Conquering the fear of water

I am Shreelatha, am 30 yrs old, moved recently to Kelowna.

I have been scared of water since my childhood, but an accident that happened while canoeing got me terrified of water. I would be so scared of even standing in the swimming pool.

And being in Kelowna, you have so much water/lakes around. And while at a beach with my son, I would be terrified what if something happens and I need to get into the water.

So I decided its time to overcome my fear of water and get some swimming lessons. Thats when I reached out to Donna/WETS about adult swimming classes. Donna was so good at understanding my issues, so patient and assured me that everything would be fine. Savannah, my coach just started at a level where I was comfortable in water and slowly worked on getting me better. And with each class I could notice how I was beginning to change.

I still remember, I would go into the class still being scared of even floating. She would constantly encourage and motivate me to do better. She was teaching me to swim and also helping me overcome my fears. I still have lots to learn but am certainly in a better place than I started and definitely in good hands.

I am so glad I reached out to WETS. Donna is always available for any suggestions/advice you need and can be reached anytime. I would definitely refer WETS to anyone who wants to learn swimming.

By |February 28th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Backyard Pool Parties – what to do with no lifeguard on duty

Backyard pool parties are a fun way to cool off and enjoy the summer.

However, when you decide to host a pool party, be aware of the risks. Did you know that 15 out of 100 child drownings in Canada are occurring in backyard pools? Newswire.ca reports, “In 70 percent of child drownings in backyard pools, the pool has no fence or has a fence that does not adhere to safety bylaws.” They also add, “Sixty per cent of child drownings occur between June and August.”

One way to ensure your pool party is both fun and safe is to hire a lifeguard. 

Drowning deaths in lifeguard supervised settings such as public pools and waterfronts continue to be few. In 2009-2013 less than 2% of all water related fatalities occurred in a lifeguard supervised setting.

2016 Canadian Drowning Report – Lifesaving Society

What happens if you can’t hire a lifeguard?  

Follow these 5 steps as a Designated Water Watcher!

1. Get a Fox 40 whistler and put it on a wrist band 

2. Appoint an adult to take on the role as the Designated Water Watcher (DWW), or 2 or 3 

3. Give them the whistle on the wrist band, and some special item (hat, armband, or T-shirt) that signifies that they are the DWW  

4. They must only watch the pool.  If/when the pass the responsibilities to someone else, they must pass on the whistle and the DWW item on to the next DWW.  

5. Responsibilities are: To supervise, Enforce the rules, Keep the area clear, select a back-up person (someone specific to help if there’s a problem) Respond to an emergency, Know the address of the location.

Now you’re ready to host your fun and safe backyard pool party!


Swim Club or Not to Swim Club

Swim Club or Not to Swim Club, that is the question!

Are you thinking of putting your little one(s) in swim club? I find myself having this conversation with many parents that are inquiring about competitive swimming and here is my reply:
I was a competitive swimmer from age 8 – 17 and my daughter was from age 10 – 17. So if your swimmer is competitive, has a love for swimming, and has strong strokes than by all means go for it.

However, I find that since WETS students can learn to do front crawl and other strokes at a very early age, their parents get really excited and think that “maybe swimming is my child’s sport”, and they move from our lessons to a club. While in the club, many become disappointed and return to WETS.

The reality is – at WETS with only 4 students in a class – your swimmer is getting a lot of attention with stroke building and correction. We start with swimming short distances to build the stroke correctly and then add distance to build endurance later. In swim club there can be up to 8 swimmers in a lane, in a large pool, and there is very little stroke correction. It is difficult for a coach to evaluate strokes when the swimmers are training in a middle lane. Also, keep in mind that the public pools are noisy and wavy and can be overwhelming to young swimmers. Another thing to consider is that often swimmers get bored swimming length after length, day after day, week after week.

