How Aura’s Adult Swim Classes are inspiring water confidence
The swimming pool at Buckley Leisure Centre is one of three managed by Aura Wales. Catering for beginners, as well as those who wish to improve their technique, the adult swimming classes at Buckley aim to encourage water confidence and to support anyone seeking well-being through swimming. The classes run on Tuesday 10.00-11.00am, Thursday 8.30-9.00pm, and Sunday 10.30-11.15am (advanced) and 11.15am-12.00pm (beginner).
James Wallace – or Jim as he is known to the Aura team – wanted to share his thoughts as one of the swimming instructors who takes the class. Here’s what he had to say:
“I was took on as a life guard 26 years ago and started doing the adult classes about two years ago. It’s aimed at adults of all ages who either cannot swim at all or would like to improve. Those who attend are fantastic and have progressed so much; some of the participants are even going to be completing a 1 mile swim for charity here at Buckley Leisure Centre.”
With a big smile on his face, Jim relayed a story about one participant in particular who he helped learn to swim: “there was a lady who came who, at the time, was 82; she explained to me that learning to swim was on her bucket list. She learnt to swim here with us and we are so glad to have helped her achieve her goal; that’s one thing she can tick off the bucket list now!”
Jim’s passion for teaching and desire to help people feel confident in themselves shines through; he explained how he wants to help people overcome their fear of the water: “in some cases, confidence is non-existent at the beginning: that’s one of the first things we try to conquer together. The first barrier to overcome is getting into the leisure centre. There is no pressure to learn straight away; the most important thing for me is to get them in the water and help them feel comfortable moving around.”
He spoke fondly about how rewarding he finds teaching, saying his favourite part is: “seeing their faces when they start to swim, or seeing them get to that point where they finally feel confident in themselves. Witnessing the moment they have the confidence to put their faces in the water is wonderful. There’s no turning back from there!”
“Some adults who cannot swim have a real fear of the water that has built up over a period of time. In some cases, something has happened in the past to scare them, resulting in a genuine fear of the water. That’s why we are so proud when we see them in the water, let alone swimming. It’s really something.”
“Some people attend the class to be able to swim when they go on holiday with children or grandchildren. It’s amazing how much some of them have progressed; some are even diving now and doing tumble turns. When they say to me “I can’t do that”, I just say “we’ll see”, and watch them progress and progress. If you don’t want to give it a go on the first time, that’s absolutely fine: just come and watch and see what you think. There is no pressure to get in the water or do anything you don’t want to do.”
One participant expressed her gratitude to Jim, saying: “I was petrified and had no confidence, now I’m full of confidence. Everyone is so supportive, from the reception to the instructors, they know all our names. Even though there is a group of us, Jim helps us individually. If anyone can teach you to swim its Jim: he’s marvellous”.
Another said: “we all encourage each other. We couldn’t do a width or length but now there is no stopping us!”
Well done to everyone who attends the classes and well done to Jim for inspiring us all!