Since June 2010, I have started coaching my students on the new syllabus known as Swimsafer program. Parents are confused on why the sudden change in their children normal swimming routine and started to inquiry. The usual questions that are asked are why the current Swimsafer has replaced the NASSA and what is the benefits for it? Also, for those who have attained National Survival Swimming Awards (NASSA) before, what will happen to this award?
Let review on what is National Survival Swimming award (NASSA)? NASSA has been practiced in Singapore Swimming Accredited program for years consisting on bronze, silver, gold and gold star. It has proved to be a track record to honour the swimmers for their strong ability to pass the endurance swim with the prestigious award like Gold Star covering 1500 meters in 3 different strokes within 45 minutes. The main focus is on survival of own self. The swimmers are trained on their swimming endurance and swimming strokes. They are required to cover respective distance depending on their award achieved. Jumping off height with life jacket is also one of the test criteria.
The usual feedback I got from my students is lack of fun as the training always focuses on covering long distance. Lethargic is the usual reason for students during lessons. Children like excitement thus by repeating the same thing again will cause them to lose focus and eventually lack of excitement to attend swimming lessons.
However, Swimsafer program has proven to be a total revolution for the children. It consist of self survival, swimming and also life saving. Yes, lifesaving! Parents may wonder as why at such a young age, children are exposed to lifesaving. Do not be mistaken. Lifesaving is a skill that any age is appropriate to learn and fun to learn. Who know, maybe in future your child may save one life by performing one of the life saving skills. Also, it may inspire their interest into becoming a certified life saver.
Swimming still remains the main focus of SwimSafer. The four swimming style are still required for the program. The introduction of the four styles will be introduced during the bronze stage. The distance to cover is lesser than NASSA. The main emphasis is on techniques of the strokes. Correct stroke is the key of the efficiency of propelling in the water. Thus, the coach can place more attention on the stroke rather than the distance. Lifesaving and self survival techniques are being taught to the syllabus to create fun and enjoyable environment. I have personally felt that by doing that, my students have been telling me how they enjoy the lessons and wish that the lesson will be longer.
For those who have attained NASSA awards, I will encourage to take the Swim safer program as it is a totally new program from NASSA. The students will learn new stuff and knowledge pertaining to water safety and rescue. Personally, I feel that by coaching my students for Swimsafer program, and it brings my lessons into a fun and enjoyable platform. The interaction from the students has also enhanced our bonding and I am surprised that I have also learned stuff from my students through the interaction.
So whether NASSA or Swimsafer is best depend on individual. What matters is the kids enjoy their swim lessons and they are equipped with water survival knowledge and skills.