Forget the Floaties: Four Common Swim Mistakes

Alamo City Moms Blog is happy to partner with Love to Swim and Tumble School to share this relevant message on water safety and the importance of swim lessons for kids.

In South Texas, swim season is almost half the year. Our multiple months of warm—OK, swelteringly hot—weather give us ample time for being in water. Our friends at Love to Swim are passionate about creating safe swimmers and educating both kids and parents on water safety. Mary Reilly-Magee, the owner of Love to Swim and Tumble School, is a frequent speaker about water safety at local parent group meetings. Her recent blog post, Smart Parents Avoid These 4 Common Swim Mistakes, highlights common mistakes that parents inadvertently make with their kids and water.

Relying on floaties 

  • Beware of the life-jacket/floaties bicycle kick. These flotation devices encourage a vertical body position in the water. Kiddos get results from bicycling their legs in this position when they have the floaties on. Take the floatie away, and you have an active drown victim who cannot propel themselves forward because their kick is underneath them and not propulsive.

Underestimating the necessity of propulsive kicks 

  • Body position in the water should be horizontal. This can be challenging but must be encouraged to develop core strength and propulsive movement.
  • The flutter kick is a swimmer’s motor. You want it strong and consistent.
  • Kicks should be at the surface and from the hip, not the knee.
  • Encourage loose ankles and straight, but not rigid, legs.

Failure to practice back floating

  • Back floating is a lifesaving skill. This is the resting place for tired swimmers.
  • Back floating is one of the most overlooked skills in recreational swimming.
  • Practice a deep head position with the water at the corners of the eyes and the entire head of hair submerged.

Encouraging breath holding instead of air exchange

  • Breath holding is fatiguing. Real swimmers blow bubbles.
  • Releasing air underwater creates space to take new air into the lungs quickly. Ultimately, this exchange should become a habit.
  • Exhaling through the nose is the best! This is accomplished through a simple hum. Do this and water will not go up the nose!


Love to Swim School, Schertz location, photographed Thursday, September 8, 2016. Photo©Bahram Mark Sobhani

Thank you to Love to Swim for the practical and life saving tips. A safe swimmer is a confident swimmer, and a confident swimmer is well suited for life in South Texas. Love to Swim and Tumble School starts swim classes as early as six weeks old. It’s never too early (or too late) to learn to love to swim. Learn more about the classes offered at their three San Antonio area locations by visiting their website.


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