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Aqua Fun Academy
Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Ice Safety – Clear Blue Water

Our Swimming Tip Tuesday of the week: Clear blue ice is the strongest and safest form of ice.

It’s very important to consider the colour of ice. Clear blue ice is the strongest and safest. It forms when the temperature has been at least -8ºC for three consecutive weeks. The colder it gets, the faster blue ice will form. At a minimum thickness of 12 inches, blue ice will even support a large vehicle such as a mid-size pick-up. According to the Lifesaving Society, clear blue ice needs to be at least four inches thick to support a person and at least 12 inches for a mid-size pick-up. And of course, stay clear of grey ice.

Blue ice occurs when snow falls on a glacier, is compressed, and becomes part of the glacier. Air bubbles are squeezed out and ice crystals enlarge, making the ice appear blue. Small amounts of regular ice appear to be white because of air bubbles inside them and also because small quantities of water appear to be colourless. In glaciers, the pressure causes the air bubbles to be squeezed out increasing the density of the created ice. Large quantities of water appear to be blue, as it absorbs other colours more efficiently than blue. Therefore, a large piece of compressed ice, or a glacier, would appear blue.

Blue ice is exposed in areas of the Antarctic where there is no net addition or subtraction of snow. That is, any snow that falls in that area is counteracted by sublimation or other losses. These areas have been used as runways (e.g.Wilkins Runway, Novolazarevskaya, Patriot Hills Base Camp) due to their hard surface which is suitable for aircraft fitted with wheels rather than skis.

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Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Using a Kick Board

Our Swimming Tip Tuesday of the week: Don’t lean the weight of your body on the board. If you’re comfortable in the water, leaning slows you down.

On this week’s Swimming Tip Tuesday, we’re going to discuss the use of a flutter board (also known as a kick board) during our swim practices. A kick board is often used during kicking drills, hence the name. A common beginner habit is to put the upper half of their body over-top of the kick board. Why is this problematic? First of all, it does not allow the swimmer to build their upper body strength. It also does the swimmer a great disservice by altering the their body position. By propping the upper body onto the kick board, the swimmer has created an arch in the back that would normally be smooth. Thus slowing them down when they perform the skill without the aid of a kick board.

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Streamlined position

To correct this the swimmer wants to hold the base of the kick board, keeping the hands inline with the shoulders, or maintaining that the arms are straight as possible. This challenges the swimmer to maintain a horizontal body position from the tip of the head, through the back, and down to the toes. The swimmers kick should happen just under the surface of the water, creating a ripple effect as the swimmer kicks rhythmically. Whether the swimmer practices their kicks on their front (stomach) or on their back, the swimmer needs to maintain a streamline body position.

Another common beginner mistake is to lean into the kick board. How do we spot a swimmer who is leaning into the board? Assuming the swimmer is holding the base of the kick board you will notice one of two scenarios. In scenario one the swimmer will have propped the kick board on an angle either pointed upwards towards the ceiling or down towards the pool floor. In scenario two, the swimmer is holding the top of the kick board, with the majority of their upper body resting on the kick board the body will be arched at the hips which is also incorrect. If the swimmer is holding the kick board correctly, you will notice that the kick board is parallel with the surface of the water, regardless is the swimmer is holding at the base or the sides of the kick board.

Note: the kick board is held at the sides most often when practicing dolphin kick, or whip kick rather than flutter kick.

To develop this skill correctly practice in distance increments, allowing the swimmer to perform the skill correctly over a small distance and then building on that distance and giving feedback when they begin to lean. By doing so you will strength the swimmers body and muscle memory. Knowing what it feels like to perform a skill properly is half the battle.

Happy swimming! Until our next Swimming Tip Tuesday!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Backstroke Finger

Our Aqua Speed back crawl #TipTuesday of the week: Lead with your thumb as your arm comes out of the water.

On this week’s Swimming Tip Tuesday we’re going to discuss back crawl! Our focus is going to be on the positioning of our hands as they exit the water. A common beginner mistake is to have the hands lay flat as they exit and enter the water. Due to the resistance upon exiting the water, and impact when entering the water, keeping the hands flat (horizontal) can cause the swimmer pain. As well as create drag, which slows the swimmer down.

