Dolphin Pictures and Species

Amazing book by Mark

This page contains links to all species of dolphins river dolphins and porpoises.  Please click the link to take you to the dolphin page where you will find more dolphin pictures and information on that dolphin species.

More information can be found at Swimming with Dolphins

            Dolphins without Beaks     Porpoises    Scientific names and families    River Dolphins

atlantic humpback dolphin Atlantic Hump-backed Dolphin
atlantic spotted dolphin Atlantic Spotted Dolphin
Atlantic Whitesided Dolphin Atlantic White-sided Dolphin
black dolphin Black Dolphin
bottle nose dolphin Bottlenose Dolphin
commersons dolphin Commerson’s Dolphin
common dolphin Common Dolphin
dusky dolphin Dusky Dolphin
frasiers-dolphin Frasier’s Dolphin
heavisides dolphin Heaviside’s Dolphin
hectors dolphin Hector’s Dolphin
hourglass dolphin Hourglass Dolphin
indo pacific humpback dolphin Indo-Pacific Hump-backed Dolphin
irrawaddy dolphin Irrawaddy Dolphin
long snouted spinner dolphin Long-snouted Spinner Dolphin
northern rightwhale dolphin Northern Rightwhale Dolphin
pacific whitesided Pacific White-sided Dolphin
pantropical spotted dolphin Pantropical Spotted Dolphin
peales dolphin Peale’s Dolphin
risso's dolphin Risso’s Dolphin
rough-toothed dolphin Rough-toothed Dolphin
short snouted spinner Short-snouted Spinner Dolphin
southern rightwhale dolphin Southern Rightwhale Dolphin
striped dolphin Striped Dolphin
tucuxi dolphin Tucuzi Dolphin
white-beaked dolphin White Beaked Dolphin
Baiji (Yangtze River Dolphin)
Baiji (Yangtze River Dolphin)
Boto River Dolphin Boto (Amazon River) Dolphin
Franciscana Dolphin Franciscana (La Plata) Dolphin
Indus and Ganges River Dolphin Indus and Ganges River Dolphin


Dolphins without Prominent Beaks

  • Tucuxi Commersons Dolphin
  • Short-snouted Spinner Dolphin
  • Hector’s Dolphin
  • Long-snouted Spinner Dolphin
  • Heaviside’s Dolphin
  • Atlantic Hump-backed
  • Black Dolphin
  • Atlantic Spotted Dolphin
  • Spotted Dolphin
  • Hourglass Dolphin
  • Pantropica Dolphin
  • Dusky Dolphin
  • Southern Rightwhale Dolphin
  • Peale’s Dolphin
  • Common Dolphin
  • White-Beaked Dolphin
  • Striped Dolphin
  • Pacific White-sided Dolphin
  • Rough-toothed Dolphin
  • Atlantic White-sided Dolphin
  • Indo-pacific Hump-backed Dolphin
  • Fraser’s Dolphin
  • Northern Rightwhale Dolphin
  • Irrawaddy Dolphin
  • Bottlenose Dolphin
  • Risso’s Dolphin

River Dolphins

  • Amazon River Dolphin
  • Bolivian River Dolphin
  • Tucuxi Dolphin
  • Ganges River Dolphin
  • Indus River Dolphin
  • Irrawaddy Dolphin
  • Yangtze Finless Porpoise


  • Burmeister’s porpoise (Phocoena spinipinnis)
  • Dall’s porpoise (Phocoenoides dalli)
  • Finless porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides)
  • Harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena)
  • Spectacled porpoise (Phocoena dioptrica)
  • Vaquita (Phocoena sinus)

Types (Species) of Dolphins

Family Phocoenidae Phocoena phocoena harbour porpoise
Phocoena spinipinnis Burmeister’s porpoise
Phocoena sinus vaquita
Phocoena dioptrica spectacled porpoise
Neophocaena phocaenoides finless porpoise
Phocoenoides dalli Dall’s porpoise
Family Delphinidae Steno bredanensis rough-toothed dolphin
Sousa chinensis Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin
Sousa teuszii Atlantic humpback dolphin
Sotalia fluviatilis tucuxi
Lagenorhynchus albirostris white-beaked dolphin
Lagenorhynchus acutus Atlantic white-sided dolphin
Lagenorhynchus obscurus dusky dolphin
Lagenorhynchus obliquidens Pacific white-sided dolphin
Lagenorhynchus cruciger hourglass dolphin
Lagenorhynchus australis Peale’s dolphin
Grampus griseus Risso’s dolphin
Tursiops truncatus Common bottlenose dolphin
Tursiops aduncus Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin
Stenella frontalis Atlantic spotted dolphin
Stenella attenuata pantropical spotted dolphin
Stenella longirostris spinner dolphin
Stenella clymene clymene dolphin
Stenella coeruleoalba striped dolphin
Delphinus delphis common dolphin
Delphinus capensis long-beaked common dolphin
Lagenodelphis hosei Fraser’s dolphin
Lissodelphis borealis northern right whale dolphin
Lissodelphis peronii southern right whale dolphin
Cephalorhynchus commersonii Commerson’s dolphin
Cephalorhynchus eutropia Chilean dolphin
Cephalorhynchus heavisidii Heaviside’s dolphin
Cephalorhynchus hectori Hector’s dolphin
Peponocephala electra melon-headed whale
Feresa attenuata pygmy killer whale
Pseudorca crassidens false killer whale
Orcinus orca killer whale
Globicephala melas long-finned pilot whale
Globicephala macrorhynchus short-finned pilot whale
Orcaella brevirostris Irrawaddy dolphin
Family Platanistidae Platanista gangetica gangetica South Asian river dolphin
Family Pontoporiidae Pontoporia blainvillei franciscana
Family Lipotidae Lipotes vexillifer baiji
Family Iniidae Inia geoffrensis boto

