The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

Have You Seen that the American Academy of Pediatrics UPDATED their Guidelines?

Pediatric Drowning Prevention Guidelines Updated

By Chris Emery, Contributing Writer, MedPage Today
Published: May 24, 2010
Reviewed by Zalman S. Agus, MD; Emeritus Professor
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and
Dorothy Caputo, MA, RN, BC-ADM, CDE, Nurse Planner
Action Points  

  • Note that the American Academy of Pediatrics has updated guidelines to prevent childhood drowning.
  • Explain the risks involved with inflatable and portable pools to interested parents.

With summer around the corner, the American Academy of Pediatrics has released updated information and recommendations on water safety and drowning prevention for children.In a new policy statement and technical report published online May 24 in Pediatrics, an academy committee suggested a range of precautionary measures, including child-proofing of backyard pools, enrolling children in swimming lessons, and installation of devices to prevent children from becoming entrapped by pool and spa drains. The new guidelines were accompanied by a technical report that provided more detailed background information.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has decided to revise this policy statement because of new information and research regarding the World Health Organization’s classification of drowning, drain-entrapment and hair-entanglement injuries, dangers of inflatable and portable pools, and the possible benefit of swimming lessons for young children,” Jeffrey Weiss, MD, and other members of the AAP committee wrote.

To read the rest of the article, go to Med Page Today.

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May 24, 2010 at 7:36 pm Comments (0)

Is Your Swim School Participating in the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson?

Tomorrow, Thursday, 5/20/10, is your last chance to register your swim school to participate in The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson.   What a great way to get your local media involved in promoting swimming lessons as one of the most important ways to prevent drownings.   Make no mistake about it, drowning prevention requires  layered approach . . . but you know as well as I do, swimmers are much less likely to drown than non-swimmers!
The Swim Lessons Company and our Swim Lessons University certified staff will be part of this awesome effort by WLSL.   WLSL has will provides you with fantastic materials and press releases, not to mention they will send your local market interviews with Rowdy Gaines and Janet Evans talking about the event to help you promote your efforts through your local TV News Media.
Don’t wait, enroll today!  Here’s a sample email blast that I sent my local swim lesson parents about the event.   Because schools are still in session, we are focusing on the younger children and will teach 26 children at 10:00AM (WLSL minimum is 25):
Dear SLC Families & Friends:
I would like to have 26 students (max. of 26 spots) join me and 8 of my instructors as we’re are going to be part of The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™ Thursday, June 3rd at 10:00AM.   In a nutshell, The Swim Lessons Company (PAC Lexington location) will be one of over a hundred swim schools around the globe teaching a swim lesson simultaneously and attempting to set a new Guinness World Record!
As always, our classes will be strictly limited in size so your child will get a great class and may even be on TV.   I’m sure there will be national coverage on the event with Rowdy Gaines being the national spokesperson!   Locally, I already have WIS and ABC-25 interested in covering The Swim Lessons Company’s local contribution to the record.  The class is FREE but YOU MUST secure your child’s spot online at as all classes are strictly limited in size.
Here is how I tentatively have the course set up:
10:00AM – 10:15AM Jim will give an engaging Water Safety Presentation to all
children and families.  PLEASE arrive
by 9:40 AM!
10:15AM – 10:45AM The following schedule is online and you MUST register in advance, BUT THE CLASS IS FREE!   And again, please arrive by 9:40AM.
Section 1:   Parent & Me Small Group (Coach Jim Reiser and/or Coach Jody Langdon) –  6 spots
Section 2A: Swim 101 Trio (Coach Michelle Brown) – 3 spots
Section 2B: Swim 101 Trio (Coach Sara McCart) – 3 spots
Section 3A: Swim 101 Trio (Coach Drew Clark) – 3 spots
Section 3B: Swim 101 Trio (Coach Annie Flick) – 3 spots
Section 4:   Swim 102 (Coach Jason Jacobs &  Marin Peplinski) – 8 spots
* Coach Michelle Klaus  – floater

You can learn more out about the program at
BUT you must register on ours at
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May 19, 2010 at 6:32 pm Comment (1)

Wetsuits and Swimming Lessons

Have you ever tried a wetsuit for teaching?

