stretches and strengthens the hamstrings, calves and back. Children can also stretch their shoulders by hooking their fingers together and letting their arms hang down and swing like an elephant’s trunk. To make these stretches more fun, have kids mimic animal sounds.

Now, if only the weather will cooperate!

Summer camp has started, but you can still register for future weeks! Don’t have a camp for your kids yet? Join us for a week full of outdoor and indoor sports, arts and crafts, and daily swimming! Learn more here.

🏊🙊🙉🙈

July 26, 2017

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Butterfly Arms

Today’s Swimming Tip Tuesday:

Bring your arms up barely above the water and out to the sides.

This advanced swimming tip Tuesday is going to focus on the coordination of the arms during butterfly. This article will also focus on the importance of muscular balance and flexibility. The stroke itself requires a lot of upper body strength. Good upper body strength combined with the proper technique enables the swimmer to have explosive power. This application of power is required to pull the swimmer in an upward and forward motion. The arms circling forward resembling the image of a butterfly. Hence the name of this advanced stroke.

It is important to develop all the muscles in the shoulder and rotator cuff as pulling your arms forcefully around in a circular motion may cause discomfort if the muscles are unbalanced.

Exercises that strengthen the three deltoid muscles can be accomplished by both land and water exercises. Water exercises such as: water yoga or aquafit.

Further more it is equally as important to work on maintaining flexibility for rotation of the arms to prevent injury. Stretching in general is a great way to remain limber and avoid injury. When muscles and tendons become tight we are more prone exercising with improper form.

Lastly it is important to coordination when to flex and relax the arm muscles. Flexing throughout the entirety of the movement can also bring about the opportunity for injury. For example: many exercises have a phase of intensity which is when we aim to generate power. Flexing during this phase allows us to accomplish that. However if remain flexed we are sustaining a load and putting unnecessary pressure on our antagonist muscles.

In regards to executing the stroke; when pushing the arms down into the water is to try and draw the shape of a key hole. This shape allows the swimmer to generate both forward and upward momentum.

Another important factor lies when the arms are coming up out of the water. Ideally you want the back of the hands to meet in front of the face. This sets us up for drawing the key hole shape once the arms have reentered the water.

Remember exercise smart, focus on building balanced muscles and swim on. That’s all until our next swimming tip Tuesday.

Bring your arms up barely above the water and out to the sides

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday – Diving and lift off

Todays’ Swimming Tip Tuesday, we are going to discuss diving and the importance of using our legs!

When diving it is important to bend at the knees to provide proper lift off.

A common mistake amongst new divers happens when we forget to use our legs correctly, especially during a standing dive. Trying to generate force without bending at the knees creates the opportunity to enter the water chest first instead of hands first. What those of us familiar with diving blunders call a “belly flop”. To avoid this painful lesson, here are some tips about how to position ourselves to enter the water hands first.

From the start push your feet down into the ground preparing to jump, pointing where you want to enter the water with your hands. Remember to keep your hands together, throughout the glide phase of your dive.

  • Place feet side by side

If this is uncomfortable, one may spread their feet no wider than shoulder width apart. This marks our take off point, make sure ones’ toes are as close to the edge of the pool as possible.

  • Bend at the knees till about mid-squat position

This position allows the swimmer to prepare for proper execution of the dive. Furthermore, holding this position we will want to push off with our toes pointed towards our take off point.

  • Bend at the hips bringing the upper body close to the legs.

By lowering the body, we give ourselves a closer point of entrance into the water. We also allow the swimmer to achieve the arch necessary for entering the water hands first.

Remember when moving from the take off point, we want to aim our body out. As to travel forwards, as well as upwards. The image we want to form in our mind is an half moon.

Best of Luck, and Happy Diving!Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Fit Friday Natation Forme Vendredi

Swimming Fit Friday: Water Yoga

Today’s Swimming Fit Friday is all about Water Yoga

Why Water Yoga? Well as the old saying goes, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Exercising in the water as a stand alone has a multitude of benefits for the body.

  • Reduced stress impact on joints
  • Increased blood flow due to hydro-static properties
  • Water resistance assist in balanced muscle development
  • Water buoyancy assist in maintaining as well as increasing range of motion

These are just a few of the benefits that come with working in water, when coupled with Yoga we introduce a broader list of benefits, that also incorporates a positive effect on the individuals’ mental health.