Babies and Swimming Pools

Children’s swimming pools    Swimming lessons for babies

Babies and Swimming PoolsThe following information will help parents make an informed choice about taking their baby to a swimming pool

Do babies need their immunisations before swimming?

No. The advice to wait until  baby has had some or all of their immunisations before taking them to the pool goes back to the days when polio was much more common and we were worried about its spread in swimming pools. This is no longer a concern.

Picture Courtesy of

The vaccines given to young babies protect against:

  • Diphtheria Pertussis Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) and Men C (Meningococcal group C). These organisms are in the air. Swimming pools do not carry a greater risk of infection
  • Tetanus. Tiny spores from this organism exist in the soil and manure NOT swimming pool water
  • Polio. It is extremely unlikely that water will be the means by which this infection gets passed on. It is more likely to be from hands soiled by stools containing the organism. It does get excreted in the stools of babies who have recently had the vaccine but this will not be a threat to others (including babies who have not had the vaccine). The important thing is to take care when using shared facilities to change a nappy and make sure to dispose of soiled nappies carefully.

The above infections are not contracted in the chlorinated water environment of a well-run swimming pool.

What about feeding?You should wait one hour after your babies feed before swimming.


Should baby swim if they are ill?

NO! The temperature of the pool changing rooms and outside are really important as a baby cannot control their body temperature. Pool water should be at least 30oC. A child who is ill should not be exposed to big swings in temperatures. Take note of the following:

  • If your baby has suffered a tummy bug it is important to wait two days after the first solid movement before going swimming
  • Babies with ear infections should not swim
  • Don t go swimming with your baby if they have an infectious disease. This includes diarrhoea and a heavy cold


What should my baby wear in the pool?

It is more hygienic to put your baby in a swim nappy such as kooshies or aquanappy. It is somewhat essential.

It is important remember that stomach and bowel upsets can result if a pool is heavily contaminated with faeces. The following advice should be followed;

  • Avoid changing the nappy by the side of the pool
  • Dress toddlers in close-fitting swimsuits to better contain faeces
  • Occasionally check in their bathers for soiling
  • Reduce the risk of accidents by taking children for frequent trips to the toilet
  • Don’t rinse hands in the pool water after a trip to the toilet or after changing a child’s nappy. Use warm water and soap.


Are the chemicals in the water harmful to my baby?

A baby’s skin is more delicate than an adult’s and the chemicals used to sterilise swimming pool water can irritate the skin and eyes of some babies. Your health visitor will be able to advise you on skin care products.

Where can I get further information about protection for babies?

  • Health Visitor or GP


Data Source:
Public Health Department May 2004

Bilateral Breathing

Should you Breathe to Both Sides?

Source: Kevin Koskella

One of the most common wonders of the swimming world is should you use alternate-side or bilateral breathing?

Throughout my swimming career I had always breathed to my right side only until a year ago. Why? Because breathing on my left side felt awkward and uncomfortable! This is the reason why most swimmers will breathe only on one side.

Last year I had an experience that made me change my ways. I was getting a massage and my therapist noted that my left lat muscles (back) were much more developed than my right. Putting two and two together I realized that years of right side only breathing in the pool had caused me to use these muscles on my left side far more than my right as I was balancing with my left arm while sucking air into my lungs!

The answer to the question is yes you should use bilateral breathing if you re not already. The main reason is that it will balance out your stroke (as well as create symmetry in your back musculature!). The problem with breathing to one side only is that it can make your stroke lopsided. In a one-hour workout you may roll to your breathing side 1 000 times. A lopsided stroke can become permanent in a hurry after practicing this for a while!

The benefits to breathing nearly as often to one side as the other are that using your “weak” side more frequently will help your stroke overall and you ll lose your “blind” side. If you are an open water swimmer the later benefit will help you check for landmarks avoid chop or keep another rough swimmer from splashing water in your face (or punching you in the nose!) as you breathe.

The way to obtain these benefits is to practice bilateral breathing as much as possible. Often in my evening group I will have swimmers breathe every 3 or 5 strokes as part of a drill or warm down. But by no means should this practice be limited to drill sets or long warm downs! It will feel awkward at first sure. But the awkwardness is easier to deal with than you may think. Regular practice of rolling to both sides to breathe will remedy this before you know it.