Have you ever thought about a wetsuit for your “learn-to-swim” students?

While I started wearing a wetsuit back when I taught in “unheated  pools,” now even when I teach in heated, warm water pools (87 plus degrees)–I won’t teach in anything else!


  1. I’m a better teacher when I’m warm!
  2. I use a fraction of the sunscreen which is not only quite convenient, my savings in sunscreen probably will pay for the wetsuit in a few years (as much as I’m in the pool)!
  3. When I wear my speedos, my fellow male instructors are usually intimidated by my overpowering muscular physique (LOL)!

What about babies & young children?

Both of my boys, Jeb almost 7 and Nolan  20 mos., love to wear their wetsuits.  Now that Jeb is getting a little order, he doesn’t wear it exclusively, but he still wears it alot.   In fact, last summer we visited Johnstown, PA and went swimming at the Windber Recreation Pool.   Even though the water was like 75 degrees tops, Jeb had a blast and was in the pool for hours because of his wetsuit.

The Konfidence swimming wetsuits such as the Baby Warma and  the Child’s Swimming Wetsuit are just awesome investments.   Not only are the children happier in the pool because they are warm, I have found there are several other benefits:

1.  The neoprene material lasts forever!  Nolan is now wearing Jeb’s old wetsuit and it’s in fantastic condition.

2.  Children don’t grow out of the wetsuits overnight.  With adjustable velcro shoulder straps, Jeb probably got two years out of this first wetsuit that Nolan is now wearing.

3.  Even when the water is warm, even 85 degree air can feel cool when your wet if there’s a little breeze.   But with the wetsuit on, your child never catches a chill!

And of course all the same benefits I mentioned for adults or swim teachers apply to children, such as sunscreen savings and UV protection.  If you thought you or your child liked the pool before, wait until you get a wetsuit–you’ll never get out!

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April 4, 2010 at 11:18 am Comments (0)

WHY NOT 1X Swim Lesson per Week?

Listen, 1x per week of swimming lessons is clearly 100% better than ZEROx per week, and 1x per week is a great way to maintain swimming skills over the winter and certainly make some improvement.

However, IF you increase the frequency of swim lessons/practice from 1x per week to 2x per week you will CLEARLY see a significant difference in the speed/rate of improvement.  STUDY AFTER STUDY clearly suggest when you increase frequency, you increase the learning rate.

As a parent of two young children (and one on the way:)–I UNDERSTAND HOW NICELY ONCE PER WEEK fits  in our busy schedules and I am okay with that in the fall and winter.  But when spring time comes, it’s time to increase the frequency. LEARNING TO SWIM is so important for the safety of our children.

Soccer, Karate, Basketball, Gymnastics, Dance, etc. are all skills that are TERRIFIC for young children to be exposed to and learn.  But if your child is going to master a musical instrument, excel at a sport, or if you are just trying to stay fit– do you really think once per week is enough?  How much weight will you lose if you diet and exercise once per week?

Summer is coming and coming fast!  In fact, if your child starts swimming lessons on March 15th and goes 2x per week until June 1st–you will get 22 lessons in before summer.  On average, it takes a 20-30 lessons for a 3 – 5 year old to learn to swim across the pool without a flotation device or assistance from a teacher.

So WHY NOT 1X PER WEEK?  I suppose you know now:)  If you live in the midlands of South Carolina–enroll your child in a swimming class today at The Swim Lessons Company.

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February 3, 2010 at 7:57 pm Comments (0)

Should you DUNK Babies in Swimming Lessons?

Should babies be DUNKED in swimming lessons?  Listen to this FREE PODCAST!

New podcast will be posted on the website approximately every two weeks and they will be announced in our newsletter.  If you are not already signed up to receive the free newsletter, sign up today at

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January 27, 2010 at 5:10 pm Comments (0) features Jim Reiser’s article on Swim Lessons Plans

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Would you like to learn an easy way to construct great swim lesson plans for your beginner swimmers? It’s as easy as 1-2-3! Read on!


