Taking the plunge with the Prelims

April 01 2021

With plans in place to return to swimming on April 12, Keynsham Amateur Swimming Club are looking for new swimmers to join them.

If your child is a little fish and truly loves being in the water, then the Prelim squad head coach, Vicki, tells us what you need to know about life in the club’s entry squad – Prelims.

Meet Vicki

"I am Vicki, head coach of our Prelim squad, and this is just a little bit about the squad and what we do. Prelims is the youngest squad at Keynsham Amateur Swimming Club, with an average age of 6-9 years old. We usually train twice a week on a Monday and Friday evening at Keynsham Leisure Centre and each session is 45 minutes long.

At Prelims we start developing the fundamental technical skills, strength and stamina that the swimmers will need to progress into the next squad. It's not about who can swim the fastest and do the most lengths, it's about getting that stroke correct, along with what is right for that individual child.

A typical session will start with an introduction to what we are focusing on and what we aim to achieve. All swimmers do a warm-up and then their coach will deliver a skill set for their swimmers, i.e. kick, arm pull, basic drills, body position practices and full stroke.

They also start to learn how to turn and finish correctly, and how to dive off the brand-new starting blocks (which is a long way up and back down into the water when you are super small!)

Every session ends with a bit of fun which also helps them develop – seahorse woggle race, a length of their choice, doing forward rolls or jumps off the diving block, just to name a few.

All of the above would not be possible without the help and support of the fabulous Prelim coaching team (Nicky, Pip, Katy and Thea) and our regular poolside helper Shannon.

The coaches have many years of experience between them and hold an array of coaching, teaching and lifeguard qualifications. For all coaches, it is really rewarding to see the children progress, move up to

the next-ability lane and eventually the next squad and into competition.

It is a remarkable squad to be part of and it is really fun, friendly and loud. We have lots of giggles and a wonderful family atmosphere.

Swimming is a wonderful sport and is good for your health and wellbeing. It’s a life skill – it could save your life or the life of someone else."

Current Prelims and their families

Kelly Pope, director of I.J. McGill Transport Ltd, who are proud sponsors of Keynsham Amateur Swimming Club, told us: “Myla is thoroughly enjoying her time with the Prelim squad in Keynsham.

“Her confidence has come on in leaps and bounds and this is all thanks from the support that the coaches have given her to progress with her swimming. Not to mention how fit she is becoming and having lots of fun whilst doing it!”

Thea Beamont, Prelim coach and masters swimmer, said: “Both their Daddy and Nanny were the head coach of Prelims in the past, so we are a family who is passionate about the club. Esme is practising her swimming in the bath as she misses it so much.”

Louise, Lucas’s mum, explains: “Lucas is 6 years old and always been a dolphin! He was born in the water and had swimming lessons from 6 weeks. He loves the routine of the club and swimming lengths with all the other squad members. He enjoys front crawl and diving. He has made some good mates already. He loves the fun sessions when they splash about and have floats to play with.”

Prelim swimmer Connie says: “It’s really fun and time goes really fast in the pool because I have such fun with my friends.”

Her squad mate Anya adds: “I enjoy learning how to do the different strokes and having a bit of fun in the water. I have lots of friends. Everyone is really kind. I am looking forward to being back in the pool.”

How to join

At the moment, the club are looking for swimmers aged 6-8 years (school years 1, 2 and 3) who are able to swim one length of Keynsham Pool (25m) in each stroke. Individual trials will be taking place at Keynsham pool after lockdown, so now would be a good time to get onto the list. Swimmers from all ages (including over 18s) are welcome to apply for a trial. Contact thea.beament@keynshamswimming.club or enquire via the club’s Facebook page.