Derby Active Learn to Swim Team say hello!

Fri 19 Jun 2020

Hello from all the Learn to Swim Team at Derby Active!

We miss you all. 

Whilst we’ve been away from the water during this challenging period, we’ve continued to challenge ourselves and have been busy improving services for you, all ready to go for when it’s time to return.

To make sure we’re improving in the right areas, we’ve listened to your comments from the latest customer survey, linked these with our developments and here’s a taste of what you can expect when you jump back in!

We have a few activities at the bottom of the page from Swim England for the kids to enjoy.  

Swim Teacher Spotlight 


Steve Williamson

Steve Williamson - winner of Derby City Council VIP Award April 2020

Steve has been commended for his commitment not only to Derby City Council in his day to day role of a highly valued Swimming Teacher, but to the one team approach. With our pools currently closed due to Covid-19, Steve has completed over 11 CPD's with the Institute of Swimming remotely, been part of online workshops hosted by Swim England and kept in touch via conference call with all the Learn to Swim Team.

In addition to this, Steve has volunteered as an NHS responder on his bike / car and has also joined the Derby Covid Hub as a delivery rider / driver for supplies and medication. Whilst training and volunteering, Steve has also been readied for redeployment in the Refuse department.

The strength and care Steve has shown in pulling together as part of one team is fantastic. From not being able to perform his practical day to day role to then engaging remotely and applying practical skills elsewhere is a credit to Steve and the whole Learn to Swim workforce at this challenging time.

Swim Techniques and Tips with Derby Active Swim Teachers

Our Swim Teachers have been busy creating you a few videos to help you at home improve your swim techniques and help you with a few tips for swim equipment.

Hello From the swim Teachers 

Question & Answer Time with Swim Teachers Ian and Geoff. 

Q1 How did you get involved in teaching swimming? 

I started out as a lifesaving trainer/teacher and decided that it would be a good idea to complete the Swimming course too.

I started in 1980; I was playing football on Saturday afternoons. I saw advert for Swim Teachers and as I had experience from school I applied. I was accepted on to the course, and my teaching career began. 

Since then I have worked all over Derby with different clubs, as well as Derby City Council.

Q2 What is the most enjoyable part of being a Swim Teacher? 

Watching everyone progress from non swimmers to swimmers.

Teaching the children to swim. I take great enjoyment in seeing them achieve and improve throughout the learning process.

Q3 If you could choose one stroke to swim for the rest of your life, what would it be and why? 

Front crawl as its my quicker stroke, I usually get further when swimming this stroke.

Front Crawl, as its the easiest stroke for me, it gives me the most propulsion.

Q4 When you are not at the pool, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time? 

I enjoy reading books and watching films.

I like to swim in my spare time and visit  various pools in the area.

Q5 What are your top 3 tips for any swimmer learning to swim? 


  1. See it – watch the demonstration.
  2. Believe it – you have to believe you can do it.
  3. Do it – practise, practise, practise and you will achieve.


  1. Start at home building confidence, enjoy getting wet in the bath or shower.
  2. Build confidence in putting your face in water, build up so not to be fearful of water.
  3. Let the water help you to float and be calm when lying on your back.

Q6 Whilst in lockdown, have you learnt any new skills or taken up any new hobbies?

I have been busy with my main job and also home schooling for family.

I have been doing lots of gardening, planting seeds and flowers, also  I have enjoyed watching them to grow.

Have you been inspired to be a Swim Teacher?  If yes see our courses here.

Parents - 8 Things you may remember as a child when going swimming

1. Will Patrons Kindly Refrain From poster

Do you remember the information!

2. Your pyjamas were something you had to blow up!

To get your Bronze, Silver, Gold and Honours personal lifesaving badges you had to be able to tread water in the deep end for what felt like hours, blow up your pyjamas to use as a float and head down to the bottom of the pool to swim through a big hoop and rescue a black brick.

3. Vosene Shampoo

It was the must have for your hair! Do you remember the smell

4. Swim Badges

Did you use to sew them onto your swim costumes? Do you still have your first swim badges? If yes we would love to see them. Send a picture to us by emailing or share on facebook.

6. Outdoor Lido

Do you remember going as a family to the outdoor pools on a lazy hot day.

7. Speedo's 

The fashion for men was tight swim wear, which really is still observed on our swim athletes today, but perhaps not so much in local pools.

8. Public information films to help encourage you to swim

Not really the message we would use now! How about swimming can save your life, than attract a partner.