  1. Determine what skills are most age-appropriate to teach your beginner swimmers on a daily basis. The age of your students does dictate what skills are appropriate, but in general, you will spend time each class on kicking, breath control, breath holding, in-line kick (prone kick), back kick, and some type of swim (depends on age and skill readiness).
  2. Determine an age-appropriate total class length time. For preschoolers, 20 – 30 minutes is standard. One important consideration on whether you go 20, 25, or 30-minutes is the number of children in the class. A 20-minute class may be enough for a private lesson for a 3 or 4 year old–but is NOT enough time if you have two or more children in the class. In that case, go with a 25-30 minute lesson for beginner preschool age swimmers.
  3. Determine how much time you will allocate to each skill so that you can spend some time on each of the skills you would like your student to learn. Of course there may be classes where you don’t get through everything and that’s okay. But be careful not to “overstay your welcome” on any given skill AND realize that there is both skill and confidence transfer. In other words, when a child becomes more proficient at one skill that helps his/her confidence to improve the other skills and vice versa. One more tip, always try to spend time on the “swimming skill” which is usually allocated for the end of the class. As a rule of thumb–if you’re going to skip something, skip a drill instead of the main skill.
  4. Determine a set of progressions for each skill. For example, the end product for the “in-line kick/prone kick” would be that the child can kick with their face in the water, arms extended for 10 feet or so without any buoyancy props. However, the progression you predetermine may be in three stages: Stage 1: Use a barbell, arms extended, blowing bubbles. Stage 2: Use a barbell, arms extended, face in the water. Stage 3: Eliminate the barbell, arms extended, face in the water.
  5. Determine what cues or buzzwords you will use for each skill. For example, when teaching breath control, your buzzwords may be “breathe in your mouth, blow out your mouth and your nose.”
  6. Determine what equipment, toys, or props that you will need for your class. For example you may want to have kickboards, noodles, barbells, etc. available for your class.
  7. Determine a general level of proficiency that you will require the student to have mastered before advancing your student to a new stroke, skill set, etc.


Watch some highlights of author, Jim Reiser, using his lesson plans for teaching beginners to swim.

Sources and Citations

  • Original Source:
  • For specific lesson plans for all ages and skill levels, visit Swim Lessons University today!

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Write Swim Lesson Plans for Beginner Swimmers. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

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January 22, 2010 at 4:23 pm Comments (0)

What does it mean to Learn to Swim?

My Definition of Swimming and Swimming Skill Benchmarks

What does it mean to learn to swim?  In an effort to help my “swim lessons parents” understand what a child can potentially learn at a variety of ages, I developed a list of “Swimming Skill Benchmarks”  for infants, toddlers, and young children.  Because the question, “How long will it take my child to learn to swim” is asked so often, I thought it would be helpful to define swimming in terms of a child’s reasonable capabilities at a variety of ages.   This, of course, is assuming the child is being instructed by a swimming professional (not your local pool lifeguard).

While I don’t believe it is necessary or even a good idea for children should  to be enrolled in swimming lessons 12 months out of the year, I do believe that learning to swim should be TOP PRIORITY and even take priority over other activities (if necessary).   To clarify further, my own children participate in a variety of activities for both fitness and skill acquisition, i.e., soccer, basketball, karate, and gymnastics to name a few.   Nevertheless–it is my professional opinion as both a physical educator and water safety professional every child should be able to swim freestyle and backstroke across a pool (5 year old benchmark below) by 6 years of age.  AND I don’t think that spending month after month in other activities INSTEAD of learning to swim, for example, is a good idea.  Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children age five and under for a reason, and while  learning to swim should never replace Constant Adult Supervision–it does save many more lives than t-ball, soccer, dance, etc.

It is very important to me that the following set of benchmarks be used to help parents understand what their child is capable of doing in terms of swimming skills, but this list should NEVER be used as a critique of any kind.  Children should be allowed to progress at their own pace in a child-friendly, child-centered environment.  FOR YOUR CHILD’S SAKE–KEEP THESE SIMPLE GUIDELINES IN MIND:

  1. Encourage and complement your child on what he/she is doing well.
  2. Leave the constructive criticisms to the teacher.
  3. Love and support your child unconditionally.

You want your child to develop a life long love affair with the water.  Allow him/her to progess at their own pace.   With that in mind, here are my SWIMMING SKILL BENCHMARKS:

3 months: Baby is capable of happily having water gently poured over the head using our conditioning method (as shown in my Bathtub Baby 101 DVD available on our website for just $19.00).

