3 November 2023
Artistic swimming is just as safe as any other swimming sport, taking place in pools with trained lifeguards and coaches. Artistic swimming - also known as synchronised swimming or synchro - is organised by clubs that are affiliated with either Swim England, Swim Wales, Swim Ulster, or Scottish Swimming. These organisations have very strict rules and policies that govern the clubs and the coaches, meaning that attending artistic swimming lessons will always be as safe as it can be.
You can start artistic swimming at any age. In fact, it might surprise you to learn that the ideal age for a child to start is around 6 or 7 - at least if they want to take it seriously and aim to get into a national squad. If a child just wants to enjoy a new hobby, then there isn’t an age limit, and some clubs will even accept children at age 4.
Contrary to what you might think, children don’t need to be able to swim to start artistic swimming. Basic water safety, strength and swimming skills are taught as part of the lessons and children will not start any of the gymnastics, acrobatics or specific moves until the coaches and teachers know they are ready.
Experienced, well-trained artistic swimmers need to be in peak physical condition. It’s one of the most strenuous sports out there, requiring participants to exert themselves and display incredible feats of strength. One of the most challenging aspects of the sport is the need to control breathing. Imagine the physical toll of dancing, but underwater. Swimmers need incredible amounts of flexibility and coordination to be able to keep up with the choreography. Obviously this is something that children will work up to over a very long time. One nice aspect of artistic swimming is the fact that it can be practised as “land sessions” as well as in the water, meaning children can work on building their strength and dexterity for themselves.
There are more artistic swimming clubs across the UK than you might think. As mentioned, Swim England, Swim Wales, Swim Ulster, and Scottish Swimming regulate the artistic swimming clubs in the UK, and the best thing to do is to visit the directories on their respective websites. A good club will always offer a taster session for a child to have a go, to see if they feel confident and enjoy being in the water.
Children who do artistic swimming find it really enjoyable, and it's growing in popularity, too. There are over 30 clubs across the UK, taking in new swimmers of all ages. By attending, children will get active and gain physical skills such as strength and flexibility. They’ll also get the chance to gain a new set of friends and teammates, giving them a chance to feel camaraderie and enjoy the sense of fulfilment that being part of a team brings. Working their way through the skills frameworks and grades will also leave children feeling fulfilled and proud of themselves, as they develop skills and achieve things in a new sport.