The Best of Both Worlds: Recreational Swimming and Structured Lessons

Having access to a pool nearby – whether it’s a backyard pool, a pool in your building, or at a community centre– is a fantastic opportunity for recreational swimming. It’s a great way to have fun in the water and practice your skills.

Recreational swimming allows babies and toddlers to consolidate the skills they've learned until they become more instinctive over time. For stronger-willed children, having unstructured time to have fun and practice without being told what to do is a huge benefit as it gives them the freedom to explore the water in their own way and pace. 

The Limitations of Recreational Swimming  

Recreational swimming is enjoyable and beneficial, but it’s important to note that it’s not a substitute for structured swim lessons. Unstructured recreational swimming doesn't provide the opportunity for: 

  • Expert guidance of a swim teacher to provide new challenges and skills to learn 
  • Immediate feedback and technique corrections from teachers 
  • Routine and consistent opportunities to practice in a structured environment 
  • Reliable expert safety supervision, which is critical for both carer and child confidence as we learn brand new skills 
  • The motivation and stimulation of having consistent classmates  

Recreational swimming, although valuable, cannot provide the learning experience that structured lessons offer. This is where programs like Water Babies come into play.  

The Benefits of Structured Swimming Lessons 

At Water Babies, our program is designed to ensure that your child not only has fun but also learns new skills, makes progress, and retains information through repetition. Each week our lessons focus on: 

  • Water Safety Skills: teaching children how to stay safe in and around the water 
  • Swim Strokes: introducing and developing different swim strokes 
  • Core Aquatic Skills: building essential swimming foundations 

Our qualified teachers provide support, feedback and necessary adjustments to ensure progress in a safe and secure environment. This structured approach helps each child to advance at their own pace while ensuring they enjoy the learning process.  

Another bonus of structured swimming lessons is that they offer a social aspect that recreational swimming does not. Both children and parents benefit from the consistent social interactions in our group lessons. The connections made during these lessons can lead to beautiful friendships, improve the learning process, and contribute to your child’s development. 

Recreational Swimming and Structured Lessons Go Hand-in-Hand 

Combining swim lessons with recreational swimming offers the best of both worlds. At Water Babies, we encourage families to take their little ones swimming outside their lessons as often as possible.  However, it’s the combination of both structured lessons and unstructured play, working perfectly together, that will have the maximum impact on a swimmers’ progress in their lessons and their overall aquatic journey. 


In conclusion, having access to a pool nearby provides wonderful opportunities for fun and casual practice, however, to truly progress and refine swimming structured swim lessons are essential. Together, recreational swimming and swim lessons create a balanced approach ensuring your child’s progress while having fun.