What's the secret to learning to swim? - Carlile Swimming

If there is one vital key to learning to swim well, it’s consistency.

Learning to swim is not a simple or natural task, like learning to walk. It could be much better compared to learning to read.

It starts with you reading to your children, much like being in the water with a baby in a water confidence class. Then the children start to make sounds, recognise words, and start to read with the help of mum, dad or a teacher.

Every parent knows the more often you read with your children the more likely they will learn to love reading.

But it’s a slow process that takes years and pays wonderful dividends. Just like learning to swim.

Carlile Swimming pride themselves on their award winning program, developed from over 75 years of experience. One of the core values is Consistency.

All classes have consistent formats and content. This is to help children build the foundations to allow them to advance to the next level comfortably and confidently.

To do that it’s best to strive for consistent attendance, the more often children come to swimming the faster they will learn.  

Much like showing up for school consistently, treat swimming lessons the same. Making the most of learning environments, with accredited teachers, and fellow students with similar skill ability, means students can efficiently grow in their confidence, self esteem and swimming skills.


Why is consistency a core value?


Consistency is a quality Carlile is constantly growing in and adapting to. Across 11 locations, Carlile have created strong foundations of consistency within their program and lesson formats to meet the needs and teachings for students.

In each level, there is a purpose to each drill and swim. Building muscle memory to develop swimmers with great technique.  

Having consistent teachings is important for these to be translated at all pools. Carlile wants every student to receive the best possible experience, to achieve great results.

This also means that students receive consistent feedback from their instructors during their lesson, with advice on skills and further technique in their swimming. This allows for improvement, but most importantly, a further understanding and practice of safety in the water.

As our founder Forbes Carlile said, “a child isn’t ready to move on from swimming until they can swim 400m with good technique.”.



Why you shouldn’t take seasonal breaks.


“Learning to swim is a life skill, it’s not a seasonal sport… Children who come every week and swim through, progress more quickly and develop the skills they need to go to the next level.” says Carlile CEO Jon Harker. 

Much like school, showing up consistently is vital to achieve ultimate results and efficiency.

During the height of COVID, a whopping 10 million swimming lessons were stolen as a result of lockdowns. This resulted in tragic losses of drownings across Australia. 

“Right now, more than 40% of children leave primary school unable to even swim 50 metres. It’s just not good enough.”

It’s not only about swimming faster, but it should also be about your technique as well. The top 5 benefits of swimming with great technique are:


    • You can swim longer without tiring or panicking. In a rip, that could mean the difference between tragedy and safety 
    • Great technique prevents injury 
    • Technique is the key to swimming faster – who doesn’t want to win the school carnival?
    • Swimming with great technique takes focus and concentration, traits that help children in every other aspect of their life
    • It allows children to build endurance when they later join squads. Again they can work longer, improving both cardiovascular fitness and general stamina


Building a confident resilient generation 


Forbes Carlile had a sign at the entrance to his pool that read: “Our object is not to produce a champion but to create an atmosphere where champions are inevitable.

However swimming is a means to an end…to build self confidence, self disciple, integrity and courage for life”

Forbes was the most successful coach in Australian swimming history. But he knew not every swimmer will grow to be a champion. He also knew the discipline needed to be a swimmer has benefits that help children throughout their lives.

Swimming can truly allow children to become more confident in day-to-day life. Swimming is a lifelong pursuit that improves health and happiness, it also builds their self-esteem!

    • Children love positive reinforcement (consistent feedback) – At Carlile, learning to swim is all about gentle encouragement and positive reinforcement as children achieve in each lesson 
    • Conquering fears – Not every child automatically loves the water, for some just putting their head underwater is a challenge they overcome.
    • Learning something challenging – Swimming is not something that comes naturally, it’s a skill that is learnt through patience, repetition and consistency, it takes perseverance and builds resilience
    • Engaging with their peers – The small group classes help children to learn how to take turns, follow instructions and confidently engage with their peers
    • Achieving in front of their friends – Being able to swim well makes the school swimming carnival something to look forward to!


When it comes to swimming lessons, regular attendance is the vital point for the development of good technique in swimming and the ability to save your own life. Ultimately, consistency is the breeding ground for good technique and confidence. This is why, until great technique is dialed in, shorter distances, with regular feedback and consistent attendance is best.


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Based on 109 reviews