A NORTH EAST swimming instructor is hoping to make waves and save lives by offering lessons in the pool – for free.
Matt Thompson, Director of Swim North East, is offering a free swimming lesson to youngsters and adults interested in improving their technique; whether they are a complete beginner or competent swimmer.
Swim NE is a local company founded in Newcastle in 2006 by 32-year-old Phillip Groom.
It’s all part of the national Drowning Prevention Week, which runs from June 20th – 28th, in a bid to get people more confident in the water and keep them safe in the peak swimming season.
Matt, whose company delivers swimming lessons at centres across Tyneside and Teesside, said: “Drowning can happen to anyone of any age so it is really important that people brush up on their swimming skills.“It is one of the only sports where learning how to do it can save your life, but it is not something that can really be self taught like running. If you are not a confident swimmer you won’t just turn up at a swimming pool and improve over time – you need support and guidance to do it. That is where we can help.”
The Registered Aquatic Professional believes that people often overlook swimming until the summer holiday period, and this lack of experience can lead to danger.
He added: “When people go on holiday they often have a pool at their villa or hotel, or go swimming in the sea, but it is quite easy to go out of your depth and get into danger.“Adults often panic when they see their children having a dip in the pool if they are not confident swimmers, and then it can get passed on to the child.
“We want people to enjoy the water, enjoy swimming and to stay safe. Drowning Prevention Week starts this week and is all about promoting water safety and reducing the incidents of drowning, so what better way than to teach or remind people how to stay safe and confident in the water?”
Liz Archibald, who learned to swim aged 56 with SwimNE, thinks summer holidays are the perfect motivation for people to learn or refresh their swimming skills.
She said: “It is a great idea to have a lesson before your summer holiday because you learn certain techniques and skills and it is fresh in your head. That one lesson might inspire you to carry on and improve your techniques, but even if it doesn’t it is always great to improve on what you can already do. I am proof you are never too old!
“I can’t recommend Swim North East enough, the instructors tailor the lessons to suit your needs and are so patient and encouraging, for me it was just what I needed and I can’t thank them enough.”
The 59-year-old of Dumpling Hall, Newcastle, says it was her own summer holidays that finally gave her the push she needed to take the plunge and learn to swim.
She added: “I was missing out so much when we went on family holidays with my husband and son. I was always in the shallow end while they were off having fun.
“Now that I can swim it has changed everything – including my confidence. I have even been to Majorca and jumped off a boat into the sea – it was amazing and could never have dreamt of doing this before.
“It has made a huge difference to my holidays, even if we don’t go abroad. We went to the Lake District recently and it was chucking it down, but we found a local pool so we still had something to do.
“I intend to book a few lessons with Swim North East before my holiday this summer. When you are swimming on your own you can get into bad habits, take short cuts and even get worse, but having someone there watching you and advising you is fantastic – it changed my life.”
Anyone, any age can apply for the free sessions, which will be tailored to ages and ability to either build confidence in beginners or refresh existing swimming skills. The lessons will take place at Deep Blue Dive Centre pool in Whitley Bay from July 20th – 24th.
People can book by calling the Swim North East office on 0191 2817678 quoting ‘Drowning Prevention Week’.
Spaces are limited and will be offered on a first-come-first-served basis.
For more information on SwimNE and the range of lessons that they offer and locations go to: www.swimne.co.uk
Drowning Prevention Week
Drowning Prevention Week was launched by the Royal Life Saving Society UK in 2012 to promote water safety and reduce incidences of drowning.
This year, the official Drowning Prevention Week runs from 20 to 28 June 2015.
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