Some tips on how to practice bilateral breathing while keeping it interesting:

1. Breathe to your right side on one length and to your left on the next. That way you get the oxygen you need but still develop a symmetrical stroke.
2. Breathe to your weaker side on warm-ups warm-downs and slow swimming sets.
3. Experiment with 3 left 3 right or 4 left 4 right until you find a comfortable pattern

Keep the goal in mind each week of breathing about the same amount to one side as the other over the course of any week of swimming. Most of all enjoy your swim and don t get too hung up on being exact!

Building a Swimming Pool

A Few Things to Consider

A reader asks: We are just stumped! We’ve been looking into purchasing a pool for our small backyard. We’ve looked into fibreglass pools at this point and like the way they look. We seem to hear a different story from each person we ask regarding the purchase of a new pool. Most agree it’s the installer who is the key. Is that your consensus as well? How do we check on the installer other than relying on the references given to us by the pool company?

From Ray: First I want to disclose that I also am a manufacturer of fibreglass pools so I will try to be as objective as possible.

A fibreglass pool is a great choice for your back yard and will absolutely be the lowest maintenance pool. You can look on our site for lots of other background information on these pools. Since I come from a Composites Engineering background we are a little different than the other companies you might find.

You are correct that the installer is everything! Unfortunately fibreglass pools tend to lower the barrier of entry into the installation pool business side and so they tend to attract what I might affectionately refer to as Billy-bob and the back hoe gang. You get the point. On any builder or carpenter first check the BBB in your area. Also request a list of references AND a list of jobs currently under construction. This will give you the opportunity to see who you are dealing with directly.

A few more general things to consider:

  • Don t allow them to talk you into exposed coping: go with pavers stone or a cantilever deck
  • Consider Tile but don t allow it to be installed at the factory this will result in unlevelled tile at the waterline
  • Request that the pool be installed with no main drain. They are not necessary for circulation and can pose and entrapment hazard.
  • Try to find builders that are members of NSPI. Also ask if they are Certified Building Professionals (CBPs)
  • Bob the Builder Coloring Pages

Finally be careful of dark colours and pools. We have colored surfaces but do not have extremely dark colours. These fail after some time and fibreglass unlike liners or shotcrete are not designed to be resurfaced in the field.

Happy Swimming!!!

Ray Cronise The RTR Group Inc.

Learn to Swim Award



Zoe Bartlett is making a splash after earning a top award to mark her outstanding achievement in the water.

The seven year old from Rochester had a major fear of water but this has not stopped her learning to swim.

Now her courage and perseverance have paid off and she is riding on the crest of a wave after she was presented with a Southern Water Learn to Swim Achiever of the Year award.

The successful youngster was one of fifty winners from amongst the 35 000 children taking part across the region. The awards are given to children who have shown great courage in overcoming particular difficulties or for their exceptional performance.

Zoe’s swimming instructor at Strood Sports Centre Maureen Welsh said: “Zoe was extremely frightened of the water and was terrified of getting her face wet. She would not join in with the rest of the class but fortunately she never gave up. With great courage and perseverance she has now overcome her fears and can swim and go under water. She is a very worthy winner of the award.”

Zoe was treated to a visit by the Learn to Swim scheme mascot Ollie the Otter who dropped in to help her celebrate her success.

Nigel Smetham Southern Water’s Water Manager presented the youngster with a bag of goodies which included a sports watch at a special ceremony at Maidstone Leisure Centre.

Mr Smetham said: “This is a tremendous occasion for these children. They have proved themselves in many different ways and made enormous achievements on the Learn to Swim scheme.

To win these awards is extremely significant because the youngsters have been selected from 35 000 children who were taught on the scheme last year.

We are pleased to be able to contribute to the community by helping children learn a very valuable life skill as well as enabling them to reach their fullest potential.”

The scheme now in its tenth year teaches children from 4-12 year-olds and is sponsored by Southern Water. It is run in consultation with the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA).


Swimming & Epilepsy

Courtesy of Epilepsy Action

Three little ducksSwimming is an excellent way to keep in shape yet many people are frightened in case they or their children have a seizure in the water. This leaflet aims to show that with a few sensible precautions people with epilepsy can enjoy all the benefits of swimming quite safely.

Swimming is often a very sociable activity. Children for example may feel left out if they are barred from swimming just because of epilepsy while all their classmates are playing or learning to swim in the pool. Such segregation increases the feeling of being ‘different’ or an outsider. Other children may then react unfavourably and the child with epilepsy can feel rejected.

Everyone should learn how to swim especially children with epilepsy – it helps with self-confidence with social skills and relationships and most importantly it’s fun!

Often those of us with epilepsy may want to swim but are prevented by family friends teachers or swimming pool staff. Other people sometimes imagine the worst and decide on our behalf that it is not worth the risk. If so this page should help calm those fears but for extra reassurance they can telephone the
Freephone Helpline on 0808 800 5050.

Research shows that few seizures actually occur in the water. This may be because when a person is enjoyably occupied they are less likely to have a seizure. All sports and pastimes including swimming can help to improve seizure patterns in some people. However it is impossible to be certain that a seizure will not occur so it is essential to follow a few simple safety measures.

Safety first

  • Never swim alone and do not take risks.

  • Make sure there is a qualified life-saver present (perhaps a friend or relative could learn). If there isn’t one swim no deeper than your supervisor’s or companion’s shoulder height.

