Aquatics FAQ’s

1. When should I arrive with my child for their swim lesson?

All classes will begin on time, please do your best to arrive 5-10 min before your scheduled time!

Lifeguard/Pool deck personal will be calling in your child from the glass entry door 5 min prior to the lesson and escort him/her to the pool area for the swim lesson.

It is preferable to have your swimmer in their suit prior to arrival.

Please feel free to change in our locker rooms before or after your lesson.

2. What should I bring to swim lessons?

Each swimmer needs a swimsuit and a towel. Children who are not potty trained are also required to wear a snug-fitting swim diaper. If your child is under three, they must be accident free for at least six months before swimming without a swim diaper.

3. Does my child need to wear a swim cap?

Swim caps are required, since they can improve your child’s swimming experience because long hair is heavy and can make swimming more difficult. If you child is working on breathing and head rotation, it can make it very difficult for them to take a breath. We recommend that you braid the hair or pull the hair back into a ponytail if you don’t have a swim cap.

4. Do I need to buy my child a pair of goggles?

We encourage all swimmers to have goggles. As your child becomes a more avid swimmer, goggles can be helpful. If you decide to use goggles, have your child try them on before coming to class, and make sure they fit your child’s face snugly and comfortably. It’s also a good idea to write your child’s name on the goggles in permanent marker.

5. What is the best way to prepare for my child’s first Aqua Baby Lesson?

Condensed from “The Baby Swim Book” by Cinda L. Kocken & Janet McCabe 

Pack your bag

  • Parent & baby’s swimsuits
  • Accessories to tie hair back
  • Three towels
  • Baby’s snack, Lotion
  • Diapering needs
  • Baby’s favorite water-resistant toy

Arrive early to allow time to acclimate to the new environment.

Dress comfortably and familiarize the child with the suit they will be wearing. (Remember children under the age of 3 must wear a snug fitting cloth reusable swim diaper.)

Feed your baby a light snack such as a cracker or piece of banana 15 minutes before the lesson and bring a snack for after the lesson. Swimming is hard work.

Accommodate your child’s nap time and if possible schedule a nap before the lesson.

Come prepared to participate fully, your interactions and participation will set the tone for your baby’s involvement.

6. Is it OK for my child to eat before their lesson?

Just like any other exercise, you wouldn’t want to feed your child a large meal just before getting into the water. It’s fine to have a small meal or snack before class as long as they have had at least 20 minutes to digest. Aqua Babies (children under three years) can have a light snack up to 15 min before each lesson.

7. What if my child cries or is afraid?

A part of you wants to go rescue your child. But, another part of you wants your child to “tough it out” and gain victory over this fear. You may feel uncomfortable having a child who is so unhappy, and you are hopeful he/she doesn’t disrupt the class too much. Crying is not uncommon and is a natural expression of his/her emotional discomfort due to immersion in the water or separation from you. We will actively combat your child’s discomfort because his/her emotional comfort will greatly affect the acquisition of new swim skills.

Suggestions on how you help:

Give your child to the instructor

Walk your child out on deck and hand him/her over to the teacher. Then calmly walk back to the viewing room with a pleasant expression on your face. By handing your child over to the teacher, you are telling your child that you trust the teacher.

If your crying child continually looks at you and calls to you in the observation room, break eye contact. This can easily be done by looking at a magazine or book every time your child looks at you. Keep a pleasant expression on your face. We prefer that you not hide from your child or disappear from the viewing area.

Play with them in the water.

Come to a family swim or practice time and play with them in the water to speed up the adjustment period. Don’t make this a mini lesson, just have fun and enjoy the water together. Do not come for practice time immediately before the lesson. That is like putting dessert before dinner.

Praise and encouragement

After lessons is very important to give your child positive encouragement about being brave and trying something new. Don’t forget children are actually learning even if they are crying. Muscles are being built, coordination is increased, correct patterns are developing in the brain, and breathing control is increased

How Long Is Too Long?

How long is too long for your child to cry in swim lessons? On average, most swim students that cry have stopped after the third lesson. At the very least you should notice that the crying is diminishing. If not, it is possible that your child may need a private lesson. Some children are much more comfortable with the undivided attention of a caring teacher.

Our teachers are trained to deal with the most fearful of students and our deck managers are always on hand to assist if necessary. We use simple distraction techniques; toys, songs and games to help calm if you need help getting your child into the pool, please ask our staff for assistance and be sure to let us know any information that will help us get to know your child better (favorite toys, special songs, heroes, etc.). We will gladly get your child in the water and swimming happily in no time!

