Growth In And Around The Water

Growth In And Around The Water

by Jay Brownrigg, Aquatics Program Manager

We have been in our Honmoku campus for twelve months now and of course this means that we have had the opportunity to use a facility that YIS has never had in the past. The YIS pool has continued to be a venue for growth for many students and staff, and this year we have already seen many successes in and around the pool. It has also served as their "happy place" where they can be themselves and have found a new side of themselves. From the Aquatics Units in Physical Education classes to starting our first Elementary Swim Team to our Secondary Swim Team competing in its first swim meet in the Kanto region and the establishment of the YIS Holiday Swim School, our Aquatics Program has provided novel opportunities for personal and community development. I will go into more detail about these successes below.

Physical Education Aquatics Units
Many grade levels have been in the water for an Aquatics Unit so far this school year and it has been great to see our students really embrace the inclusive culture that we have when we are in the water. Remember, Aquatics is more than just swimming, and if you happen to come to the pool on a tour or visit and are able to see a PE class in water, you will notice this inclusiveness. Our youngest learners from ELC have been getting familiar with the water through play and learning how to be safe in and around water. Our elementary school students are discovering what they are capable of in the water and we are guiding them on how to improve their swimming and water safety skills. Our Secondary students have been creating plans for stroke improvement, developing and implementing fitness programs in the water to improve cardiovascular fitness, and they are also developing their lifesaving and water survival skills just in case they find themselves in a situation in which they need to save their own or someone else's life.

Gr. 8 students in an indoor swimming pool practising aqua-aerobics

Grade 8 students participate in an Aqua Fitness class to understand the impact the exercise has on cardiovascular fitness.

Elementary and Secondary Swim Teams
In September, we started our first ever elementary school swim team with nearly 70 students trying out for the team. It was truly a great indication of what was to come. After the try outs, we selected 27 swimmers from grades 2 to 5 to be part of the team for this year and to participate in two weekly training sessions after school. The commitment, sportsmanship and hard work these swimmers have shown is a true credit to them and it demonstrates that the YIS Dragons spirit in the elementary school is a ferocious force to be reckoned with.

Our Secondary Swim Team has continued on from last school year and has continued their dedication to practicing hard in the pool. They also competed in their first swim meet last December at ASIJ. Our HS swimmers made the long journey at 6:30am on a Saturday morning out to ASIJ to compete against four other schools. It was an amazing experience for them all as they had the opportunity to feel the excitement and nervousness of competing against other swimmers. The swimmers did YIS proud and came away with some amazing results and personal best times. The start of 2023 sees our middle school swimmers join our high school swimmers for a number of meets at ASIJ leading into the Mustang Invitational. Some of our HS Swimmers will be traveling to Korea to compete in the AISA Swim Invitational in February.

10 High School students pose for a swim team picture poolside

YIS High School Swim Team members at their first Swim Meet at ASIJ, December 10, 2022.

YIS Holiday Swim School
During the fall and winter breaks, we have been able to run a five-day swim school for our elementary students. The swim school is designed around the AUSTSWIM ‘Learn to Swim’ program from Australia and the purpose of this swimming school is to provide an opportunity for our young learners here at YIS to continue to develop their aquatics skills under the guidance of YIS staff. The swim school offers five classes -  ELC Starfish (Water Play and Safety), Jellyfish (Water Discovery), Octopus (Water Awareness), Dolphins (Water Sense) and Sharks (Water Wise). Each class builds on the skills and knowledge of the previous classes. The swim school has been an instant and stunning success, and the students and parents have thoroughly enjoyed coming to the YIS pool for five days straight. All students have been able to demonstrate growth and are now aware of what they need to develop further. More information about the swim school can be found on the Holiday Swim School website.

As we have mentioned before, the purpose of our Aquatics Program is for our students, staff and the community to build their water familiarization, confidence and safety skills in and around water, and to develop a sense of belonging through a diverse scope of challenging opportunities ranging from recreational play-based experiences to sporting opportunities. I am proud and delighted to say that we are accomplishing our goal and will continue to do so in the future.

Elementary school students in the pool posing with their swim instructors

Happy swimmers from the Holiday Swim School in December 2022.