  • Always tell a person in charge if you have epilepsy.

  • Check that the person in charge or your companion knows what to do if you have a seizure.

  • If you can practice with your companion what to do in the event of a seizure – this will boost your confidence and theirs.

  • Swimming in the sea lakes or very cold water is dangerous – be sensible.

  • If unwell don’t swim.

  • Avoid overcrowded situations.

Good buddies do it together

Those of us with epilepsy can find it embarrassing to be ‘supervised’ especially if we are the only person being watched over. Swimming in pairs is an American idea known as the Buddy System and it is becoming popular in the UK. It is especially useful in swimming classes because it means everyone has a partner taking attention away from the person with epilepsy. It also enables life-saving to be taught in pairs and teaches us all to be aware of other people’s safety.

Once or twice during the session someone blows a whistle and you must be able to touch your partner immediately. If you can’t it means you are too far away from each other and you have ‘lost’. An agreed forfeit may then be paid. If this partnering method cannot be used it may be better for the ‘supervisor’ to stay out of the water in case prompt action is needed. Whichever method is used supervision needs to be discreet.

How to deal with a seizure in the water

Not all people with epilepsy have convulsions. Some may simply go blank for a few seconds (absences) others may make repeated aimless movements for a minute or two (partial seizures). These last two seizure types do not usually require emergency action but care needs to be taken that the person does not sink. When they recover gently ask if they would like to get out of the water. They may not realise what happened or they may feel groggy.

The basic guidelines are:

  1. Do not be afraid the seizure will probably not last long. 

  2. From behind hold the swimmer’s head above water. 

  3. If possible tow the person to shallow water.

  4. Do not restrict movements or place anything in the mouth. 

  5. Once abnormal movement has stopped move the swimmer to dry land. 

  6. If water has been swallowed take the usual resuscitation measures. 

  7. Place the swimmer on his or her side to recover. 

  8. Only call an ambulance if the person goes from one seizure to another without regaining consciousness or if the seizure lasts longer than normal or if there is injury or a lot of water has been swallowed. 

  9. If possible recovery should be in a private place.

  10. Stay with the person until they feel better.

Should I ask my doctor before going swimming?

It is a good idea to speak to your doctor first particularly if the epilepsy is largely uncontrolled. Both of you need to take into account the type severity and frequency of the seizures known triggers such as noise stress excitement etc. whether there is any warning before a seizure and what supervision is available.

However if you really want to swim find a safe and suitable way to do it using all the recommendations listed here. Those of us with epilepsy should not allow it to ruin our quality of life and being a non-swimmer is far more dangerous than learning to swim in a safe and supervised environment.

Further advice on epilepsy and swimming is available from Epilepsy Action by using the Email Helpline or if you live in the UK by phoning the Freephone Helpline on 0808 800 5050.

Swimming Clubs

Swimming Clubs

Swimming websites with Masters Clubs.
To add your masters website please send an email

National & International websites

Aussi Masters

Danish Masters

French Federation (Masters)

Masters Swimming dot com
New Zealand Masters

Swimming Club Scottish Masters

US Masters

Welsh ASA (Masters)

Masters Clubs

Arfon Masters

Barnet Copthall Masters Swimming Club

Birmingham Masters

Bournemouth Dolphins Swimming Club

Bracknell and Workingham Swimming Club

Bristol Masters

Cally Masters

Cardiff Masters

Carlisle Masters

City of Leeds Masters

Cranleigh ASC – Swimming Club

Croyden Amphibians

Darlington Masters ASC – Swimming Club

Darwen Masters

Dorking Masters

Etwall Eagles Swimming Club

Gloucester Masters

Guernsey Masters Swimming Club

Harrow Masters Swimming Club

Hadrian Masters

Hartham Masters

Impington Swimming Club

Islay Masters

City of Leeds Masters Swimming Club

City of Newcastle Masters

Otter Swimming Club

Out to Swim Masters

Reading Swimming Club

Romford Town Swimming Club
Runnymede Masters

Salford Masters Swimming Club

Seagulls Swimming Club (Christchurch)

Silver City Blues Masters Swimming Club

Spencer Swim Team

Trafford Metro Swimming Club

Teddington Swimming Club

Wandsworth Swimming Club

Wincanton Masters

If you want to get swimming you’ll need to find a club – and this is the place to do it!

The Amateur Swimming Association
also has a comprehensive list of clubs throughout the country.

Swimming Clubs swim at all levels from beginners through to masters.


Swimming Instructor one-to-one

To talk to us about Swimming Instruction please contact us


Swimming Instruction

Written 2004

I am 52 years old and was terrified of water until  into my forties.  I am a teacher by profession computing and business studies and I semi-retired a few years ago due to illness.  With time on my hands I finally decided to beat my fear of water and now thoroughly regret not having done it a long time ago.

swimming instructor uk<————-   This is me on holiday in Tenerife 2003.

Having taken lessons at my local pool I went on to do a specialised swimming course and then took my first teachers certificate after specialist swimming instruction.

I am married to Dave and have 2 step children Lisa and Lee and 3 grandchildren Immy Logan and Luke. 