To eliminate the pain and increase our speed it is important to monitor and maintain how our hand exits and enters the water. The swimmer wants to lead with your thumb as your arm comes out of the water. The arm should be lifted out by the movement of the shoulders – not the other way round. By keeping the thumb up and pointed towards the ceiling we reduce the amount of water resistance upon exiting the water during our backward rotation of the arms.

Now as you may know, the shoulder can only rotate the arm backwards to a certain point with the thumb pointed towards the ceiling. As we re-enter the water the swimmer will face the palms outwards away from the body and let the pinky finger enter. Again, by doing this the swimmer minimizes resistance and drag by making the entry surface of the water smaller.

When we enter the water with a flat hand, the surface area the swimmer must push through is larger. Therefore the swimmer will need to work much harder against the force of the water. Swimming is all about efficiency and effective movement for our desired outcome. Which in the case of back crawl is to move quickly while maintaining our body position on our back. As you progress through the levels mastery of this stroke can take you to many competitions. Those who are the very best at this skill can compete for national and even olympic standing!

Want to learn more? Sign up on our website for personalized training with one of our instructors!

See you again right here for another Swimming Tip Tuesday!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Goggles

On this week’s Swimming Tip Tuesday we’re going to talk about swim equipment, specifically goggles!Swimming Tip Tuesday

It is important to be comfortable without them. However, as we progress goggles are a great piece of swim equipment to help enhance our swimming. How do goggles enhance our swimming? Firstly it will allow the swimmer to see clearly underwater. This is important for many different skills: from “bobs,” also known as submersion in our preschool levels, to surface dives and rescue drills in our swimmer and bronze levels.

It is also helpful during strokes performed on your front (or stomach). From breaststroke to butterfly, all strokes require the swimmer to swim in a straight line. Being able to focus our sight under the water at the wall ahead will allow the swimmer to travel forward without deviating into a wall or lane rope.

When choosing this piece of swim equipment you want to ensure that there is good suction around the eyes without the use of the strap. Press the goggles to the eyes and hold for about 5 seconds then release your hands. If the goggles are still stuck and suctioned around your eyes these are the pair for you.

Another thing to keep in mind when selecting a pair of goggles is the swimmer’s face shape. Everyone has a different face shape, some of us have bigger eyes than others, or our eyes are closer or further apart. Some of us need the lip of the goggle to sit differently over top the cheekbones. You want to pick the right goggle shape for your face. It is easy to pick up the pair everyone already owns. However that style might not be the best choice for the swimmer. Always try them on and get what works for your face shape. A great brand I like is called Aqua Sphere, as they have a variety of shapes, they suction well, and they are a bit softer around the eyes. For those of you who like to yank the straps very snug around your heads, these are kinder to your face.

Another helpful Swimming Tip Tuesday tip for you swimmers who wear glasses, prescription goggles exist! They are typically a negative prescription, and are the same prescription for both sides of the goggle. An example would be -5.00 or -3.50, they increase or decrease by half.

Well that’s it for this week’s Swimming Tip Tuesday! For more tips and tricks for success join us next week, or register and train with one of our brilliant swim coaches!

Happy Swimming!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Backstroke Body Positioning

On this week’s Swimming Tip Tuesday we’re going to discuss backstroke and a unique aspect of our body positioning. Often you will hear your instructors refer to the streamline position. What Natation Conseil Mardi this entails is that the body moves through the water with the least resistance. From the tip of the hands to the tip of the toes, the swimmer’s body lays flat as it glides across the water. Now, contrary to our understanding of the streamline body position, laying flat on the water does not require one to be perfectly horizontal to the water. As a matter of fact many strokes will cause the body to slope slightly.

When performing any stroke, the goal is to minimize drag. To do this the swimmer should avoid dramatic bending at the hips, neck, and knees. When we bend at the joint we create pockets for the water to get trapped in and push the body down. This ultimately slows the swimmer down.

Swimming Tip TuesdayWhen performing backstroke slight bending is necessary, due to the nature of the stroke. During backstroke the body will slope slightly from the hips to the toes. You’ll notice that this causes the head and arms to be slightly higher in the water than the legs and toes. By slightly sloping the body, and the slight difference in height between the hands, head and toes, the swimmer breaks streamline position less dramatically as they swing the arms to generate power.

