Children and adults have splashing time at swimming school
I AM not a great swimmer so I am determined to make sure that my daughter, Olivia, is a good, happy, confident swimmer.
I have taken her to the local swimming pool since she was six months old to get her used to being in the water. But, as she approached her second birthday, I felt it was time she was taught some proper skills.
Zara Trickett runs Splash Swimming School to boost water confidence among children and adults GARETH WILLIAMS EE131008_GW20_01
I found the Splash Swim School on the internet and managed to get Olivia a place on the Saturday morning classes.
We have been going for a couple of weeks now and Olivia loves it. Her confidence grows with each session and I know she is part of a school that will teach her the skills that will enable her to enjoy the water for the rest of her life.
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Splash is run by Zara Trickett and her team of coaches and they provide professional swimming lessons in the Exeter and Clyst St Mary areas. They run classes for babies, children and adults.
Zara set the school up in July 1999 and it is a family business, based at her home in Exminster. When she first started she taught 23 pupils — Splash now teaches around 450 swimmers a week.
"My first child Eve was just five months old when I set the school up," said Zara. "So one of the first classes I taught was an adult and child class. Some of the children from that group are now swimming competitively for Exeter City Swimming Club — including Eve.
"My second child, Joshua, was born two years later and when they were both at school I expanded the business further."
Zara had always personally enjoyed swimming. She trained as a PE teacher and liked teaching swimming classes.
"I worked as a sports development officer for more than three years and knew that I had the skills to set up and run my own swim school," she said.
She was a modern pentathlete at Millfield School, taught by Great Britain coach Paddy Garrett.
Splash offers a wide variety of classes, held at the Stable Club at Friends Provident and St Luke's university pool.
"I am passionate about providing child friendly, high quality lessons," said Zara. "We currently offer lessons for babies (four months +) through to adults, from non-swimmers to competitive swimmers.
"At Splash, we specialise in stroke efficiency, water confidence and learning through fun. We have links with Exeter City Swimming Club, Exeter Water Polo Club and Exeter Synchronised Swimming Club."
Olivia and I go to the adult and child sessions at the Stable Club and it is great fun. Olivia's dad also comes along and we take it in turns each week to either swim with her or watch.
The classes start with the children sitting on the side of the pool and the parents in the water.
With help from the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty, the children are lifted into the water. We then get to chase fish, put balls in hoops and play with watering cans.
Although games to Olivia, they are devised to encourage her to swim — reaching out with her arms to collect fish and kicking her legs to propel her faster.
Most of the youngsters at Splash have been regulars since they were small and the parents cannot praise the school highly enough.
"The lessons are fantastic," said happy mum, Anne. "My daughter Izzy has loved them and learnt so much. Her enjoyment of the lessons and swimming has given her confidence in other areas."
Proud mum Trish said the classes helped transform her son, Laurie, over the past seven years.
For more information about classes, call Zara on 01392 833075 or visit www.splashswim.co.uk.