To help transition WETS swimmers to a swim club we have developed the WETS Squad Club. We meet once a week, have 6 swimmers in a lane, and work on the 4 competitive strokes of Front Crawl, Back Stroke, Breast Stroke and Butterfly. The swimmers are also introduced to the proper start, turn and finish for each stroke. Once a month we introduce other aquatic sports such a synchronized swimming, water polo, snorkeling and triathlons. We also participate in the Fun Mini Swim Meet in February with the Ogopogo Swim Club. If they love it you will know, and if they do make the move to a swim club they will be far better equip to meet the challenges after this experience. You, the parent, will also have an idea of what a swim meet is all about, and the volunteering that accompanies it.

Donna Morel
Owner and trainer of We Teach Swimming

wets club water polo

By |September 8th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Is Dog Paddle for Dogs? Donna says YES!

Hey, do you teach dog paddle?

Dog Paddle

First of all, hay is for horses and dog paddle is for dogs!

So no, we do not teach dog paddle.  Dog paddle is a very inferior style of swimming that some students have learned.  It is a form of swimming where the student lifts their head up out of the water while looking forward.   When a swimmer is in this position, their body will tend to drop to a vertical position, causing the swimmer to tire out quickly.

At WETS we teach the swimmers to swim on their front with their face in the water, and roll onto their back or their side to take a breath.  To swim this way keeps the swimmer in a horizontal position and can easily take a breath.  If they are in trouble and need to take a break, rolling onto their back allows them to breath for as long as they want to calm down.  They are also in a position to call for help.  If they are in this situation while doing dog paddle for any length of time, they will tire much faster, and it is much easier to choke on water, and go into a complete vertical position and slip under the water.

Dog Paddle is for DOGS.

-Donna Morel

By |June 22nd, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Try it before you buy it- Especially with team sports!

Have you ever signed up your child for a sport or activity that you thought they would LOVE, but when they tried it, it wasn’t what they thought it would be? If so, you are not alone.


An unfortunate softball career

When I was in grade 6 my parents signed me up to play in a local softball team. I had only ever played the sport in gym at school and I had a couple friends joining the team, so it seemed like a good fit… It didn’t take me very long to realize that I was very wrong- in fact I hated it! I was a nervous wreck on bat, I couldn’t take the pressure to catch a fly ball and my parents had to drive all over our city and to other cities to play weekly games. We could not wait for the season to end-I should have participated in a tournament or some kind of introduction first. Turns out I liked the game during gym class but hated it when it got competitive! This was the unfortunate result of over commitment, high expectations, and little experience.
– Story by Danielle, Swim Instructor

Canadian parents can spend between $5,000 up to $10,000 for their children to compete in competitive leagues or teams.While swimming remains a comparably affordable organized sport for children, it is important to ensure that your family resources (time, money, energy) are spent on a sport that your child enjoys and that fits with your family’s lifestyle.

It isn’t always easy to gauge whether or not a particular sport will be a fit for your child or your family.

To combat this issue in the world of swimming and Swim Clubs, WETS Swim School created SQUADS Pre-Swim Club! Try out this introduction to the swim club world before making a larger commitment.

  • Allows kids to see if this is something they like before they join a swim team.
  • Allows families and parents to experience the time commitment and volunteer hours needed to go to swim meets.
  • Allows swimmers to gain experience in a less competitive setting.
  • Prepares swimmers for joining a swim team.
  • Gives swimmers confidence to succeed at their first swim meet.

Learn more about SQUADS and the WETS Club

WETS squad team

By |January 8th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Should I put my child in swimming lessons?

3 reasons why the answer is YES.

  1. Drowning is a real risk

    WHO Global Report on Drowning

    Full report

According to the World Health Organization, drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide. Globally, the highest drowning rates are among children 1-4 years, and for children who live near open water sources, such as ditches, ponds, irrigation channels, or pools are especially at risk. Given that in the Okanagan we have many rivers, steams, and lakes, it is so important that all children learn how to swim and respect the water.

  1. This form of exercise can last a lifetime

Swimming is one of the best sports for learning coordination, balance and movement. Swimming is also very scalable offering increased resistance for increased effort. Introducing your child to swimming early on will promote a healthy life. Once your child knows how to swim, they may hop in a pool at any point in their life to get a low-risk, high-intensity workout.

