Distance swims… why are they important?

We are proud at Paul Sadler Swimland to not only offer, but actively encourage our swimmers to become competent distance swimmers as part of our program. Children in our Learn to Swim program will complete a 1km swim in under 30 minutes as part of their work towards their level 12 certificate. This is a vital life-saving milestone as we know that with this, children will have the poise and stamina to get out of almost any life threatening aquatic situation that they may be in.

To reach their Diploma, swimmers will then build on this 1km swim and turn it into a 3km swim. These are amazing achievements and we are both proud and awed to watch our awesome swimmers reach these goals at such a young age.

We are deeply passionate about distance swims as part of our program because we want to ensure that any child who enters our program, leaves with a skill for life that equips them for being safer in the water.

The transition from swimming pools (as a controlled environment) to open water is considerable – with 1km in the pool being the equivalent to around 100m (approximately 10%) in the open water. Therefore often children who appear strong swimmers in pools can still be at risk in the open water. Children who can reach distance swims of 1km or more will have both the skills and poise to manage the open water more confidently.

One of the most difficult water experiences anyone could find themselves in is a rip. By building our swimmers skill levels so they can confidently swim 1km, we are building their skills in order to help them if they were to ever find themselves in a rip situation. A rip will generally carry a swimmer out 30-40 metres, the swimmer should then swim parallel to the shoreline for 10 or so metres and then swim back in with the waves. By swimmers being able to swim 1km or more in a controlled environment and therefore approximately 10% in an open water environment, we are equipping them with the skills to feel confident, have poise and know they can swim the distance required to be safer and handle these tricky situations.

As part of our program, once swimmers have completed their 1km swim, they are then eligible to participate in our Open Water Experience, which is held each Summer. This further equips our swimmers for the reality of the open water, (directly providing a simulation of managing a rip) and how their skills adapt for this different environment.

Our 1km swim events are held each quarter with swimmers from all of our pools. Our 3km and 5km swims are also held each quarter and we then offer 7km and 5 hour swim events once per year.

Embedding survival skills throughout our program means that we have ensured that these distance swims are an integral part of who we are and what we aim to do – to help swimmers be safer in the water.

Good luck to all of our distance swimmers in the coming weeks as we host our 3km+ events.