SWIMMING: POTENTIAL champions are gaining skills for life - at a stroke.
Children benefited from crash courses in swimming at three Halton recreation centres.
Some of them may yet go on to be star performers but, whatever their ability, youngsters have begun to learn something which could help them to save their own life - or that of others.
Week-long crash courses are held during school holidays at Kingsway Leisure Centre (8.30am-10am), Brookvale Recreation Centre (9.30am-11am) and Runcorn Swimming Pool (1.30pm-2.30pm). Run by highly-qualified instructors, trained to Amateur Swimming Association standard, the courses are linked to a Swimming Academy Scheme operated by centre managers DC Leisure.
Children on the crash courses have a chance to progress onto the Academy as part of the ASA's National Teaching Plan.
The latest courses took place during half-term in February.
DC Leisure's Debbie Byrne, contract swimming development manager at Kingsway, said: 'All the children who entered progressed in some way - either through confidence in the water or by removing armbands and developing their swimming.'
Crash courses are designed for various ages and abilities. Places can be booked in advance and if in any doubt as to the level at which their children should enter, parents are invited to contact their local centre for a free assessment.
But the crash courses are just part of a wide range of learn-to-swim opportunities for juniors at the centres.
These also include:
Aqua Babes classes (Kingsway only) for pre-school children aged six-months and over.
Aquanauts classes for three to four year olds.
Swimming lessons for fives and over.
Debbie added: 'One to one or two to one swimming lessons are available for children and adults.
'These sessions last for half an hour and are designed for the students to get maximum benefit.
'Private lessons are open to both children and adults of all abilities.
'We are currently teaching more than 2,000 children to swim across the contract.
'All children who enter the Swimming Academy Scheme are continually assessed - allowing children to develop new skills and water confidence while having fun and learning to swim.'
For further details contact Debbie or Liz at Kingsway LC, on 0151 495 2200; Sue at Brookvale Rec, on 01928 712051 or Leanne at Runcorn Swimming Pool, on 01928 572114.