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Ask the ALTS Experts

Ask a Lead ALTS Instructor

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This issue's entry is answered by Lead ALTS Instructor Lisa Brown. Lisa is the aquatics director at Zionsville Aquatics Center in Zionsville, Ind.

Q: I want to add adult lessons to our facilitys schedule, but my aquatics director doesnt see the need. What can
I say to convince her?

When discussing any programming idea with a director, always think, What is in it for the facility? What income opportunities are there with adult learn-to-swim programs? Be sure you know what other adult programs exist, as this would appeal to a similar crowd. The swim lessons might compete with other programs, or they might be a natural addition how many people taking water aerobics need swim lessons? Very likely, many of them.
Remind the aquatics director that adult lessons bring in the heads-of-households that have the decision-making power to bring in more family members for income opportunities such as childrens lessons and other programming.
Inform the director about studies that show that many adults who do not know how to swim, also have children who do not know how to swim. In fact, only 13 percent of children of nonswimmers will ever learn to swim, according to the USA Swimming Foundation. Its a vicious circle that your facility can help stop, making a difference in the community.
Tell the director about ALTS marketing assistance from USMS -- banners and printed materials, as well as the searchable database for the public to find certified instructors, and the searchable Places to Swim page on The ALTS program can be listed on the facilitys Places to Swim entry, as well as other programming. The ALTS program will drive people into the facility. And once the customers are happy with their lessons, they will share their experience with friends and family.
What would it cost to add adult learn-to-swim? Just a little pool space, and the benefits will pay off for years to come.

Q: How can I convince my aquatics director to send some of my co-workers to get USMS-ALTS certified?

The ALTS certification provides the instructor proven training and strategies tailored for adult learners. Once certified, the ALTS instructor is part of a nationally recognized program that is standardized across the nation. Having this education and training boosts the success rate of the lessons, and if the lessons are more successful, more people will sign up, bringing in more business and income to the facility.

Q: I have a student who has learned the basics, and wants to swim for exercise. He doesnt want to join our Masters team. What should I teach him first?

Teach him how fun it is to swim with another person. Swim with him, as an instructor and as a friend. In the water, you can show him the techniques that will help refine his stroke.
Teach him how to use a pace clock to train, how to circle swim, how to work on a powerful kick and how to do flip turns. Remind him that swimming is ever-changing: as you perfect one part of your swimming there is always something else to improve upon. Make sure he knows he does not have to be a master swimmer to be part of a Masters team, and that sometimes swimming with a group can help you get better. If your student is still not interested, that is fine, just teach them the fun points of lap swimming.

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