Why make it so hard to take children swimming?

Child admission policies making swimming so hard

Swimming is an activity that we want to do as much as possible with M and so far she absolutely loves but on a recent swim with family I couldn't believe how difficult it was for three adults and four children to go swimming!

Our group (which had three responsible adults) consisted of two one year olds who obviously can't swim and two good swimmers aged four and seven. The two eldest children have never used swim aides. The eldest has been swimming unaided for years and the four year has been able to swim without help for over a year.

I have been swimming a few times with all the kids and have witnessed both of the older children swimming well, long distances and having the time of their lives, all without armbands or buoyancy devices so imagine our shock when we got told that we could only go swimming if one of the four or seven year old kids had to wear some form of swimming aid! We could not believe it. None of the children we had wore any form of flotation device. The four year old, who would have been the one to be forced to wear something that would hinder rather than help her to swim, certainly would never wear anything and now we were being told we had to go backwards with swimming training rather than forwards. yes we agreed to it but really?

Apparently 0-4 year olds have to be watched on a 1-1 basis. If there was two 4-7 year olds to one adult one or both had to wear armbands. Really? At 7 I was regularly going to swimming training, taking part in swimming galas and do length after length of the pool. If you had two 7 year olds who were doing likewise one would still have to wear armbands???

I can understand that not all children of these ages can swim strongly but there should be something that you can do to prove your swimming ability before you are refused entry to a pool. I am sure she would have been happy to do a few widths of the pool to prove it but we couldn't reason with the staff.

When I was young my parents told me that they had the same problem. At just one and a half years old I decided I did not want to wear my floatation vest so when my parents were not looking I took it off and jumped into the pool, came to the surface and "swam". From then on I could swim on my own and would not entertain wearing anything to help me swim - I could do it myself. At the time I was known at the local pool and at 2 I was jumping off the spring board. The lifeguards let me because they knew I was a strong swimmer and ahead of my peers but one day a new lifeguard was on duty and he wouldn't let me good off the board. I was told that at 2 I put my hands on my hips and said I could swim, jumped in and did a width with ease (after he said I could only go on a board if a did a width of the pool). After doing my width he quickly said the rules had changed and I had to do two widths so off I went, with ease I did two widths, pulled myself out, hands on hips and just said "Well!". He couldn't refuse after that!

It makes me think that once Button is welcomed into the world and we have a third child we will find it incredibly hard to go swimming without taking another adult along with us even if our children are happy and strong swimmers.

With everyone trying to encourage children to be more active why on earth would you make taking a family of three children swimming so difficult?

Training Mummy

Training Mummy is a 30 something mum to two beautiful children - a girl born February 2014 and a boy born in October 2015.


  1. I have only taken Emma swimming three times, as it is impossible for me to take both her and Daniel together. I understand the rules but it is so frustrating xx

  2. Oh what a horrible experience! What happens if you have twins? What happens there?! Yes I understand the rules but surely if they could prove - like you suggested - they would be left to swim unaided!