  • Reduces mental tension
  • Improves cognitive functions
  • Regulation of sleep schedule
Swimming Fit Friday

Tree Pose

Please refer to the link below for the article on Oneness and Buoyancy:

http://aquafunacademy.ca/swimming-fit-friday-oneness-buoyancy/

When combining water and yoga together, we can enhance the following benefits:

  • Postural strength
  • Muscular endurance
  • Weight distribution*

When thinking of our weight, often it is simplified to how much one weighs. Contrary to this method of thinking, the distribution of weight can be broken down into and various elements. Visceral fat (around the organs) or subcutaneous fat (underneath the skin), musculature, and water weight; all of these are important. Through the movements of Yoga combined with water and performed correctly, can improve overall weight distribution.

Focusing on the overall number of our cumulative weight distracts us from achieving our fitness goals. Through Water Yoga, we can,

  • Boosts Metabolism
  • Promote and maintain muscle growth
  • Better balance and coordination
  • maintain and increase flexibility
  • Promote brain elasticity by engaging in new movements*

Working in water forces us to adjust the way we move in it. In order to properly isolate muscle groups, and safely utilize the resistance of water. Learning these new techniques and movements strengthens the motor centers in the brain, promoting brain elasticity.

aquafit-slider-2Well that just about wraps up  today’s Swimming Fit Friday. Why Water Yoga -not convinced? Seeing is believing, but why not try a class?

Check out Aqua Fun Academy’s Health and Fitness section in the link below:

http://aquafunacademy.ca/health-fitness/

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Back Crawl

In Today’s Swimming Tip Tuesday: A breath is taken every time an arm completes a full cycle. Try breathing in as one arm passes your ear and exhale as the other arm passes.

Breathing, something we do every single day of our lives. Breathing in passion, and breathing out results! Breathing, as it is something we do involuntarily should be easy enough to do in the water! Integrating our movements to sync up with our breathing requires a little more thought than expected. Though while swimming on our back a swimmer has the added advantage that their face is out of the water for the duration of the stroke. So, when do we breathe? In any exercise, we want to exhale on the effort and inhale during the recovery phase.

In back crawl the effort is when the arm is re-entering the water, during the push phase. While the recovery phase is when the water enters the air, or exits the water, both of these elements are what compose a complete cycle of back crawl arms. Understanding the basic mechanics of the stroke it should be easy to break down when to breathe.

However, when back crawl is done both arms move juxtaposed. Meaning one arm is always in the opposite phase to the other. To get around this conundrum, the swimmer can focus on one arms cycle and co-ordinate their breathing in time with that arm. Our dominant arm can vary from sport to sport, so an easy way to find out which of the two is a swimmers’ dominant arm, is to take note of which arm the swimmer start their stroke with. When the swimmers dominant arm is out of the water they must remember to inhale, similarly when the swimmers dominant arm is in the water, they must remember to exhale.Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Butterfly – Dolphin Kick.

Today’s Swimming Tip Tuesday Butterfly – Dolphin Kick.

Butterfly is a more advance stroke, for it requires controlled upper body strength and coordination of the arms and legs. Because of how advance this skill is we will revisit and discuss other components in future article, so keep your eyes pealed for some helpful pro tips.

Swimming is all about transferable skills, for those who have master Breaststroke an intermediate skill in which there is a large amount of coordination involved between the upper and lower body. The coordination of arms and legs during Butterfly will come more naturally in comparison to those who are still grasping Breaststroke. Another transferable skill is mastery of dolphin kick, as it is a direct building block for the overall mastery of Dolphin Kick.

In today’s Swimming Tip Tuesday we will focus on the how to execute the dolphin kick component of Butterfly.

When executing dolphin kick a large part of the movement comes from isolation of the hips. In a streamlined position along the water, the swimmer will push their pelvis downward to generate momentum that will move down the body from the hips, thighs, knees, calves, and then feet.

This downward push of the pelvis is done twice. The first wave to allows for mostly forward momentum, the second wave is used to generate upward momentum to bring the torso and head out of the water. Allowing the swimmer to breathe.

Pro tips:

  • Swimmers often use the imagery of a mermaid tail to describe how the legs push through the water, while keeping them close together.
  • The catch in between kicks is important, you want to pull the hips up higher on the second kick to help generate more downward momentum.
  • While doing the kick the first kick will always be smaller then the second. The size of the kicks refers to the amount of downward movement from the hips.
  • Powerful downbeats of the feet then propel the body forward. Try to keep your legs close together with your ankles relaxed.Swimming Tip Tuesday