SUMMER seems doubly hot this year, especially with the El Niño phenomenon. But the high temperature should not discourage anyone from going outdoors and trying new things.
For the young, a dip in the pool will not only ease the discomfort from the scorching heat but will also provide an opportunity to learn a new skill while school is out.
With so many swimming classes, however, how does one make a choice?
Tried and tested
The Bert Lozada Swim School (BLSS), established in 1956, has become the premier swimming school in the country. The alma mater of world-class swimmers like Eric Buhain, Ryan Papa, Lisa Danila, Jenny Guerrero and Ryan Arabejo, it stands out from the rest because of experience and its use of traditional and nontraditional methods.
In more than 40 venues, BLSS teaches babies, adults, persons with disabilities, special children, athletes and more. There is no age limit, and the school accepts everyone, from those who are afraid to go into the pool to those with advanced skills.
Angelo Lozada, chief operating officer of BLSS and son of the late founder Bert Lozada, says the school uses a curriculum that is based on ability. Its module is child-centered and allows adjustment to the child?s skills and personality. There are even lessons designed for those with aquaphobia or an abnormal and persistent fear of water.
?We teach our students to love the water, to be comfortable in the water? Lozada says, adding that only then can students learn different swimming strokes.
Also among the things that set BLSS apart is its strong emphasis on water safety.
?We make sure that at the end of every class, students know how to be safe in and around the water,? Lozada says.
Aqua Code teaches students what to do in times of trouble. This includes shouting for help when someone is drowning before trying to rescue the victim and using a long object or something that floats that the drowning person can hold on to, among other things. Dos and don?ts in swimming are also taught as part of the code.
One of the requirements for graduation is what is known around BLSS as the ?water survival stroke.? This teaches students several techniques in times of disaster, such as when a ship is sinking or when there is dangerous flooding.
For instance, Lozada says, one way to stay alive and conserve energy when trapped in high waters is to float on one?s back. This would let a person rest before swimming to safety or while waiting for rescuers.
In learning how to swim, says Lozada, one acquires complimentary life skills, just like in any other sport. Aside from the techniques, students learn about focusing, discipline, and how to stay healthy (BLSS advises students to avoid carbonated drinks, while encouraging them to eat more fruits and vegetables).
Students also learn about healthy competition?how to win and how to lose.
Marichu Yap says her daughter Katrina became competitive through swimming. ?She incorporated it in her class and now she is a scholar at British School Manila.?
One is to five
The teacher-student ratio at BLSS is one is to five. For special children or persons with disabilities, lessons are given one-to-one.
Swimming teachers are selected through a rigorous process that involves interviews, seminars and hands-on training. Aside from passing these tests, BLSS ensures that those who are selected have a heart for kids and love teaching.
Nadia Goloy, who has a degree in music from the Colegio de Sta. Rosa, has been teaching swimming for three years and still does not see anything better than what she is doing now. ?Teaching is a different experience.?
Goloy says it is rewarding to see her students actually progress. ?One fulfilling experience is handling babies.?
The average rate for a 10-session swimming class is P3,500. Each session lasts for an hour. Lessons are available throughout the year.
BLSS Metro Manila venues are in the cities of Caloocan, Las Piñas, Makati, Manila, Mandaluyong, Muntinlupa, Parañaque, Pasig, Quezon, San Juan and Taguig. Provincial venues include Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija; Bulacan, Antipolo City, Bacolod City, and the provinces of Cavite, Laguna and Batangas.
Call 5635532 or check www.bertlozadaswimschool.com for complete list of venues and rates. Then go to your venue of choice to enroll.