  1. Starting early can save you money

The sooner children get into swimming lessons or have access to supervised play in the water, the better. When children learn to have fun in the water, they also develop their trust in the water. When children trust the water, they can learn swimming skills much faster- thus saving time and money spent on lessons! A parent who is afraid of water is likely to pass on the fear to the child. Parents can put their children in swimming lessons early on to avoid this transference.

By |November 29th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Develop Strength & Coordination Through Swimming

Posted October 20th 2015

Bringing your baby or child to the pool has positive physical, mental and emotional benefits. By keeping your babies and children active this fall and winter, they can enjoy these developmental benefits!

Getting your baby into the pool early can help improve a their co-ordination and balance. With the help from buoyancy in the water, babies can more freely move their bodies, stretch out and use different muscles than they would be able to on land. Overall, babies who swim have a much better balance out of the pool. http://www.swimming.org/go/parents/baby-swimming/

Some emotional and mental benefits for babies include bonding with the parent/guardian, increased confidence, and wellbeing and improved knowledge of safety.

According to Swimming Nation Canada, swimming skills should be introduced at very early ages. Physical activity is essential for healthy child development. Among its other benefits, physical activity enhances development of brain function, coordination, social skills, gross motor skills, emotions, leadership, and imagination. Swim Nation Canada

A young child who participates in water related activities, can experience these benefits:

  • Increased confidence and positive self-esteem
  • Strong bone and muscle development
  • Improved flexibility, posture and balance
  • Improved sleep
  • Reduced stress
  • Greater knowledge of their body and how to move skillfully Swim Nation Canada

Swimming is a sport that encourages building strength through resistance instead of weightlifting. “Resistance training including body-weight-caring exercises can benefit young bodies and prepare them for active lives” reports Reuters Health.

By using the water for resistance, each workout is scalable. The Mayo Clinic endorses that swimming promotes greater lung capacity and cardiovascular health. Mayo Clinic

With fall already here and winter just around the corner, keep your children active in the cooler months by signing up for swim lessons or water sports.

Babies at Bath Time

Posted October 6th 2015

Making the water a fun and safe place can start during a newborn baby’s first bath. In warm bath water, a baby can be naturally comfortable as a bath has a similar environment to a mother’s womb. By making every bath time a fun and relaxing experience from the start, a baby can learn to love and trust the water as they grow.

Baby in Bath

Start with sponges and cloths to wash the baby’s face and hair. It is important that the water moves down their face instead of up. This will prevent the water going up their nose. During each bath time, the baby should experience getting their face wet. As they grow older their faces should be wet often during bath time. Allow them to explore kicking and slashing- even making a little mess with the water! If the baby gets splashed accidently, smile and make a positive remark. By using positive language and expressions, the baby will pick up on this and learn that it is good to get their faces wet!

As the baby gets older, introduce different ways of getting their face wet. Use different bath toys such as a small plastic colander from the dollar store. It will be worth spending a few dollars to make the experience fun and interactive. Scoop the warm water with the colander and let the water gently wet the back of the baby’s head. As they become more comfortable, use more water and get more of their head, face and body wet. Eventually when they can scoop the water themselves, encourage them to wash their body, head and face with the colander.

A fun way to interact with the water differently is by introducing a shower. While singing a song such as the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” move in and out of the water stream allowing the water to pour down the baby’s face. While you sing “down came the rain” step into the stream, and while you sing “washed the spider out” step out of the stream.

Bath Time Safety Tips

  • Always make sure the baby or child- no matter what age is supervised during bath time. This includes the filling and draining of the tub. A child can drown in less than an inch of water.
  • Always make sure toys are added to the bath AFTER the baby or child is in the tub. This prevents them from crawling into the tub to get the toys.
  • Test the water temperature before the baby enters and watch for signs of the baby getting cold.
By |October 22nd, 2015|Baby Swim Tips|0 Comments|