I am in the process of teaching my granddaughter Immy to swim.  She is 2 and a proper little water baby having been in the water from an early age.

My teaching career was quite varied.  Having had a fairly traditional 20 year career in computing (programming systems analysis project management consultancy) I switched to teaching first lecturing at Cornwall College to adults and later giving instruction to Special Needs teenagers in Birmingham. From this came a strong belief that most people can achieve whatever they set out to achieve provided they have the proper support and encouragement swimming instruction is no different to anything else in this respect.

Here is Immy’s brother Luke better known as the Bubble.  He’s next for the pool!

swimming instruction from Swim With Us

Gay practicing hand-lead body dolphin

Swimming with Dolphins

You might also like to visit Learn-to-Swim-Easy and read Irene’s story.  Irene and I have much the same philosophy and outlook on swimming and you could also approach her for swimming instruction.  Swimming Instruction is also available from Steve at

Please note I do not endorse any other swimming instructor or organisation.  Please satisfy yourself as the suitability of any swimming instructor or swimming teacher that you choose to employ.







Swimming Pool Safety for Children

A swimming pool in the yard can be very dangerous for children. If possible do not put a swimming pool in your yard until your children are older than 5 years. If you already have a pool protect your children from drowning by doing the following:

  • Never leave your children alone in or near the pool even for a moment.

  • You must put up a fence to separate your house from the pool. Most young children who drown in pools wander out of the house and fall into the pool. Install a fence at least 4 feet high around all 4 sides of the pool. This fence will completely separate the pool from the house and play area of the yard. Use gates that self-close and self-latch with latches higher than your children’s reach.

  • A power safety cover that meets the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) adds to the protection of your children but should not be used in place of the fence between your house and the pool. Even fencing around your pool and using a power safety cover will not prevent all drownings.

  • Keep rescue equipment (such as a shepherd’s hook or life preserver) and a telephone by the pool.

  • Do not let your child use air-filled “swimming aids” because they are not a substitute for approved life vests and can be dangerous.

  • Anyone watching young children around a pool should learn CPR and be able to rescue a child if needed. Stay within an arm’s length of your child.

  • Remove all toys from the pool after use so children aren’t tempted to reach for them.

  • After the children are done swimming secure the pool so they can’t get back into it.

Remember teaching your child how to swim DOES NOT mean your child is safe in water.


Swimming With Dolphins

Depressed? Swim with dolphins

swimming holiday with dolphins
Dolphin Marine Experience for two £59

Dolphin Posters

Taking a dip with dolphins can be a tremendous therapy for people with depression according to a study published on Saturday in the weekly British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Nature lovers – biophiles to give them their scientific name – have long argued that interaction with animals can soothe a troubled mind but this claim has always been anecdotal lacking the scientific data to back it up.

Seeking to find out more psychiatrists Christian Antonioli and Michael Reveley at Britain’s University of Leicester recruited 30 people in the United States and Honduras who had been diagnosed with mild or moderate depression.

The severity of their symptoms was calculated according to established yardsticks for mental health the Hamilton and Beck scales which are based on interviews and questionnaires with the patient.

No antidepressants

The volunteers were required to stop taking any antidepressant drugs and psychotherapy for four weeks.

Half of the group was then randomly selected to play snorkel and take care of dolphins each day at an institute for marine sciences in Honduras.

The other half was assigned to a programme of outdoor activities also at the institute that included swimming and snorkelling at a coral reef but without the dolphins.

Two weeks later both groups had improved but especially so among patients who had been swimming with the dolphins.

Measurable symptoms of depression in the dolphin group had fallen by half and by two-thirds according to the two scales – twice as much as in the non-dolphin group.

In addition a self-rating measurement of anxiety symptoms the Zung scale found a fall of more than 20% among the dolphin group compared with a decline of 11% among the non-dolphin groups.

“To the best of our knowledge this is the first randomised single blind controlled trial of animal-facilitated therapy with dolphins ” say Antonioli and Reveley.

“The effects exerted by the animals were significantly greater than those of just the natural setting. The echolocation system the aesthetic value and the emotions raised by the interaction with dolphins may explain the mammals’ healing properties.”

“Swimming with wild dolphins is illegal under the Federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, which states that it is unlawful for any person, vessel, or other conveyance to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal. Even though it’s illegal to swim with dolphins, many people do it anyway.”

It is hard to argue that swimming with dolphins doesn’t have an affect on things but reading the above statement it seems to me that swimming with dolphins is only illegal is the dolphins are being harassed.  There are daily examples of people swimming with the beautiful creatures where they follow the boat and are only too happy to interact with people wanting to swim alongside them.  With the interest that the subject has, it seems to me that the dolphins have a better chance with our interaction than without it.

Swim with the Dolphins

Wild and Free Dolphins

Swimming with dolphins – what you need to know

Polperro Dolphin Swims: Swimming

Swimming with dolphins is an amazing experience that everyone should try to do at some point in there lives. There are some special areas where you can find these amazing marine mammals. A lot of those places are located in the Caribbean or at least close to the Equator, take a look at the most popular spots for swimming with dolphins around the world. Some of them might surprise you!  Read more


Teach Baby to Swim?

Should You Teach Your Baby to Swim?