Furthermore, with the hips slightly sloped down, we can now capitalize on the flutter kick. The legs will remain underneath the surface of the water, as to not break our streamline position and reduce the effects of drag.

By making this adjustment with our body position the swimmer can increase the speed and precision of the stroke.

Want to learn more? Sign up on our website with one of our brilliant swim instructors! We’ll see you next Swimming Tip Tuesday for another fun tip on how to perfect those strokes! Happy Swimming!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Front Crawl

On this week’s Swimming Tip Tuesday we will discuss front crawl. Specifically focusing on arm recovery and shoulder placement.

When you as a swimmer begin to learn front crawl, you have been introduced to the following skills:Swimming Tip Tuesday

  • Floating
  • Rhythmic Breathing
  • Front Glide
  • Side Glide
  • Flutter kick

Front crawl takes these skills and combines them, allowing the swimmer to achieve greater distances, swim more efficiently, and with greater strength. Front Crawl (also known as freestyle) is a highly energy efficient stroke when performed at a high level of proficiency.

To begin to make this stroke our own, we must focus on the mechanics of the combination “front-to-side-glide”.

To turn onto our side, the swimmer must first keep their kick consistent. Establishing a rhythm when kicking will keep the swimmer close to the top of the water.

Secondly, the swimmer should roll the body to the side, instead of turning just the head, a slight roll turning the hips and shoulder.

For the 3rd step we have a Pro Tip: Your shoulder should come out of the water as your arm exits while the other begins the propulsive phase under the water. This should happen as you slightly roll to breathe.

Swimming Tip TuesdayWhen executed correctly, the swimmer will reduce drag by maintaining their streamline body position. The swimmer will also increase forward propulsion as our hand finds the catch.

Definitions:

Drag: In swimming “drag” is used to explain the force or resistance experienced by a swimmer by working against the water, or out of a streamlined position.

Catch: In swimming “catch” is used to finding the assisting flow of water to increase propulsion. In other words where the water is moving in large volumes.

Rhythmic Breathing: In swimming this means to blow bubbles and exhale in a consistent pattern or rhythm.

Well that’s a wrap for this week’s Swimming Tip Tuesday! Until next week!

 

Swimming Throwback Thursday: Robert’s Class

Swimming Throwback Thursday: Robert’s Class

Throwback Thursday to mat play with Robert’s Class. 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.

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January 26, 2017

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.

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Welcome

Swimming Throwback Thursday: Andrew & Leah

Swimming Throwback Thursday: Andrew & Leah

Throwback Thursday to mat play with Andrew and Leah. 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.

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November 26, 2016

Swimming Throwback Thursday: Summer Camp Arts and Crafts

Swimming Throwback Thursday to summer camp with instructor Robert. Who says kids get to have all the fun? Pictured here is Robert in our arts and crafts room practicing his painting skills along with the rest of the class. Arts and crafts provide a reprieve from the physical activities of the morning, usually out on the field or in the gym, and in the afternoons in the swimming pool. It allows our campers to create a fun take-home memento which they can keep for posterity! Although some may regard art education as a luxury, simple creative activities are some of the building blocks of child development. Learning to create and appreciate visual aesthetics may be more important than ever to the development of the next generation of children as they grow up.

Most people think that crafts and arts are just the same, but they are actually very different – both in principle and implementation. Art refers to unstructured activities, focusing on imagination and exploration. In fact, since the focus of art is imagination, you basically have no limitation or boundaries. Crafts, on the other hand, focus on structured activities with a certain purpose. So when you want to create greeting cards from scrap papers or making recycled papers, you are doing crafts activities.

Children receive stimulation when they are taking part in crafts and art projects since they need to focus on their imagination and creativity. When you give a paintbrush to your kid, for instance, you allow them to express themselves through brush strokes and colors and they are able to create whatever image they want. They can also learn about symbolic means of communication, and there are many ways to do so. Different colors represent different feelings, for example, and they are able to learn that. Sure, their creation may look like simple undefined lines, curves, or strokes…but that’s the way they express themselves and they can develop more if you are able to nourish their needs.

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July 21, 2016