“What Floats your Boat”
What comes to mind when you consider water safety? Many would assume being able to complete lap swimming by using one of the four swimming strokes would make one “water safe”. However this is not the case: while being water safe can make you a better swimmer, stroke swimming does not correlate to water safety. In order to get to safety one needs to conserve their energy, and one of the ways to do this is by floating.
Studies have shown that many “swimmers” could not stop and maintain a floating position. Furthermore studies have shown that many drowning survivors have stated that their failure to self rescue came from their lack of water competency(particularly in floating). Despite this many focus on their stroke competence, this is largely due to inner frustrations with the time it takes for them to accomplish the fundamental skills needed for water competence.
The key to floating is complete comfort, confidence, and control. Its getting to know your body’s relationship to the water in every aspect. Each person’s body is different, and therefore each person’s relationship to the water is different. Each swimmer needs to control and engage parts of their body in order to balance themselves. In order to learn which parts they cannot rush the process. When you rush this you eliminate the most important aspect of learning to float: comfort.
Once one has mastered floating, they are better equipped to properly control their body. This is one of the reasons that water competency positively influences stroke competency. Proper body control is essential for stroke efficiency. It is best to keep this in mind before you rush your swimmer into strokes.