8. How long will it take my child to learn how to swim?

As the parent of a young child you are no doubt aware that each child is an individual and there are very few “rules” when it comes to learning new physical skills. Remember back to when your child learned to walk. Think how long it took them to learn; and they practiced that every day, all day!!! Learning to swim is teaching your child a completely different kind of motor skill unlike any other. There are also several fear factors that potentially come into play. Learning to be comfortable in the water, putting their face in the water, learning to breath correctly and then to push off from the side and trust the water to hold them up. These are major psychological steps. The Schafer Sports Center instructors are committed to allowing each child to learn and develop at their own pace. We see learning to swim as part of a bigger picture and we value the opportunity to invest our lives in your children and accomplish our mission of growing happy, healthy responsible kids who love to learn.

9. How many days per week should my child attend classes?

Our schedule is set up for the convenience of busy families. You can attend as little as one class per week or as many as seven. Consistency and repetition is the key to success; therefore, the more classes per week you can attend the faster your student will learn… especially beginning students. Once your child is comfortable in the water and learns the fundamentals, once or twice a week is acceptable.

10. How can parents help their children improve their swimming skills?

First, ask him/her to swim using the skills they learned during class. Remember, practice only makes permanent, perfect practice makes perfect. Take advantage of family swim and practice times. Second, encourage him/her to swim with their face in the water. Third, the body should be horizontal in the water when making forward progress. Finally, try to reassure your children that the water is a fun activity.

11. May I request a specific teacher?

Yes, you may request a teacher and we will do everything possible to fulfill your request, but unfortunately we can’t guarantee your child’s placement with a specific instructor. All Schafer Sports Center instructors are safety-certified and trained to our standards to ensure quality and consistency in every class.

12. My child has hit a plateau, what can I do to help?

Plateaus are common, especially when a child gets to levels that tend to be difficult (i.e. the Advanced Preschool and Breather levels, Advanced levels). Our teachers are sensitive to these issues and are trained to motivate and guide swimmers through these difficult levels. As a parent, it’s important to remain positive and supportive to help the child work through these times. If you are concerned about your child’s progress, please talk to your swim coach, Assistant Director or Director for advice on working through the possible plateaus.

13. Will swimming cause ear infections?

There are two main types of ear infections — middle and outer ear infections. Middle ear infections are usually a complication of a cold or virus, where the Eustachian tube becomes clogged with mucus and the pressure in the ear rises and the ear becomes infected fluid. Outer ear infections (also known as “swimmer’s ear”) commonly occur in children who spend a lot of time in the water. Too much moisture in the ear can irritate and break down the skin in the canal, allowing bacteria or fungi to penetrate. To prevent the latter, children should gently dry their ears with a towel and help water run out of their ears by turning their heads to the side. Using over-the-counter drops of a diluted solution of acetic acid or alcohol in the ears after getting them wet can also help as long as the child does not have ear tubes or a hole in the eardrum. Swimming does not cause the middle ear infections. Children with ventilation tubes in their ears can still swim, but should wear ear plugs, a tight fitting cap, and should not swim deeper than a foot below the surface of the water.

14. Proper Hydration – Why are my kids so tired and hungry after swimming?

Certainly swimming is a physical activity but ½ hour of swimming often seems to be much more exhausting than ½ hour of other sports activities. If your child is in an upper level class, the answer may lie in your water bottle. Proper hydration is very important particularly in a warm water facility like Schafer Sports Center. It’s easy, and common, to mistakenly figure that because your sweat isn’t obvious, that it’s not happening. You can sweat off 6 to 8 ounces every 15 minutes in the pool. Following are some Smart Swimmer Drinking Rules:

  1. Take a healthy swig of fresh water (not pool water) every 15 minutes.
  2. Pre-hydrate. Drink 2 to 3 cups of water an hour before swimming.
  3. Drink before you are thirsty.

Staying fully hydrated will also help with the post swim munchies.

16. Why do my ears hurt when I swim to the bottom?

Water weighs approximately 60 pounds per cubic foot. It is this weight that causes the sensation of pressure. Water pressure increases by one-half pound per square inch per each foot of depth.

15. Why do some children float better than others?

With few exceptions everyone floats, however, most people think that they are the exception. The degree of buoyancy is dependent upon several factors: the ratio of fatty tissue to muscle tissue; the amount of bone mass; and lung capacity. Generally, persons who are physically fit are less buoyant. The goal of Schafer Sports Center is to teach proper body position and balance so that each swimmer can maximize their buoyancy.

17. Why do I sometimes have dry, itchy skin after swimming?

Some people are naturally more sensitive to the chemicals that are used in a pool’s purification system. There are some very important steps you can take to help prevent any adverse reactions. To protect skin and hair, you should always shower before and after using the facility. Ideally, showering should occur without soap and with cool water. This helps to cut down on any contaminants that you may be bringing into the pool as well as any with which you may leave. To prevent excessive drying of your skin and the development of any rashes, apply baby oil or highly emollient lotions to your body after showering. This is especially important if you have sensitive skin. If you use these preventative measures each time you swim in chlorine, you should not have a problem with how your skin reacts.