Thursday 28 September 2017

Bert's First Swimming Lesson at Robinson Pools & Fitness, Bedford

It's Mr Bishop here again! Chief reviewer over at Mrs Bishop's Bakes and Banter, it would seem! 

Today, I'm bringing you a review of our local leisure centre - Robinson Pools and Fitness in Bedford. Mrs Bishop reviewed the gym here and their lovely new soft play centre at John Bunyan here

Bert's First Swimming lesson at Robinson Pools & Fitness Bedford

I think any parent would agree that swimming lessons are a vitally important part of growing up. Learning to swim at a young age not only gives children confidence in the water, but it’s a life long skill that will be used by them all throughout their lives, whether that’s swimming for exercise, or swimming for fun either at local pools or on holiday, right down to being safe in the water should you ever fall in a river or have to swim away from a shark in the sea. So getting kids in the water and getting them lessons from an early age should be a standard part of childhood! My brother and I had lessons as a youngster, and I have loads of fond memories to this day of going every week and what I learnt, and even though I don’t swim as much as I’d like as an adult, I still class myself as a strong swimmer and confident in the water thanks to these lessons (my brother and I were known as the Dangerous Brothers at our lessons – possibly ironically, but true nonetheless).

Albert has never been much of a water-baby. Almost every bath for the first 2 years of his life resulted in a teary-tantrum, and still to this day he isnt really keen on getting his hair wet in the bath and washing it! Connie on the other hand, is obsessed with it! She loves bathtimes and one of her first words was ‘SPLASH!’, so with Connie being more into the water, we have visited more swimming pools locally and on holiday, which has resulted in Albert becoming slightly more acceptable of the water the past 6 months! As we live in a river town, and knowing the importance of learning to swim at a young age, we decided it was time for four year old Albert to start his swimming journey into the blue (pun intended).

Our local pool is Robinson Pools and Fitness, which has recently had a major refurb, and my goodness has it improved!! I’ve swam here ever since I can remember, so I have many fond memories of this pool (and the vending machine) over the past 30 years! My mum used to work here when I was younger as well, so I spent many hours swimming, many more running about the place playing, and the longest 3 minutes of my young life standing on the highest diving platform waiting to jump. Bringing my own son here to swim is always a trip down memory lane. As a big pool, Robinson Pool naturally does a whole range of swimming lessons (see info below), so we decided to sign Albert up firstly for a 1:1 lesson with an instructor, to get him used to learning in that environment, and get him assessed for ability level, and of course, to see if he liked it and give us a taste of what swimming lessons would involve for him.

We booked our lesson with Dan a few weeks in advance, so we had told Albert what the plan was to get him ready and not spring it on him. By the day of the lesson he was very excited! We got him all dressed up in his Ninja Turtles swimsuit, and because he was so excited waiting to start the lesson, we quickly went over the first rule of swimming by the pool, NO RUNNING!! Which also includes bouncing up and down on the spot with glee.

Bert's First Swimming Lesson at Robinson Pool Bedford

Dan introuduced himself and Bert was very quick to say hello and listen to what he needed to do. The lesson was 30 minutes in total, and we started straight in the big pool. I went in with Bert as well, and we started doing some exercises in the pool and soon got Bert splashing away with his legs. After around 15 minutes we moved over to the warmer small pool where Bert could touch the floor and went through some other games and exercises.

Dan was great throughout, really engaging and encouraging with Bert and clear on what he needed to do. He was also explaining to myself the whole time what he was doing and why, and how that helped Bert develop the skills he would need. 

The lesson included lots of swim toys as well, from noodles (which Bert referred to as his ‘sea-snake’), to floats to sinking seals and water rockets. As with all learning, Dan was well aware that making a lesson fun is a quick fire way to engage children and get them to listen and learn. A lot of the games we played were not just for fun, but doubled up as confidence building exercises in the water. Dan explained throughout that the early lessons are a lot more aimed at water-confidence as well as learning basic swimming skills, so for an animal-mad child like Bert having to pick up a goggled-seal toy from the bottom of the shallow end was brilliant at getting his hair wet and getting him used to submerging his face! 

We finished the 1:1 session by building up to Bert jumping off the side of the pool all by himself into the water and bouncing about the small pool without anyone holding onto him, something I would never imagine he would do by himself half an hour before! The change in confidence in him in just that short time was amazing to see.

Bert's First Swimming Lesson at Robinson Pool Bedford

Overall, having 1:1 time with a trainer, coupled with Dan’s excellent enthusiasm, teaching methods and explanations, meant the lesson was a huge success with Bert. He was clearly sad to have finished and leave the pool, and he asked if he could come back to swim ‘every day after school’! I feel the 1-on-1 was a great way to start, and we’ll be looking to having some more of these with Bert to build his confidence further before he is ready for group lessons. I even learnt a lot myself about methods etc to put into practise, so that when we are in the pool together outside of lessons, Bert can still be learning. A favourite school mantra - Teaching begins at home!

Thanks to Dan and to Robinson’s for the lesson, when Bert wins the Olympic gold in 100m front crawl in 15 years time, I hope you remember this is where it started!


Monthly prices for swimming lessons at Robinson Pool, Bedford

Stages Ducklings 1-6 - 30 minute lessons
Swim School Monday Non Member £18.55
Swim School Monday Leisure Card* £16.45
Swim School Tues-Sun Non Member £20.35
Swim School Tues-Sun Leisure Card* £18.04

Stage 7 - 45 minute lessons
Swim School 45min Non Member £22.65
Swim School 45min Leisure Card* £20.55

Stage 8/9/10 Advanced - 60 minute lessons
Swim School Non Member £24.60
Swim School Leisure Card* £23.48

Price per lesson for 1:1 Swimming lessons

1:1 Lesson - 30 minute lessons
Non Member £18.35 per lesson
Leisure Card* £16.81 per lesson

**Leisure cards can be purchased at £5.50 per child per year and discount swimming lessons as well as casual swimming.**

Robinson Pool and Fitness is managed by Fusion Lifestyle, head to the Fusion Swim School homepage for more info. 

Have you signed up your little ones for swimming lessons yet?

Mr Bishop

We were given a free 1:1 swimming lesson in return for this honest review.