The west coast of Antigua is the perfect spot for learning to swim, with a friendly, accepting culture and the welcoming waters; there really is no better way to learn. More than 230 Antiguan children have already learnt to swim with Swalings International School of Swimming and many Brits and other holidaymakers to the island looking for something a little different from their holidays, are swelling the ranks.
Rather than dragging the kids to the local pool and blowing up armbands until you are blue in the face, leave the swimming lessons to an expert. It’s not just for children either: Dad can learn the breaststroke whilst you lay back and top up your tan, after all your lesson on the Shaw method (which applies the principles of the Alexander swimming technique) doesn’t start for another hour…!
The landscape of Antigua lends itself perfectly to swimming holidays for both the individual and the family unit, with a myriad of lagoons and pools as well as activities ranging from horse riding to shopping and even football all at your disposal:
'We are in the process of starting a babysitting service for locals and guests to the Island and organising birthday parties for the children, be it doughnut riding or just a party on the beach’ said Duncan Swatton of Swalings School of Swimming, Antigua.
With courses for beginners and improvers to swimmers wanting to learn a new stroke, do more than just lay on the beach for your holiday: take some unnoticed exercise as you wade through the turquoise waters for the start of your lesson. Feel the tensions melt away as you glide across the surface with the heat of the sun on your face.
Despite the perfect swimming conditions more than 85% of the Antiguan population can’t swim, which was why, in 2003, Swalings set up their school on the west coast of Antigua, mirroring the success of their British Swimming School and south coast holidays in the UK.
The Antiguan School is run by the sons and daughter team of Swalings founder, Caroline Swatton.
Zoë Swatton suggested setting up the school after working for Hero House, a charity in Antigua, during her university gap year.
‘We knew how successful mum had been running the school in the UK and thought how much nicer it would be to learn to swim in clear water and brilliant sunshine. It wasn’t an excuse to have a permanent holiday- honest mum!’
Three years on and the school continues to grow- they have now joined forces with Kuoni Travel and Jolly Harbour villas to offer a range of packages in a variety of accommodation from the five star Blue Waters Hotel to self catering villas.
Mr Clayton who stayed at Jolly Harbour Villas for 7 nights said that “Learning to swim in the sun was great fun and a great way to learn, I overcame my fear of the water and had a tremendous time doing it. Now I can enjoy the holidays with the grandchildren which is something I never thought I’d be able to do when it came to the water.”
You really CAN learn how to swim during your holiday: ‘the intensive courses are an excellent way for the pupils to improve over a short space of time. By the end of the week you really do see an improvement. We can take the babies, children and adults that come to the Island for an intensive course, pop them into the classes we already operate or give them private small group lessons or individual lessons.‘ said Zoë.
Having helped to expand her business overseas, Mum Caroline brims with pride for her offspring: ‘Being so young and being so far away from home, my children are really remarkable. I feel they are living their dream and following something they really want to do with their lives. What could be better than to work outdoors, in the sunshine in a beautiful country? I am so immensely proud of them. My children are just incredible’
Swalings International School of Swimming Tel: 08707 101012 / www.swimming-lessons.com
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