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Testing and swimming, why is it important?

Parents, don’t ever compare your kids.

Marko’s and Ivan’s dads have met at the pool. They’re waiting for the swim school enrolment test to take place. Marko and Ivan are of the same age, one is a week older, and both have recently turned four. As they’re waiting, a small talk starts, a “competition” of daddies about whose child is better (I couldn’t help but hearing since I was at the pool, working).

It sounded like this: “My kid can’t walk, but he sure can swim. I wish you’d seen my son diving, he still can’t swim dolphin, but he’s trying, he’s better than his brother…”

I used to have a feeling that a verbal competition, comparisons and exaggeration about whose child is better, cleverer, or smarter was a thing usually done by mothers while having a chat over a cup of coffee, or while waiting for the PTA meeting to begin, however, I’ve changed my mind. When it comes to that, now I can say that daddies might be “crueller” in that comparison,


Why do parents have that need to make the things look prettier than they are, to exaggerate things about their kids? Why do we have the need to compare kids at all? Did anyone of you like to be compared with a friend from the class, or a neighbour… I somehow didn’t even like it when they compared me with a sister or brother, not to mention random people. Children are not rivals, above all, they should be friends. It’s quite natural that some kids start walking before and some later, some have their first teeth when they are 13 months old, some when they are only three months old, some fall in love with the water at the age of four months, and some at the age of four years, and so on.

When you want your child to enrol in a language school, ballet school, music school.. there are always tests which serve to determine the level of your child, so that he/she could develop properly. The same applies to swimming. For that reason, dear parents, don’t engage in a verbal competition about whose child is better, and in which technique. Parents, don’t pretend to be coaches, let the professionals do that. Every swim school should offer this type of testing for free.

Swim testing before enrolling in a swim school helps us determine the level of the child.. The knowledge and the age have a primary role in the selection of a group the child will join for swimming: the beginner, intermediate, advanced, or competitive. Of course, there are also different levels and subgroups within each of them.

However, there are those situations when parents bring their children and say:

  • “… My son can’t swim, but can float, he can put his head underwater with no fear and make bubbles”, but it turns out it’s not the case.

  • Of course, there are those moments when a child comes from another swim school and parents want him/her to continue swimming at the same level, or a higher one, if possible. But, after testing, it turns out that the child’s techniques are much weaker than those of the children from the group.

  • Or there are cases when a child swam in a swim school or even in the same swim school in the past, but made a one-year break, and now, after being tested, it turns out, as it usually happens, that the child’s skills are not as good as they used to be, but the parents’ expectations are that he/she should continue exactly where he/she stopped a year ago. I wish he/she could…

Why is it so?

  • Because the work and quality of one school’s staff can’t be compared with another. Since, some swim schools work using the USA license, others using the Australian, British, or simply have their own programmes based on their experience.

  • It is also not irrelevant if the groups of 20-30 children are trained by two coaches, or the groups of 3-7 children are trained by one coach.

  • The next important thing is the staff and their quality, and when compared between schools, some are better than the others, it all depends on the coaches working there, and their experience in swimming, and training as well. It’s not a rule that a good swimmer is also a good coach,pedagogue, psychologist.

This is why testing before enrolling in a swim school is important!

Take your child to a swimming test tomorrow and find out which swimming level he/she is ready to take up.


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