Join up now and you’ll be swimming a mile in 12 weeks

Our new online course will culminate in the Swim For a Mile event in May

Over the 12 weeks of the Irish Times Get Swimming course, Melanie Knocher and Swim Ireland will take you through techniques and exercises to get you swimming a mile by the end of the course. More details on irishtimes.com/getswimming

 

Whether you are young or old, male or female, slim or overweight, fit or unfit, sporty or not, have a disability or are able-bodied, there is a sport out there for you and it is called swimming.

If you cannot swim at all, we encourage you to go to your local pool and take some lessons. If you can swim a little and would like to be able to swim more, we encourage you to take in our 2015 Swim for a Mile Challenge. The challenge is for people who can swim at least two lengths of a 25m pool in some shape or form and want to gain the skills and abilities to use the activity as part of a balanced lifestyle. Swim for a Mile is about setting yourself the goal of swimming a mile after following the Swim Ireland 12-week training programme through the Get Swimming section of The Irish Times. Don’t allow yourself to be put off by thinking that swimming a mile sounds very far. If you are prepared to commit yourself to swimming three times a week, and following the Swim Ireland programme you will be amazed by what you can achieve.

The programme is about building up the distance bit by bit and being consistent about it. It can be made easier by joining training groups in your local centre and coming to some of the free Swim Ireland coaching clinics where we will give you extra tips and advice for making your journey towards achieving the mile in May an easier and a better one.

If you are still not sure, call Swim Ireland at 01-6251120 and we will be happy to answer any of your queries. This is the second year of the event, which we ran in five centres last year with more than 1,200 participants of varying abilities. We want even more people able to access the programme in 2015 which will take place from May 18th to 22nd nationwide with five flagship pools in Cork (Leisureworld, Bishopstown), Limerick (UL Sport, University of Limerick), Galway (Kingfisher NUI Galway), Bangor (Bangor Aurora) and Dublin (National Aquatic Centre, Blanchardstown) as well as many other pools across the country taking part. You can find out what pools are signed up on the Swim for a Mile website (swimforamile.com) and find one that is close to you.

The Swim for a Mile programme has been developed in line with the Department of Health guidelines on exercise and aims to empower people by giving them the tools to embark on a new challenge. By signing up to the programme we are asking you to commit to three sessions a week. The length of these sessions will vary depending on your ability and the stage of the programme you are at, but they are designed to take between 40 minutes and an hour. Very little equipment is required to take part: just a swimsuit, swimming hat and goggles. Additional equipment used during the sessions (such as kick boards or pool woggles/noodles) should be available at your local pool; just ask the lifeguards on duty; if they’re not, the staff should be able to direct you to where you can get them.

The programme sessions are designed to help inexperienced swimmers improve their skills and gain confidence, and they come with tips for people to work on along the way. Dispersed throughout the sessions are introductions to the other three swimming strokes, along with other skills – such as floating and treading water– designed to build your confidence in the water. By the end of the 12 weeks, we believe that you will be comfortably able to swim 2,000m front crawl and will have had the opportunity to master other skills. You will be well on your way to a healthier, fitter, more confident you.

Sarah Keane is chief executive officer of Swim Ireland

 

To sign up for the Get Swimming programme, see irishtimes.com/getswimming. You’ll receive an email every week for 12 weeks that will link you to your training plan, a video tutorial and extra tips and information. We’ll have weekly online Q&A sessions with a swimming expert. Two Irish Times journalists, Conor Pope and Dominique McMullan, are undertaking and documenting the Swim for a Mile challenge and we will publish their progress every week in Health+Family and on irishtimes.com/getswimming.

You can contact us by emailing fitness@irishtimes.com

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