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Get in the swim with Spalding club that’s given hundreds their water wings

Spalding Amateur Swimming Club members outside Castle Sports 'Youngsters break for photo
Spalding Amateur Swimming Club members outside Castle Sports 'Youngsters break for photo

It’s one thing to swim but quite another to swim correctly and youngsters attending a popular Spalding club are learning how to do just that.

Spalding Amateur Swimming Club chairman John Pailing came to swimming late in life, learning in the Castle pool when he was around 40 because his three daughters, Hannah, Becky and Natalie had taken to the water.

Now aged 70, John has a good few years of coaching behind him, teaching both swimming and synchronised swimming.

He said: “There are children who can swim but after a few lengths they use a lot of effort because they are not swimming correctly.

“We teach them how to swim correctly – breathing to one side, using the right stroke, a good leg kick – and all in all they are not wasting energy to do the actual swim.”

Formed in 1934, when Spalding had an outdoor pool, the club has given hundreds of people their water wings.

Most of today’s 65 members are children, aged from five upwards, and they have a gentle introduction to swimming, starting out in the learner pool and then graduating to the main pool, which is roped off in widths in four sections from the shallow end to the deep end to cater for swimmers of differing abilities.

Once they have mastered the deep end, the youngsters switch to the more advanced group and do lengths.

Meeting are held on Tuesdays, with novice and intermediate swimmers attending from 6pm-7pm while the advanced swimmers practice from 7pm-8pm.

There is more to swimming than just bashing out lengths.

“It can be social, it can be sports,” says John. “It can be health, because it’s cardiovascular, and it builds up your confidence as well.”

The ability to swim is obviously a potential life-saver but it also boosts children’s confidence when they are around water.

“They won’t be frightened of water,” says John. “They will be able to go on holiday and enjoy themselves knowing they can swim in deep water.”

But that doesn’t mean they are indifferent to potential dangers.

John says the children are taught to understand the extent of their abilities as well as which waters are safe to swim in and which ones are not.

Spalding Amateur Swimming Club isn’t for competitive swimmers, but it lays a good foundation for those who want to go into competition and perhaps join South Lincs Competitive Swimming Club.

It’s also great for youngsters who want a break from the pressures of school and acquire a new skill while having fun with existing friends and making new friends.

John said: “They will meet children who are like minded and they will enjoy themselves in the pool doing the lesson and getting taught how to swim correctly.

“Swimming is a life skill and it enables children to enjoy water rather than being apprehensive about it.

“If you learn to swim, you have the joy of water rather than the apprehension or the fear of it – I think that’s the greatest thing about being able to swim.”

All sessions end with a spot of fun with swimmers given the chance to swim down to the bottom of the pool to retrieve various items.

The club teaches all swimming strokes but there’s no diving because the pool doesn’t have diving boards.

Literally the height of John’s own swimming ambitions came when the pool had diving facilities.

He said: “I climbed up to the top of the diving board and jumped off it when they had one which was about 12ft high – it was great to be able to do that.”

Children joining the club need to have their own swimming costume and goggles.

The club is also encouraging more adults to join.

You can enquire about joining at the Castle Swimming Complex or call John on 07853 963201.

• Juniors pay £35 a year to belong to the club and then £12 every four weeks to cover the cost of swimming lessons, For adults its £40 a year and £14 every four weeks to swim.

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