There are some skills I always knew I wanted to give my children from a young age and one of those is swimming. As well as the safety aspect, I feel being a confident swimmer opens them up to so many opportuntes as they grow up. Little Aqua is our local swim school who have transformed J into a total water baby and seen Miss A gain her first certificate in just 8 weeks. We have been swimming with them for nearly two years now and I continue to love their small classes, teaching methods and watching my once water scared 5 year old do proper front crawl across the pool!
If you are in Bedfodshire or Cambridgeshire then I highly recommend checking them out. Their results and growth speak for themselves but as they celebrate 10 years of their swim school, I found out a bit more from J’s swimming teacher and Little Aqua co-founder, Jeremy Burridge.
Why did you set up Little Aqua?
I had worked for a few teaching schools and loved it. However I always felt I has more to offer than just being a teacher. If I worked for myself I had then the opportunity to put the methods I believed in into practice.
How does your approach differ to a standard swim lesson and why have you chosen it?
The main difference is the non-use of aids. Aids are brilliant and essential in group swimming lessons or sessions where the teacher is not in the water. Being a private swim school with a small ratio of teacher to learner we can then develop the children naturally. I’m really passionate about the use of manual manipulation as it ensures the swimmers can feel and see what the skill is supposed to look like. It means the improvements are often quicker and the swimmers are more efficient. We have developed these techniques ourselves, after lots of research, and we’re still changing and trying to improve our current techniques.
How has your vision changed or been reinforced in the last 10 years?
The longer I do it the more positive results I see, and the more I love our vision – it enables swimmers to be water confident and have fun at the same time.
Are there particular qualities you look for in Little Aqua teachers?
Approachable, enthusiastic, calm, expressional, focused. These are the main areas I look for, however of course there are so many more I could list.
How do you see children change and grow in your classes?
We give the swimmer space, time and freedom to blossom in our environment. Because of this, they can grow and develop not only in swimming terms. There has been lots of research proven than excelling in a sport helps school life, self confidence and of course health. So allowing and encouraging a swimmer to change is one of the best parts of the job.
Can you describe a moment that has stood out for you?
Far too many but if I had to pick one…. reaching 1000 swimmers a week was a huge highlight to me. We now have 2000 and are looking to get to 3000 soon.
What have been your biggest challenges?
To be honest ‘the boring stuff’. The paper work behind setting up a business was very challenging.
You have recently been offering free swim classes for babies – why is this?
One of the most frequent feedback we get from parents is ‘my baby hates bath time’ or ‘we don’t swim as we don’t know what to do’. This concerned me, so we put these classes on and new parents have 12 weeks of gaining some experience in water, and giving the swimmer a chance to enjoy the pool.
What life skills do you think swimming teaches children?
Obviously swimming itself is a life skill. But aside that, it gives children so much self confidence. As swimming is a very lonely sport, at the top end, they train 20 hours per week with most of that spent underwater, so you have to be self motivated and happy in yourself to do it.
What are you most proud of about Little Aqua?
Honestly that so many people enjoy themselves. Not just the swimmers but the parents, and my teachers. Also winning business of the year for 2018 was a very proud moment
What are your plans for the next ten years
To open a new pool a year. Then who knows, we could even build one!
Disclosure: Little Aqua provide one of our swimming places free of charge for us to continue to be an ambassador for their school. We pay for the other place as we truly believe they are the best swimming lessons around.
even build one