AQUATOTS Overview

AQUATOTS® Swim Program was borne of the need to develop swimming ability in children of a very young age so they could safely enjoy the pleasure of cooling off in family pools throughout the long hot summers in South Africa.

Indoor swim schools as they exist today, were unheard of in the 1960s. There may have been no more than half a dozen ones in the entire country. At the time swimming lessons were mainly given in large open air municipal swimming pools during the summer months. The trend to private swim schools in garden settings on domestic properties was only just beginning. AQUATOTS Swim Program had its beginnings in one such setting.

The starting age to learn to swim was becoming rapidly younger over the years and at about that time there was even a smattering of teachers caught up in the sensational method of ‘drownproofing’ babies that was sweeping across Europe and taking hold in Australia, the Americas and England.

In contrast to the harsh method of drownproofing, AQUATOTS Swim Program remained distinctly child-centred and loving and remained very much a ‘one man show’ until 1989 when it became the selected method for the swim school within Constantia Health & Racquet Club (CH&RC), the first H&RC of what was to become a chain of H&RC’s in the country each with its own highly visible AQUATOTS Swim Program. By then AQUATOTS, as it come to be known, was the most sought after method of infant swim teaching in the country.

The success of AQUATOTS for instructor training drew widespread attention both locally and abroad. AQUATOTS instructor training went public in 1994 with the first official AQUATOTS Instructor course hosted by the then Southern Transvaal Swim Coaches and Teachers Association (STSCTA). Thirty-one registered swim teachers attended the week long training course which was the first of many to follow.

Swimming South Africa (SSA) acquired the section of the Program directed at teaching toddlers for the SSA National Accreditation Course for Toddler Swim Teaching (Todswim SA), while the Australian Council for the Teaching of Swimming and Water Safety (Austswim) acknowledges AQUATOTS for its contribution to the Austswim publication, "Teaching Infant and Preschool Aquatics.' (Find pics for text wrap around)

From 1989 – 2002 the number of AQUATOTS instructors grew phenomenally and AQUATOTS swim schools were cropping up all over South Africa. It became increasingly difficult to monitor and control the standard of teaching within the existing instructor infra-structure. The threat of AQUATOTS being watered down was a real and serious matter. To stop this happening there was no alternative but for AQUATOTS to become a Franchise Operation which it duly became on the 31st of May 2003.