Early 1970's learn to swim public advert

Warm up yoga with Swim England Para-Swimming trainer Sam Cooper

Swim England Para-Swimming trainer Sam Cooper introduces movements based on the Sun Salutation sequence to help swimmers, coaches and parents with supple strength.

Supple strength is a combination of Pilates and Yoga exercises and is a great way of developing or maintaining flexibility, while also developing strength through a range of functional movements.

You don’t need any special equipment – just a clear space. If you don’t have a yoga mat, it is fine to do these on carpet.

While performing supple strength exercises, focus on your core strength as well as your posture and balance.

Warm-up exercises

  • Knee Bend with deep breaths
    Keep your feet hip-width apart and breathe in as you bend the knees.
  • Pevlic tilt
    With feet hip-width apart, keep your knees soft and look ahead as you tilt the pelvis forward and back.
  • Heel lifts
    Pull your belly button in towards your spine to engage abdominal muscles. Lift alternate heels and raise the opposite arm to each heel as a progression.
  • Roll downs
    With feet hip-width apart, pull in your belly button to engage your abs, then roll down slowly joint-by-joint. Breathe out and level the pelvis, then roll up slowly joint-by-joint.
  • Cat stretch
    Start on all fours with a straight back. Breathe in as you round your back to the ceiling and tuck your head in. Breathe out as you slowly uncurl and return to your starting position.
  • Cobra
    Starting from a lying position, place hands under shoulders and slowly lift your torso, keeping your pelvis on the floor. Keep your neck long and your shoulders far away from your ears.
  • Child pose
    Take your backside back on to your heels and slide your fingers forward on the floor for a gentle back stretch.

Thur 16 Apr

Brand New Equipment!

Customer feedback: “Provide more of a variety of equipment for the instructors”

The Learn to Swim Team: We have been on creative workshops with our friends at Swim England to research and hand-select the right equipment for all our members and we have now purchased a brand new range of equipment for all stages of our Learn to Swim scheme! This will add more variety, more excitement and new challenges to all our lessons!

What this means for you: You will experience a wide range of equipment being used in each lesson, which in turn will increase engagement, enjoyment and skill development in your Learn to Swim journey!

Cutting Edge Instructors!

Customer feedback: “More instructor consistency when following the Learn to Swim programme”

Learn to Swim Team: We’ve been working with our friends at the National Governing Body of Swimming, Swim England, in training our teachers through bespoke “just for us” courses that cover the very latest in Learn to Swim National Frameworks, specialisms such as communication and delivery, and standardising assessment outcomes.

What this means for you: You will notice that all our instructors are consistently delivering the very latest Swim England Learn to Swim Programme and have the cutting edge knowledge and creativity to provide fun engaging lessons for a happy and progressive swimmer! We also have a comprehensive Instructor Observation Framework in place for all our team, to help the instructors help you by delivering the highest quality lessons. Please feel free to say hello if you see us watching!

Home Portal Refresh!

Customer feedback:  “Improve Home Portal for members”

Learn to Swim Team:  We’ve been updating our Software so when you now log in to Home Portal you will see we have changed the “Assessment Criteria”, this sharpens up our Software in-line with the other improvements we have been making in providing consistency when you progress!

What this means for you:Clearer guidance on achieving outcomes! When a learning outcome is looked at, you will now see “Not assessed”, “Needs Practice”, “Improvement Shown”, “Good” or “Achieved”. This is the five-step progression you will undertake to pass a certain outcome. For example, when moving from “Improvement has shown” to “Good”, to “Achieved”, we will be looking to see the full completion of the skill on a regular and consistent basis to “Achieve” this outcome.

Ps. If you are not familiar or don’t have access to Home Portal to monitor your progress, you can find out more and register here

Do you know how to spot good lessons

Good swimming lessons are made up of five key elements that parents need to look out for. They will let you know whether your child is getting the right provision. Find out more here

Want a career change? Why not train to be a Swim Teacher?

Have you watched your child in their lesson each week, and thought I would like to help children and adults swim? Well, while in lockdown there is training available to help you on the pathway to changing your career and becoming a valued Swim Teacher.

Following your course, Derby Active have opportunities for new teachers to join the Learn to Swim team.

Find out more here about Derby City Council Jobs

Things to keep our pupils occupied at home

 We have a few things for you to do at home and we would love to see your work on our social media pages.

Please ensure your parent has given permission before sharing. 

Share on

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