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Teaching your child to Swim

At Iberia Blue we take safety seriously offering four different types of barriers to keep kids safe. Yet one of the best long term solutions is to teach your child to swim.

We are very happy to be able to recommend a wonderful lady who holds classes in the Western Algarve

For toddlers and older children at her classes at held at Boa Vista Golf resort between Lagos and Praia da Luz . 

Her babies classes are held at the Marina Hotel in Lagos .  She takes babies from 2 months to 2 years.  These lessons are geared towards keeping babies safe in and around water, teaching them techniques to enable them to recover and get out of danger in the event of sudden or accidental immersion in water.

Her classes are fun and informative for both the parent and the child. All classes are small, ie usually no more than four maximum.

You can contact Yvonne for more information about her lessons on 917953914 or 282 799 356 or drop her an email at winyvonne@sapo.pt

During 2009 she is hoping to start classes in the Eastern Algarve as well.


Press article Algarve Resident  

WITH MANY households in the Algarve having a swimming pool, it's imperative that children know how to swim from a young age.

It seems we are hearing news of children tragically drowning simply because they did not have the knowledge to turn around and grab the pool's edge.

Only a few days ago, a friend told me how his brother had been at a barbecue when a youngster very nearly drowned. The little girl had been happily splashing around, when suddenly, in a matter of seconds, she was motionless at the bottom of the pool. If it wasn't for his brother's quick reflexes, she would certainly have died.

It's not only pools that can be the cause of such tragedy – just recently a six-year-old Irish boy drowned in an irrigation tank at the family's holiday home on July 25, as reported in The Resident.

Coincidentally, the Barlavento Hospital launched an awareness campaign the following day, warning parents to be aware of all water hazards, at the start of the school holiday season.

One lady in the Algarve though, is making a difference. Yvonne Fisher, who has lived in the Algarve for five years, gives swimming classes to children of all ages – and the one major aspect of her classes is to encourage her pupils to know how to turn around and grab the edge of the pool – a simple manoeuvre that could so easily save their lives.

Yvonne's history of swimming is a fascinating one. “Up until I was 40 years old, I couldn't swim – but not for want of trying. Unfortunately, my parents had neither the time nor the inclination to teach us to swim, so I pretended I could. That resulted in a near drowning for me at the age of 11, but left me determined to keep trying. I went on to have a family of my own, making sure both of my children could swim; in fact, my son joined the local diving club, and I just watched! Finally, at the age of 40, I resolved to change my life completely, and learning to swim was top of the list.I started with the local council, but the instructor put armbands on me, leaving me humiliated and ashamed.”

It was soon afterwards that Yvonne found Sid Shephard, who ran a company called Dolphin Swim School . Not only did they teach her to swim, they also persuaded her to train as a swimming teacher.

“I gave up my full time sales job and worked for Sid and Jean Shephard for six years before coming to Portugal . Initially I specialised in teaching adults to swim, simply because I could understand what they were going through, and still do, but I was drawn more and more into baby training, until I developed my own methods which work so well, particularly here in Portugal where we are surrounded by pools! And I don't use armbands!” she says.

Safety First
Yvonne's paramount concern in all her classes is safety. She knows of several children who have fallen into water, but have managed to get themselves out, or at least hold on until help arrived.

“Eva, one of my young pupils, who has been attending my classes since she was a tiny baby, fell into a pool recently, and got herself out! Apart from the obvious delight these little ones give me and their parents, I hope I've helped a bit. If I have saved one little child from drowning, it would have been worth it!” says Yvonne.

I recently visited one of her classes, at the Lagos Marina Hotel , where her youngest attendee was just 11 weeks old.

The classes are small, each child being in the arms of one of their parents and Yvonne aims to make the classes fun and interesting – for both parent and child. The toddlers are encouraged to “turn, turn, swim to mummy”, where it is amazing to see babies doing exactly that!

“They love going under the water,” says Yvonne. “All babies look upwards for bright colours and light so they know which way is up”.

But don't they swallow or inhale any of the water? I ask.

“Not at all. In layman's terms, it's a completely reflexive muscular action of the throat which closes the airway, preventing water entering the lungs or stomach. Much like the valve on a car tyre,” answers Yvonne.

Classes last half an hour and include singsongs as well as ‘teaching' the toddlers to fall into the water and to turn around independently.

The majority of the babies Yvonne works with learn to swim by the time they are two-and-a-half to three years old.

Mandy and Dave Ware have been taking their nine month old daughter, Olivia, to swimming classes with Yvonne since she was just three months old and they are both amazed at the results. “She has even swum under water for nine seconds”, says Mandy. “It's incredible!”

Next month we take a look at slightly older children's swimming lessons.

For more information, contact Yvonne on 917 953 914.

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We cover all of the Algarve including: Albufeira . Alcoutim . Aljezur . Almancil . Alvor . Armação de Perâ . Carvoeiro . Castro Marim . Faro . Guia . Lagoa . Lagos . Loulé . Monchique . Monte Gordo . Olhão . Portimão . Quarteira . Quinta da Lago . Sagres . São Brás de Alportel . Silves . Tavira . Vale do Lobo . V ila do Bispo . Vilamoura . Vila Real de S. António .

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