6 months: Baby is capable of performing a “brief underwater pass” with our Parent & Me class experiences.

12 months:  Baby is capable of a “brief underwater swim” with our Parent & Me class experiences.

18 months: Toddler is capable of maneuvering himself thru the water for 3-5 seconds using the legs for propulsion (independently from mom/dad to the teacher) with our Parent & Me class experiences.

24 – 36 months:

  • Toddler is capable of getting back to the side of the pool from a sitting entry with our Parent & Me class experiences.
  • 30 months: Toddler is capable of swimming with face in the water for 7-10 feet with our Parent & Me class experiences.
  • 36 months: Toddler is capable of getting back to the side of the pool from a standing entry with our Parent & Me class experiences.

3 ½ years: Child is capable of swimming with the face in the water and breathing as needed using a “pop-up breath” or “roll-over breath” with our Swim 101 class experiences.

4 years: Child is capable of swimming freestyle with the face-in-the-water for 20 feet with our Swim Strokes 201 class experiences.

5 years: Child is capable of swimming Freestyle with side breathing and Backstroke for 30 feet with our Swim Strokes 201 class experiences.

6 years: Child is capable of swimming a 100-yard individual medley (25 yards of each stroke:  butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle) competently with Advanced Swim Strokes 301 class and our entry-level swim team class experiences.

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January 17, 2010 at 10:45 pm Comments (0)

American Swimming Coaches Association announces Learn to Swim Clinic in Washington, DC

Mark your calendars for April 10th, 2010 to attend a terrific  one day conference.   The clinic will be held near Washington, DC in Gaithersburg, Maryland and costs just $49.00!

Speakers include

  • Jim Reiser, “The Swim Professor” &  founder of Swim Lessons University
  • Steve Fenning, Owner of Vero Beach FL SwimAmerica
  • Steve Haufler, Head Coach of the Orinda Country Club/Head Coach Orinda Aquatics.

What will you learn  and what is the schedule like?

9:00 – 10:00             Jim Reiser “Teaching Babies Better”

10:15 – 11:15          Steve Fenning “Teaching Beginners Freestyle and Backstroke”

11:30 – 12:30          Steve Haufler “Teaching Butterfly and Breaststroke”

12:30 – 1:30             Lunch Break

1:30 – 2:30               Jim Reiser “Presenting a Water Safety Lesson”

Pool Demonstrations

2:45 – 3:45               Steve Haufler “Teaching of Butterfly and Breaststroke”

4:00 – 5:00               Steve Fenning “Teaching of Freestyle and Backstroke”

Location:  Quince Orchard Swim & Tennis Club, 16601 Roundabout Drive, Gaithersburg, MD  20875.

For more information or to register, call Julie Nitti at 1-800-356-2722!

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January 6, 2010 at 8:22 pm Comments (0)

WikiHow names “How to Choose a Swim Instructor” a Rising Star

Jim Reiser’s article,  How to Choose a Swim Instructor, was selected as a “Rising Star” and featured on the WikiHow home page under “new articles.”

By the way, Swim Lessons University’s feature of the week is “Bathtub Baby 101,” How to Make Bath Time Your Baby’s First Swimming Lesson, and it is discounted this week only by 20%!  So you can have it now for just $15.00!

This DVD is especially helpful for parents with babies between the ages 4 weeks and 6 months, helping parents get their baby more prepared for their first swimming lesson.  Because most swim schools don’t start formal instruction until at least 6 months of age, this is the perfect starter DVD for every parent of a newborn baby!

To learn more about it, view the sample video now!

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December 15, 2009 at 3:06 pm Comments (0)

N.Y. Times Co.,, publishes article on Swim Lessons and Dunking Babies

Dunking Infants and Babies is always a big topic of discussion when it comes to learn-to-swim and swimming lessons for infants and toddlers.    Should baby swimmers or toddler swimmers be dunked or not?

View my recent article on and the five rules I train swim instructors to follow when it comes to Infant-toddler swim classes.

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December 10, 2009 at 5:59 pm Comments (0)

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