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The world’s first online artistic swimming courses

Updated: Jun 15, 2022

The world’s first online artistic swimming courses targeted at swimming instructors have been launched by the STA (Swimming Teachers Association) and Aquabatix, the leading company in aquatic entertainment.

Titled Experience and Explore & Expression, the courses will guide swimming teachers through how to teach the basics of artistic swimming. Artistic swimming, formerly known as synchronised swimming, is a fusion of swimming, gymnastics, acrobatic moves and dance in water that is experienced as individuals or within a group of any age and ability.

Artistic swimming improves stroke efficiency, water confidence, survival techniques, coordination, underwater orientation and provides new opportunities to explore creative, fun and expressive movements.

Learning how to teach these skills will help swimming instructors develop new ideas for movement and creativity in water. This will not only add more variety and fun to their lessons, but allows swimming instructors to up-skill in an aquatic discipline that is currently not accessible in many communities. The online courses content covers a huge range of skills from stroke creativity, team work and how to create sequences of movements in water (choreography), as well as mastering the art of sculling, eggbeater and underwater swimming, including breath control.

Aquabatix founders, Katie Fried and Adele Carlsen, wrote and produced the content for the online courses, have both enjoyed long and extensive international careers in artistic swimming. They created Aquabatix in 2006 with the goal of changing the perception of the sport and to develop and promote it as an art and entertainment form. In writing the online courses, Katie & Adele wanted to share their knowledge and experience and along with the STA, bring the joy of artistic swimming to the masses making it accessible to everyone.

The courses were designed to provide aquatic teaching professionals the skills they need to teach artistic swimming to participants of any age, gender and ability (after the beginner level) artistic. Each online course features comprehensive and easy to follow visual content with pool demonstrations by double Olympian Katie Clark and artistic swimmer Connor Hill, as well as a team of artistic swimmers from Aquabatix. Clear commentary is provided for every video clip along with text and interactive sections for the teachers to reinforce the skills they are learning.

Emma Robinson from Emma’s Otters Swimming School had this to say: “I have found Experience to be one of the best online courses I have ever done and it was really easy to follow and well laid out."

One of the key aims of launching the online courses, was to offer swimming instructors another revenue stream for their business. There are many ways the artistic swimming skills can be used across the range of activities offered by swimming instructors. For example, one skill can be taught as the contrasting activity at the end of a class and over a period of time, the participants will learn the full range of basic skills. The online courses contain enough new material to offer taster sessions, run a mini course in the school holidays, or offer artistic swimming birthday parties.

Also, artistic swimming is not easily accessible within many communities across the UK and around the world. Historically, a swimming instructor would have needed to complete an expensive, five-day onsite training course to become an assistant artistic swimming instructor. After this, an instructor would need to complete a further five day onsite course to become a fully qualified instructor before they could teach any specialist skills to a group of participants.

By developing the online artistic swimming courses, we have created a more convenient and achievable route for swimming instructors to learn new skills, achieve their objectives using unique content and offer them to a grassroots, community audience. The courses are CIMPSA accredited and have each been awarded half a CPD point by the STA.

By creating this series Experience, Explore & Expression, we hope to inspire aquatic teachers to deliver new creative skills and imaginative content during their swimming lesson programmes in a fun and engaging way to learners of all ages and abilities.

The first course titled ‘Experience’ focusses on several key areas including Body Balance, Sculling and Stroke Creativity, to enable teachers to deliver a comprehensive beginners experience of artistic swimming. It also covers Eggbeater, the form of treading water that artistic swimmers and water polo players use. Eggbeater is thought to be a safer form of treading water because if executed correctly, it is more energy efficient. If swimming teachers were able to teach eggbeater rather than the traditional form of treading water, it could save the life of someone who otherwise would become tired very quickly.

Team Work is another section featured in this online course. A lot of swimming involves participants being quite isolated from one another, so in the online artistic swimming courses, we demonstrate how to teach skills as a group and how to work together. This is achieved by teaching formations and synchronisation where everyone plays their part to be part of the team. Connection and feeling part of a team is so important for everyone and this section will really help achieve this in water.

Camilla Golledge, swimming teacher and founder of Swim Fusion, reviewed Experience and said: “The online Experience artistic swimming course has given me the skills and knowledge to run safe and fun artistic swimming lessons. In fact, it’s already made me appreciate the sculling technique more. I would highly recommend this series of courses to swimming teachers who are looking to add some creativity and variety to their lessons. This online course has made me realise how much fun there is to be had by adding this to our programme - exciting times for our swim school and customers."

The second course, Explore & Expression, covers underwater swimming and breath control, exploring body movement as an individual, with a partner or part of a team and demonstrates how a swimming teacher can create simple sequences of movements and transitions in the water.

Not every person enjoys just swimming up and down, so it is important to have the opportunity to learn how to express yourself through creative body movement in water and explore space and creativity in the water, not just by yourself but with also with others.

Each course is accompanied by six downloadable lesson plans that are easy to execute and cover all the skills taught in the online courses. Soon to be released will be certificates to reward participants on achieving several learning outcomes from each course.

"Artistic swimming has been a hit with the children so far!" said Philomena from 1st Swim School in Mid Sussex “I watched a group of ten year old boys make up their own sequence tonight during their first ever artistic swimming lesson. Most hilarious and entertaining session ever. They loved it.”

Maia, aged 12 said: “I have completed all my swimming grades so having new artistic swimming levels and certificates to aim for is a great challenge.” Ryan aged 10 added: "I always thought artistic swimming was for girls, but I get to try loads of cool new skills and swim underwater which is awesome.”

Artistic swimming is not just for children, it is a fun and challenging activity for adults too. It is fully inclusive due to it being a non weight bearing form of exercise, encourages team work and unity and participants can move in in water in ways that are impossible to do on land - a fantastic workout for the core!

Working as a team towards creating movements and formations in the water where you are all equal members working towards a common goal, has amazing benefits for your mental health. It really helps to give a deep connection in long lasting friendships which is as important as we get older as it is to children.

Mark McNichol, from In at the Deep End said this about the courses; “Easy to follow, factual and informative. I feel more comfortable to integrate artistic swimming into my lessons and produce mini schemes of work. The artistic swimming courses are well planned and delivered, I love how you get videos throughout. Thoroughly recommend."

You can purchase the courses separately or together as a discounted bundle package. Click here to find out more about our online artistic swimming courses.

About Aquabatix:

Aquabatix is the world’s leading professional artistic swimming team who produce award-winning and innovative water entertainment for live events and on screen projects globally. By fusing the glamour of Hollywood with the acrobatics of an Olympic sport, they have forged their very own aquatic niche within the entertainment industry.

About STA:
Founded in 1932, STA is an award-winning charity and national governing body for swimming and lifesaving. For the past 88 years, STA has worked to create and deliver the highest standards of swimming teaching in line with their charitable objective: ‘The preservation of human life by the teaching of swimming, lifesaving and survival techniques’.
The STA Qualification Development team who have a wealth of leisure experience, work diligently to ensure everything we produce reflects the ongoing needs of employers, trainers and teachers in the workplace, in line with the latest standards.
This expertise continually drives our qualifications portfolio to ensure the best practices are delivered at a grassroots level for candidates of all ages and abilities.
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