How to Choose a Teaching Platform

by Mario Durocher

In Quebec, a number of pools, not to say ‘most pools’, have not been designed for teaching swimming initiation classes. With pool depths often exceeding 1 meter, it is very difficult for a child shorter than that height to effectively listen to the instructor’s directions when his or her only concern is not sinking to the bottom of the pool.

I still remember very well the time when I was teaching and a dozen kids had to hold on to the pool wall while I was helping one of them to do the star position.

This is why, some years ago, teaching platforms started to appear on the market. The idea is quite simple: installing a table-like structure at the bottom of the pool so as to obtain a water depth of approximately 60 cm.

Of course, teaching platforms are not mere tables. If you plan on buying one, you should take into consideration many important features. Here are a few of them.

  • Polyvalence: Platforms should be modular and it should be possible to combine them into different configurations. To suit certain purposes, they could be made into a square shape, and for others, they could be installed lengthwise. It is also important that their guards may readily be installed and removed so as to make the platform easily accessible.

 

  • Security / Visibility: You should absolutely make sure that the platform you buy is very secure. It should be equipped with a device that prevents any swimmer from venturing under the platform. Moreover, in order for swimmers not to bump inadvertently into the platform, it should be very bright-colored, and the guards should be visible from above the water level.

 

  • Adjustment: If you are not sure what height your platform should be, it would be important to choose one that features adjustable legs. After using it at a certain height for a session, you may have to change its height again.

 

  • Weight / Stability: Weight and stability are closely related, but other factors also influence stability, which is a platform’s important feature. For example, if a group of youngsters are jumping and whirling around on the platform, you don’t want it to move along the bottom of the pool. The platform also has to be light enough so as to be set and moved around the pool easily by two people. Yet, it has to be heavy enough to be stable. The legs need to have anti-skid ends to protect the pool tiles as well as to decrease the platform’s tendency to move around.

 

  • Sturdiness / Resistance to wear: It is mandatory that the materials used in the platform’s fabrication are sturdy enough to withstand many children and adults jumping and dancing around at will. Also, corrosion-resistant materials will ensure you a sound investment for many years.

 

  • Simplicity: If you need to install your platforms on a regular basis, it is important that you are able to do so simply and swiftly. Make sure that the platform you choose is not a puzzle to install. It’s also important for you to know that shotcrete pools and vinyl-lined ones could be troublesome regarding the use of teaching platforms. At the time of your purchase, communicate all of your pool’s characteristics to your supplier so that he or she may help you making an informed choice.

 

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