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Aquatics - Introduction PDF Print E-mail



Aquatics has a unique place in a balanced physical education programme. It provides students with a water-based learning experience through participation in a broad range of structured activities. It provides opportunities for physical, psychological and social development of each student.


  • Students of all ability levels can develop a range of skills in the water
  • Students can improve stamina, functional capacity and local muscular endurance without undue strain on the joints
  • Students will have the opportunity to develop a range of skills which can be used throughout their lives.


Aquatics provides an opportunity to participate in physical activity which can:

  • be enjoyed with family and friends
  • develop an awareness of safety in or near water
  • provide opportunities to share responsibilities and co operate with others
  • become involved in competition at appropriate levels
  • assume different roles and responsibilities i.e., personal safety, co-operation, care of others.


Students can experience:

  • an appreciation of personal success
  • an improved self-image and sense of independence
  • an enhanced feeling of well being
  • an opportunity to experience risk and challenge.




To provide students with the opportunity to develop personally, socially and physically through participation in aquatics in a safe and enjoyable environment.


  • To develop confidence in the water
  • To perform al least one recognised swimming stroke competently and safely
  • To develop competence in and an understanding of basic water safety and life saving skills and an ability to make decisions having assessed hazards which relate to water activities
  • To demonstrate an awareness of the fitness requirements of aquatic activities and their value as a fitness promoting activity
  • To co-operate with others in the learning environment.




The detail of the suggested methodology will be, for the most part, addressed in the individual lesson notes. However there are some general points which can be introduced here.

Communication: The teacher may communicate with students in one of three ways:

  • Visually
  • Verbally
  • Manually

In practice, communication in the teaching/learning setting is usually comprised of a combination of two or more of the methods. Good communication needs clarity of signal, movement and words which results from the teacher having clarity of thought and a sound knowledge base from which to select material. Poor communication often arises as a result of:

  • learner saturation
  • distractions
  • confused presentation of material
  • repetitive, unimaginative practices/activities

Motivation: Learning is enhanced when the students are motivated to participate by a desire to improve. Motivation may be optimised in a number of ways, for example:

  • setting realistic goals / achievement levels.
  • offering praise.
  • providing feedback.
  • using a variety of appropriate practices.
  • making sensible use of awards or incentive schemes.
  • using a variety of lesson formats.

Feedback: This integral part of all lessons ought to be:

  • immediate (as is practical)
  • focussed on single point
  • distinguished from praise
  • two-way i.e., students should be encouraged to express how they feel about what they are doing.

Demonstration: Visual images can have a considerable impact on the students' subsequent attempts to improve their performance. There are a number of points which need to be considered in this regard:

  • Accuracy: Care must be taken to ensure that the image is exactly that which is intended to be conveyed
  • Demonstrator: Use of a demonstrator in the water is likely to have more of an impact on the students than a teacher demonstration on the pool side. Again the quality of the performance must be adequate to make the intended impression on the observers.
  • Words: The teacher must identify the verbal description he/she will use to emphasise particular points within the demonstration. Such verbal descriptions must be brief and clear.
  • Position of observers: Ensure that the students are in a position to see what it is that the demonstration is intended to show them e.g. sitting on pool side, standing.

Note L1 = Beginner | L2 = Intermediate | L3 = Advanced




It is obviously essential that the teacher engages in adequate planning before the session(s). In using the lesson materials included below the teacher should take into account a number of considerations:

  • size of the group
  • levels of ability
  • range of ability
  • experience of individuals.


In order to optimise the learning experience and to facilitate effective teaching it is frequently necessary to group students. Groupings might be made on the basis of:

  • technical ability
  • endurance
  • safety
  • previous knowledge/experience
  • water depth/individual height
  • common strengths or weaknesses.


To avoid student fatigue and/or boredom it is recommended that students are not required to perform more than 4 widths of any task.


In utilising the materials provided the teacher must take account of the following:

  • pool space available
  • equipment required
  • depth and temperature of water
  • numbers of students in the water
  • acoustics
  • number of teachers.

Hygiene & Cleanliness

The teacher must ensure that students:

  • visit the toilet before the lesson
  • enter the pool in a good state of general cleanliness (especially nose, hands, feet)
  • wear a clean swimsuit
  • shower before and after swimming
  • don't swim if they have:

open wounds

infectious diseases

coughs, colds or related infections

ear infections.

Verrucae/Athletes Foot

Verrucae are only contagious before they are visible. Wearing pool socks does not prevent spreading verrucae and may only serve to increase the incidence of athletes foot. Pool socks may be worn to the side of the pool but it is not recommended in the water.



Safety in Aquatics is a very real concern. The following checklist can serve to heighten awareness of safety for all levels of aquatics teaching.

Pre-session Check

  1. Dressing rooms are clean and safe.
  2. Pool deck clear of obstacles.
  3. Remind students to walk on pool deck and obey all pool rules, e.g. no pushing, no running, no eating, no jewellery, etc.
  4. Check disability access.
  5. Remind students to be conscious of their own safety and safety of others at all times.

Pool Session Check

  1. Lifeguard on duty.
  2. Students know exactly where depth changes are.
  3. Grouping of students must incorporate safety considerations.
  4. Students must be reminded that "play acting" in water can result in students losing confidence.
  5. Students must be under care of the teacher at all times.

Post Session Check

  1. Teacher makes sure pool deck is clear of obstructions.
  2. The teacher is last to leave the pool.
  3. Teacher checks the pool.


Students should be reminded that school rules apply
whether on or off campus.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 July 2009 12:15

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