The childrens elementary swimming school follows the educational rules of the finnish swimming instruction and lifesaving organisation (SUH). As students, the children are individuals and the teaching always follows that rule. At first we will practice getting used to the water by walking and moving in the water, then we will take a dip and blow some air under water. From there we go on to holding breath under water with eyes kept open. Its important to be able to hold your breath without tension. This is the part of training that often takes a lot of time and must be taken very seriously. It basically means that the student is able to hold his/hers breath under water without any fear. Once we have achieved the courage, we will move on to floating and then gliding. After that we will start the actual swimming using the dogpaddle. The goal is to achieve the elementary swimming skill.
The teaching goes by the pace of the student, we will stand and walk in the water, squat, slowly submerge and stay there for a wile holding our breath, keeping our eyes open and slowly blowing air out of our lungs. We will keep repeating these excercises untill the courage is achieved. In other words we dont have the hurry to get to the surface and the breath can be held as long under water as it can be held over the surface. After this we will move to floating.
Floating on our stomach, we are trying to achieve the absolutely relaxed position in the water. It requires the willingnes to adapt to the idea that head is always deeper under the surface and legs are upper, not vice versa as often the case. This is relevant in each and every swimming style. You have to be able to float, before you can swim. floating is not just for fun, its a very important skill. This way you can rest in case of swimming far from the beach and running out of strenght.
Floating on your back makes continuous breathing possible and is therefore a powerfull alternative for relaxing your muscles during swimming. The head is let lose backwards, so that only mouth and eyes are on the surface. Also the pelvis ism let fully open. This way we will also learn an efficien position for backstroke. Floating on your back is an efficient style making it possible breath naturally and this way rest when swimming longer distances for example in an open water swimming and at the open lake. Its important to be able to float well, because this way you can prevemnt yourself from going in to panic whick may occur if you find yourself too far from the shore. Floating is practiced before moving into elementary back paddle.
The dogpaddle is the first swimming style that you can swim without any gear. This is the first style that the student can use and concider him/herself to be able to swim. In the traditional dogpaddle, the head has always been up to keep water going in the nose and at the same time the visibility foorward has been good. This style is however sluggish, its hard to hold your head up and the legs will easily sink. Its better to swim this style with your face in the water, neck relaxed and the whole body lined with the surface. You only lift the head to breath. Its easier to steer the force from the hands straight backwards to get optimal thrust.
Even better style is to use the doggstyle with a slight alternation: now the breath is taken from the side instead of lifting the head up. Its important to hold your neck fully relaxed, looking down to the bottom.