Everything you wanted to know about Swimathon but were afraid to ask

swimathon photo 
For many parents with children in the upper school Swimathon is no big deal. We’ve been doing it for years. But for parents and pupils who are new to Sciennes, there can be a lot of mysteries surrounding Swimathon, how it happens and what’s expected of pupils and parents alike. Wonder no more! Our aim is to answer all your questions and put your mind at ease.
Will my child’s teacher be present while my child is swimming? (‘Swimming’ includes walking, floating, bobbing, jumping and whatever else your child may do in the pool).
Yes. Each class is taken down to the pool by their teacher and learning assistant. Both are poolside while their class swims. Quite often Ms Noble, Ms Anstruther and Ms Christie are also by the pool cheering the kids on.
Where do the children change?
There are Girls and Boys change rooms located beside the pool. Only one class is in the change rooms at a time. Between each class we do a quick sweep to pick up any lost or forgotten articles so that they can be returned to the proper class.
What happens next?
Once the children are changed, they come out onto the pool deck and sit on benches. We divide them into house groups and brief them on what is expected. At this time pupils are encouraged to use the toilet, if necessary. Arm bands and floaties are also distributed.
Children are called to the pool in house groups (Grange, Lauder, Tantallon and Sienna). There are generally 8-10 pupils per group. Before entering the pool pupils take a quick shower.
Note: P1s have not yet been assigned houses, so we simply divide them into small groups.
My child is quite timid. What if he/she decides not to swim?
All children are encouraged to do their best. For some that means swimming lengths, for others that means sticking their ankles in the water. We understand that for some children this may be their first time swimming. We encourage them to get wet, but no one is pressured to do anything they aren’t comfortable with.
My child needs arm bands but may not take them when offered.
We keep a close eye on all pupils and can pretty quickly assess if a child needs arm bands or a floatie. These are given to the pupil without hassle and they continue on. This often happens after they’ve swum a few laps and get tired.
What kind of supervision is there?
There is a certified life guard on deck at all times. In addition, there are parent volunteers counting each pupil’s lengths/ breadths. This means there is a dedicated set of eyes on your child. Additionally, your child’s teacher and learning assistant are watching and encouraging the class. If you’d like to volunteer, sign up here.
How does my child know how many lengths/breadths they’ve swum?
Parent volunteers count lengths/breadths. Later in the day your child will receive a slip of paper telling them how many lengths they swam.
What happens after my child has swum?
Upon exiting the pool, the pupils shower once again. They are then directed to the change rooms. After they have finished drying off and changing, they return to the pool deck to cheer on their friends. Once everyone in the class has swum and changed, the pupils are given a banana and Freddo chocolate before returning to class.
Will medals be awarded this year?
Always a contentious question! This year we are trying something a little different. House points will be awarded for lengths swum. This puts more of a team focus on the competition. However, pupils will still know how many lengths/breadths they’ve swum for sponsorship purposes.
How is money raised?
The easiest way is through MyDonate. Full instructions on how to set up a MyDonate page for your child/children are here. Once you have set up a page a link can be sent out to friends and family. People can sponsor your child by giving a lump sum or by giving a smaller amount per length. And if you’re not technologically inclined, paper sponsorship forms can be picked up at the school office.
If you have any other questions do not hesitate to email t_boughtflower@yahoo.com
Tanya Boughtflower, Vice Chair Parent Council