By Felicia Hodges

“Once the baby uses those lungs their ability to automatically hold their breaths while submerged begins to disappear. Because of that the American Academy of Paediatrics discourages teaching infants to swim by forcibly dunking them or submerging them in water.”

You’ve probably seen them on TV: classes of infants clad in swimsuit diapers or only in what Mother Nature gave them floating effortlessly through the water looking like little mermaids. You want your child to learn basic water safety but is tossing your baby into a pool the way to teach him?

“Newborn babies instinctively know not to breathe while their heads are submerged in water ” says Certified Nurse-Midwife Charlene Taylor who has assisted in more than 50 water births near her Boston Mass. home. “From what I’ve seen it seems as if they know how to swim instinctively. Many of them open their eyes and move their limbs and propel themselves forward in the tubs.”

According to Taylor until the baby’s body is touched by air all the oxygen they need is delivered via the placenta not from his or her lung power. “In water births their new environment is not much different than what they left behind ” she says.

The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends the following pool safety tips for families with young children:

  • Never leave children unattended near any body of water. In the time it takes you to run to the telephone or turn on the dryer your child could fall in and drown.
  • If you have a pool separate it from your home with a 5-foot high fence or gate. Use a gate that self-closes and self-latches. The latch should be higher than your child is able to reach.
  • Remove toys from the pool after you exit so children aren’t tempted to reach for them.
  • Learn Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

“But once the baby uses those lungs their ability to automatically hold their breaths while submerged begins to disappear ” says Dr. Brian Scopec an obstetrician who practices in upstate New York. “Because of that the American Academy of Paediatrics discourages teaching infants to swim by forcibly dunking them or submerging them in water.” Since there haven’t been many studies to either support or deny this theory Dr. Scopec says there is really no information on exactly what age the breath-holding instinct disappears all together.

When To Begin
Many parents with pools realize the benefits to teaching their children water safety at an early age. Karen Thomas a registered nurse and mother of two figured that sooner was better than later when it came to teaching her 2-month-old son Zachery how to swim.

“I signed us up for a mother/baby swim class thinking he’d be moving through the water unassisted or at least be able to roll onto his back in case he ever fell in ” she says. “I wanted him to be comfortable around the water because I grew up afraid of it and didn’t learn to swim until I was an adult.”

Instead of swimming though she and Zachery played in the water while she held him and sang songs like “Ring Around the Rosie.”

“They had us fall up instead of down so Zachery didn’t even get wet past his chest ” Thomas says.

“That is not too unusual ” says Patricia Ottie a certified lifeguard and swim instructor at a health club in Fishkill N.Y. “Most classes for children younger than 3 or 4 are designed to get children comfortable in the water not teach them to swim. It may even be dangerous to try to teach children younger than that to try to hold their breath.” Such skills as blowing bubbles and holding air in the lungs require dexterity and coordination that children younger than 3 simply do not have she adds.

What To Teach
The key to teaching water safety is adult supervision Dr. Scopec says. “Infants are so top-heavy that they should be supervised around even shallow water as they can drown in less than 2 inches of water.” he adds. He cautions parents to always be in the water with a child younger than 6 regardless of the child’s swimming ability. “If you can’t be in the water with them make sure another watchful adult or a qualified instructor is present.”

When in the water the important thing is to get the child to relax ” Ottie says. “It will be a lot easier for them once they begin actual swim lessons at age 3 or 4 if they are used to the water or at least don’t have a fear of it.” She suggests that if your child is afraid of the water you focus on activities that he or she is comfortable with and progress as the child feels ready.

“Never just throw your child in or sneak up and dunk him. It could make him have a fear of the water that he will never be able to conquer ” she says.

Parents Should Learn Too
Since drowning is the second leading cause of death for children between the ages of one and 18 the most important thing any parent can learn about water safety is CPR.

“Nobody ever wants to think about something terrible happening to their child but if your child does fall in your pool or wanders off at the beach CPR could save his life ” Dr. Scopec says.

“All parents should take a CPR class ” Ottie says. “It could save their child’s life or at least buy the child more time until professionals arrive or the child can be taken to a hospital.”

Winded and Weary?

 Adult Swim

Winded and Weary? It’s Time To Update Your Stroke

By Ruth Kassinger

When the whistle blows on Memorial Day for the first adult swim of the season I’m in the pool. All the pleasures of a summer swim — the near-weightless slip through cool water the wavering patterns of sunlight on the pool floor the calming silence below the surface — return.

For a few lengths. Then I recall an unfortunate defect in this pool: There seems to be a peculiar shortage of oxygen in its vicinity. I keep swimming but the lovely silence under water is now punctuated by my gasps above it. Then I remember that this pool is filled with particularly dense water (could it be all that lead in the Washington water supply?) which surely explains why my arm muscles ache and my kick is tapering to nothing. Then the final problem emerges: The distance from one end to other gets greater with every length. I decide I’d better get out before I find myself trying to swim to infinity.

The story would be the same this year except inspired by yet another article about how good swimming is for you this winter I decided to look a little further into my swimming problems.

