Time for you to take the plunge in the pool

Rebecca Adlington on her way to winning gold in the Women's 800m Freestyle during the British Gas Swimming Championships at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday March 9, 2012. See PA story SWIMMING London. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Rebecca Adlington on her way to winning gold in the Women's 800m Freestyle during the British Gas Swimming Championships at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday March 9, 2012. See PA story SWIMMING London. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
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This summer, when the Olympics action moves to the Aquatics Centre, all eyes will be on Rebecca Adlington.

The double Olympic gold-winning freestyle swimmer is tipped as one of Team GB’s best hopes in the swimming events and in Beijing 2008 she broke the 800m World Record which had previously stood since 1989, the year she was born.

But while Rebecca and her team mates represent the pinnacle of swimming, did you know that one in five adults cannot swim at all?

My dad is one of them, despite the fact he taught my sister and I to swim when we were children. But ask him to do a front crawl and he’ll end up swimming along the bottom of the pool.

Comedian Frank Skinner stunned viewers of BBC’s Sport Relief when he revealed he was afraid of water. But he accepted a challenge to learn to swim and succeeded in swimming a length of the pool.

Corby International Pool has just relaunched its swimming school under the new name Corby Swimming Wizards.

It offers swimming lessons for children as young as five right up to adults. It currently has 800 learners registered but has capacity to teach many more people to swim.

It runs four levels of swimming lessons – duckling classes for children under five, junior lessons for fives and over, and two levels for adults.

Bernie Baines, the aquatic development officer at Corby pool, says learning to swim as an adult can be very intimidating.

She said: “It is pretty difficult and the big thing for adults is fear. When you are an adult who can’t swim there can also be a sense of embarrassment.

“My mum came to swimming lessons and would often feel very anxious. But it is just nerves about coming through the door.

“Learning to swim is essential and it is a skill for life. Every children should have the opportunity.

“Parents who can’t swim are particularly keen for their children to learn. Children do have swimming lessons through school as it is a requirement at key stage two but that sometimes can be a bit too late and some children only come for one term.

“I think the best time to start is as a baby. We run parent and toddler sessions in the pool for babies from three months up and they are always packed. They aren’t about swimming but more of a play session. With new swimmers it is all about building their confidence in the water and getting them comfortable with having water on their face. Only then do we move on to swimming techniques.

“Some of the adults we teach have learned a bit but they don’t come back or move on to the next step which is going into deeper water.

“It is a big time commitment but it is so important.”

To find out more about learning to swim with Corby Swimming Wizards, email bernie.baines@corby.gov.uk or pick up an information pack from Corby pool.