Short Distances vs Long Distances in Learn To Swim Classes

Parents often ask us why their child isn’t swimming laps and longer distances at their lessons. We all want our kids to excel in their activities and chosen sports, let’s face it we generally want it to happen overnight. Let’s think back to the very first lesson when they started swimming as babies….

There wasn’t much independent swimming and every task was repeated, repeated and repeated. These learning patterns help set foundations through muscle memory for the rest of their lives.

Swimming short distances

By practicing a skill in short distances, your child will have the chance to perfect the skill and there is little room for mistakes. From the teacher’s point of view they will have better class control, easier access to address any minor errors and provide instant feedback. Swimming in continuous short distances also helps with fitness.

Parents often think that swimming laps means that their children are swimming further and developing much better fitness. In fact by Swimming repeated short distances the children are still working on their fitness and are constantly moving throughout the lesson without having to wait at the end of the lap for their turn.

Swimming laps

Children should refrain from swimming laps until they have perfected the fundamentals of the stroke. Muscle memory comes into play not only when we practice and repeat skills correctly but also when we do things incorrectly. It therefore potentially can instill bad habits which are later harder to undo or correct.

All that said, it is not a bad idea to have your child practice swimming a longer distance to practice for school swimming carnivals or for safety reasons, particularly if they are continuously around an aquatic environment.


What are some of your favourite short & long distant activities? Share in the comments section below.


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Tara Martin

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