What I find is that I’m not alone in having trouble swimming easily. A flurry of books and videotapes aimed at adults who want to learn to swim better has recently been released. This spring for the first time in 12 years the American Red Cross revised what has been the bible of swimming instruction its swimming and diving manual along with its instructional video.

The fault I now learn lies not in the pool but in the fact that many of us learned to swim too long ago. Swimming techniques and instruction methods have changed dramatically in recent years. So if you would rather be swimming in the pool than lounging by the side of it take heart. Updating your technique can make swimming not only easier but I can attest downright pleasant.

The Water’s Fine

There is no better fitness activity than swimming said Steve Jordan educator for the National Academy of Sports Medicine. It is one of the best cardiovascular activities and it conditions most of the large muscle groups. Best of all it puts almost no pressure on the joints making it a sport for life. Because the water supports most of a swimmer’s weight it’s a particularly good activity for overweight people. And since water is dense moving through it takes a lot of energy which means burning calories at a high rate.

It’s also difficult to injure yourself swimming. Katie Moore president-elect of the American Physical Therapy Association said muscle strains resulting from swimming are almost unheard of. The resistance of water — in essence its weight — is a function of how hard you push or pull it. You simply can’t move more water faster than you have strength for.

Shoulder rotator cuff injuries occur occasionally noted Jeff Berg an orthopedist in Reston and team physician for the Washington Redskins. But these are the result of poor technique. Berg frequently sends players with knee injuries to the pool to maintain conditioning while resting the damaged joint.

Of course these benefits accrue only if you swim regularly. According to the American College of Sports Medicine to get the aerobic benefits you need to swim at least three times a week for about 30 minutes at a time.

So how do you get good enough to swim comfortably for that long instead of clinging to the wall sucking air after five minutes?

If you learned to swim before 1980 you were probably taught to swim by an instructor certified in the 1938 American Red Cross method. The group’s manual for swimming instruction which was not significantly revised for four decades taught beginning freestyle swimmers to “thrash” their legs up and down and to move their arms in a “windmill type of two-beat stroke.”

More-advanced swimmers were instructed to kick like “pedaling a bicycle of very low gear” and to “fling the forearm beyond the head” to prepare to take a stroke.

Body roll was anathema. The pulling hand was cupped and pulled under water to a vertical position. Swimmers were advised to keep the waterline just above the eyebrows.

Mechanical Improvements

Instruction began to change in the 1960s starting at the competitive level when James “Doc” Counsilman introduced the study of biomechanics to swimming.

Counsilman who coached Indiana University swimmers and the U.S. Olympic men’s teams in 1964 and 1976 pioneered the use of an underwater motion camera strain gauge devices to measure a swimmer’s propulsion and other tools to collect efficiency and effectiveness data.

Counsilman who died this year discovered that the freestyle kick is not propulsive. Use it gently and with as few as two beats per arm cycle he advised simply to keep the hips from sinking and for balance. Body roll from the hips through the shoulders and head makes breathing easier and is essential for avoiding rotator cuff strains.

After the arm finishes a stroke it should be lifted out of the water with the elbow held high and close to the body. (No forearm-flinging please!) The pulling hand is most effective in a relaxed position with fingers close to each other but not glued together. The pulling arm should be bent and pass under not straight alongside the body.

Counsilman’s 1968 book “The Science of Swimming ” brought these and other concepts to a more general audience. In 1979 the Red Cross began to modify the techniques it taught to instructors.

Over the next 10 years successive versions of the Red Cross manual gradually incorporated the changes swimming coaches were using. The current manual videos and DVDs — have been prepared with the help of USA Swimming the governing body for competitive swimming in the United States. The YMCA teaches similar techniques; its materials have been vetted by the American Swimming Coaches Association. Many of today’s instructors have been trained through Red Cross or the YMCA.

The changes such as slowing your kick or recovering your arm elbow-up and close to your body may seem small but incorporating them into your swimming can make an enormous difference. That’s because swimming like golf and skiing is a technique sport.

On land people expend about the same amount of energy whether they run or walk a mile. But exercise in the water is different said Joel Stager professor of kinesiology at Indiana University and director of the university’s Counsilman Center for the Science of Swimming. Because water is a thousand times denser than air “a swimmer with poor technique expends three or four times the energy to cover the same distance. That means that a slight woman with a well-honed stroke that barely ripples the surface can outdistance the muscular fellow kicking and beating the water to a froth.”

Technique also trumps a lack of natural buoyancy in case you’re a “sinker” who thinks you’re fated by your build to struggle in the water. While it is true that some people naturally float more easily than others (it’s one benefit of a little extra body fat) many lean-bodied competitive swimmers do not float well.

The bottom line is that if you learned to swim before 1980 and haven’t had a lesson since then it’s a good bet your technique needs a tuneup — or a revamping.

Different Strokes

There are three major approaches to improving your swimming technique: lessons (either group or private) stroke clinics and Masters swimming.

If you are uneasy in the water and struggle to swim more than a length or two group or private lessons may be the best approach. Donnie Shaw aquatics director at the National Capital YMCA in Washington reports that for many adults “overcoming fear and learning to relax in the water is a real challenge. That can take some time.”

One common swimming error that is easy to fix and makes a world of difference he adds is remembering to always exhale completely while your face is under water.

