We were recently asked if we would like to take a swimming course with Anne Hawley who is widely recognised as the pioneer and expert of infant swimming and has been in the profession since 1974. Her reputation and lifelong commitment to safely swimming infants has resulted in her distinct, innovative and unique method of swimming babies being copied all over the world. Anne teaches at locations across London, Surrey and West Sussex.
Unfortunately we weren’t able to take up the offer of swimming lessons but luckily for us they have released an iPhone/ iPad app called Swim Baby Swim, that offers handy tips and a step-by-step guide to baby swimming, that reflects what you would learn in Anne’s lessons.
The app was simple to downloaded to our iPhone and I’ve been reading each stage before we go to the local swimming pool. I’ve taken Edward swimming since he was about 6 months old and his eczema was under control. He’s always loved splashing around in the water and I was interested to learn more about Anne Hawley’s methods
The iPhone app is easy to use and broken down into six stages: bath time, floating (stage one and two), breath holding (stage one and two) and first swim. Each stage contains the method, a picture and hints and tips. The first two stages can be undertaken at home, before you take to the swimming pool for the final four stages.
We tried each step in the bath and then the swimming pool. Edward is happy to have water over his head and face but is still a bit tentative about being under the surface of the pool. We’re looking forward to trying the breathing exercises again until Edward is completely happy holding his breath whilst under the water – which Anne says is the most fundamental key to swimming. The steps are not difficult to remember so there’s no need to take your iPhone to the swimming pool! I was nervous about submerging Edwards’ head below the surface of the water but the app tells you what signs to look out for if your baby is unhappy or not ready to progress to the next stage.
The app cost £2.99 and, whilst not a replacement for attending lessons, is a great introduction to Anne Hawleys methods which you can confidently try on your own.