If you can swim several consecutive laps without a sense of panic a stroke clinic can fine-tune your technique be a good solution. Typically such clinics meet once a week for six to eight weeks.

If you can swim about 30 laps even if slowly and with rests and want to refine your skills a Masters swimming club may be for you. United States Masters Swimming is a national organization whose 43 000 members are associated with more than 450 clubs. Lap swimmers with a wide range of abilities join in order to swim with others at a set time and place. Some have highly structured workouts and active poolside coaching; others are informal and camaraderie is the most important draw.

I stumbled across a fourth option a choice for do-it-yourselfers offered by a company called Total Immersion.

Total Immersion founded in 1989 by Terry Laughlin who has been coaching swimming professionally for 32 years is aimed primarily at adults who already swim but want to do it more easily. Rather than fine-tuning a swimmer’s strokes the method develops an entirely new swimming technique.

The program is taught in two ways: through two-day clinics several of which are held most weekends across the country or via a video/DVD. Laughlin reports that in 2003 about 2 000 people took Total Immersion clinics and more than 30 000 bought instructional books videos and DVDs. I opted for the DVD and joined an indoor swim club.

According to Laughlin the first step adult swimmers need to take is to forget everything they have learned about swimming. Swimming “is not about using your hands to push water toward your feet ” but about slipping through the water with as little drag as possible.

To achieve streamlining Total Immersion swimmers keep the head just below the surface of the water which lifts the hips and legs and ensures that the swimmer stays parallel to the surface offering as narrow a profile as possible to water in front of the swimmer.

Swimmers also reduce drag by performing most of the stroke cycle on their sides switching quickly from one side to the other as the recovering hand enters the water. The switch Laughlin asserts also produces torque for additional propulsion.

In addition Total Immersion-trained swimmers keep one arm extended in front of them all the time to lengthen the body’s profile which like a sleek sailboat hull encounters less water resistance. That constant arm extension leads to what is called front-quadrant swimming in which the extended arm doesn’t start to pull until the recovering arm is in front of the head and about to enter the water.

Laughlin’s method relies on a series of 14 drills. Each one adds a small incremental skill until all the elements of the stroke are in place. The emphasis is on balance fluidity and careful perfection of motions rather than on building strength by powering through laps.

The method worked beautifully for me: I can now swim freestyle for 30 minutes and with pleasure. The drills were easy to do and I enjoyed mastering the progression. The sequential nature of the method motivated me to get back to the pool day after day. But it took me several weeks to get a complete stroke again. Total Immersion is not a quick tune-up.

Although I’ve become a fan of the method I have no doubt I would have improved with a stroke clinic or by getting coaching at a Masters club.

Many of Total Immersion’s techniques — as opposed to its instruction method — are similar to those of the YMCA and the Red Cross. Some of the differences are merely matters of degree: how far to roll the body or how deep to hold the head.

The feedback of an instructor has great value. In fact at the end of the tutorial I found a Total Immersion-trained instructor to give me some one-on-one coaching.

One thing that all the experts agree on is that you need patience to make a new technique your own. Steve Jordan explained: “To create a new habit on a clean slate takes a few repetitions. To replace an old habit with a new one sometimes takes many hundreds of repetitions.”

But if you’d like to do more than sit by the side of the pool this summer it’s worth it.

Ruth Kassinger is a Washington area freelance writer.

Your Infant’s First Swim

Taking the Plunge – Your Infant’s First Swim

Author: Julie Moore

Aaaah spring! With the last remainder of winter gradually melting into the ground its easy to let your mind begin to wander to the firsts of summer: that first evening BBQ with friends that first softball game being played in the park or that first whiff of freshly-mowed grass.

But before you start day-dreaming about your little one’s first toe dip in a wading pool for swim lessons consider the following: According to the American Academy of Paediatrics swim classes may not be a good idea for babies. Research shows that in children under 3 the risk of infections increases with time spent in swimming pools.

Your child may be more likely develop swimmer’s ear (due to water entering the ear) diarrhoea (due to germs in the water being swallowed) swimmer’s itch and other rashes. Along with these greater risks children under 3 who have taken lessons prove to be no stronger as swimmers in later years than their non-lesson counterparts.

Nor could an infant’s tendency to float in water (due to high fat content) be called upon in a life-threatening aquatic situation! So should you shirk all water activity with your infant and on a hot day ignore the enticing glistening waters of your local outdoor swimming pool?

The answer is no. As long as you are aware of the risks and do not expect your little one to develop self-reliant skills in the water it is perfectly acceptable to use the pool as a place where you can both cool off.

Do keep in mind some common sense advice however.

– Small children with colds and flus should refrain from water activity. If your child is prone to ear infections seek the doctor’s approval before he takes the plunge.

– Don’t submerge a baby’s face. Swallowing water can cause water intoxication a watering down of the blood that produces nausea weakness convulsions and even coma.

– A baby who does not maintain good head control should never be taken into a pool. His head may bob under by accident so wait until he is stronger.

– Lastly have fun with your baby but do not expect to “teach” him swimming skills. Allowing your child to feel comfortable and safe in the water is the first and most important step in his water safety training.