Myth Busting: Should Swimmers Lift Weights?

us_olympic_gold_medallist_swimmer_michael_phelps_m_4ed6c8729fAs teenage and adult swimmers begin taking EVO’s Gilbert swimming lessons, they often ask about other training they should or shouldn’t do to improve their endurance and performance. Weight lifting is an integral part of most athletes’ training, but many swimmers hesitate to do it for fear of bulking up and creating drag that reduces their speed. But is this fact or fiction?

We’re busting this myth!

Not only is it ok for swimmers to do strength training, but it’s actually encouraged because of the many benefits it helps achieve:

Increases speed

Contrary to common belief, lifting weights can increase a swimmer’s speed because it helps build the arm, leg, shoulder, and back muscles that propel you through the water faster.

Liberty University assistant swim coach Jessica Barnes explains, “Weight training was absolutely beneficial to my swimming in college [at Penn State]. Before college I had never lifted, only did pull-ups for strength work; therefore, I knew I had a lot of room for improvement in getting stronger and increasing my muscle mass. I put on 15 pounds of muscle over the course of my four years, and as a result of getting stronger outside of the pool, I got faster in the pool.”

Helps prevent injuries

Weight lifting also increases bone density while strengthening tendons, ligaments, and weak areas that are prone to injuries, like a swimmer’s shoulders. USA Swimming suggests several dry land exercises for improving strength and preventing injuries, including:


Keeps your body in shape during the off-season

Unless your swim team practices year-round, there are going to be weeks on end — perhaps months — when you aren’t swimming as regularly. Although the main season is usually seen as prime training time, what happens during the off-season is equally (if not more) important. Many swimmers take time off, indulge in foods that are normally off limits, and cut back on their training. However, those who keep up with their diet and exercise routine (including weight lifting) not only stay in better shape during the off-season, but also have a faster and easier transition back into the pool.

Swimming World reports several areas that swimmers can focus on improving by doing strength training during off-peak times, including healing injuries, strengthening weak links, improving body composition, and increasing overall athleticism.

Boosts mental health

Weight lifting isn’t just good for the body — it’s good for the mind and soul too. Studies show strength training reduces stress, releases endorphins that make you feel happier, increases your energy, and provides many other mental and emotional benefits.

Based on these facts, it’s safe to say that swimmers should ignore this myth and embrace strength training! For more information on EVO’s Gilbert swimming lessons, as well as tips on how to safely and effectively incorporate weight lifting into your routine, contact us at 480-539-2660.

My Water Safety Scare, Please Stay Vigilant

backayard pool funWe recently received some feedback from a current customer with EVO Swim School. We wanted to take this opportunity to share their story of success.

To whom it may concern at EVO,

I thought I would take the time to share an experience our family recently had. It was a scary moment, but ended well, and is a great reminder about the need for pool safety, strong swim skills, and an understanding of what drowning looks like.

I debated it in my head, but I really think this story may be beneficial for others to hear. This summer we had a scary moment in the pool with friends. It was only a moment, but it really reminded me how important swim safety is.

Two families were getting into a pool to swim. I was already in the pool with several kids, my own and friends. Both of my boys are well trained and excellent swimmers for their ages, so I am always close at hand, but seldom worried. My youngest Joshua was about four feet behind me. Suddenly I hear, “He’s drowning me!”

I turned around and it took a few seconds to register the two bobbing children before me. His friend had gotten into the pool, but was not wearing the puddle jumper (flotation device) that he normally does. Of course this friend panicked not being able to swim. And naturally he reached out and grabbed onto my son. It seems it was seconds, maybe 20-30 (?), that the boys struggled and bobbed silently in the water before my son was able to call out. All of this happening while I was directly next to them. I was able to reach the children and pull the non-swimmer child off and both were then safe. Of course they were both terribly upset and their mothers both stunned. We talked about pool safety and how to handle a drowning situation.

Friends, pool safety is serious business. Drowning is silent and quick. Don’t ever assume because your children are strong swimmers that they are safe in the water. There’s really no such thing. Also, please consider that most Swim School’s discourage any use of flotation devices for non-swimming children as they give them a false sense security in water. It only takes one time for a child to enter the water forgetting their customary flotation device to then be in real and immediate danger of drowning.

I’m so thankful for a positive outcome to those few, but potentially lethal, seconds in the pool. I have to tell you I’m thankful for every penny I have ever spent on swim lessons and safety training. I feel the tender mercies of heaven that both little boys were unscathed.

Please take the time to learn about pool safety, teach pool safety to your kids, and practice what to do in a pool emergency.
I highly recommend any swim program that is a member of, and follows, the U.S. Swim School Association guidelines and teaching methods. Our family has chosen EVO Swim School and Rio Salado Swim Team.”

Thank you for being the swim instructors for my family. My son Joshua’s (age 5) strength as a swimmer helped him save himself, and his friend, long enough for a parent to intervene. We love what you do here at EVO Swim School and want to thank everyone for the opportunity to teach our little swimmers how to become strong and safe in the water.

Thank You!

Wendy Morris

Ask David: How Much Time Does it Take to Master Each Swimming Level?


Signing up your child for lessons at our Gilbert swim school unleashes a wave of excitement, questions, and maybe even a few concerns. When should I start teaching them how to swim? How many lessons do they need? Should I buy any gear or equipment?

At EVO Swim School, our goal is to offer the very best aquatic instruction for infants, children, pre-competitive swimmers, and adults. Part of that instruction includes helping people be knowledgeable and confident swimmers, so from time to time, Owner David Tait will share answers to some of the common questions he receives from parents and students at our school.

This month, David shares his advice about how long it takes to master each level of swimming lessons and move up to the next one.

1. How long should a child take swimming lessons if they just want to be a backyard swimmer, not swim competitively?

David: Every child should begin swimming lessons no later than the age of three. After that, the time it takes to master certain skills is very different for every person. It depends on how early you start, how confident you are in the water, and how consistently you come to swimming lessons.

To be a good backyard swimmer, we recommend completing our first three levels of instruction to learn the following skills:

Otter teaches the basics of independent swimming.
Seal teaches more advanced skills for swimming longer distances and helps children fully master the safety skill of rolling on their back while taking a breath.
Sea Lion teaches kids how to freestyle. We have found that children who finish this level are very confident in the water and know how to keep themselves in a safe, horizontal position by rolling on their back for a breath and kicking to propel them through the water.

It is also important to note that all of our levels are based on ability, not age or the amount of time spent taking lessons. Each child can and will progress as fast as they are able to demonstrate the master skills being taught at each level.

2. What are the primary skills someone needs to master to be a successful backyard swimmer?

David: They should know how to:

Swim while staying relaxed
Swim in a horizontal position, which requires their entire face to be in the water
Roll onto their back while kicking their feet (the safest and easiest way to breathe while swimming)

3. How long do students usually stay in each Development Swim Team level before moving up?

David: This is very hard to say. Just like swimming lessons, every person progresses at different rates based on a variety of variables. However, we have listed the basic requirements for each Development Team training group for a feel of what each level is capable of doing.

Development Swim Team

Advanced Stroke Group: Can display the basics of all four strokes.
Development I Group: All four strokes are displayed by legal standards of USA Swimming. A flip turn with a streamlined push off the wall can also demonstrated.
Development II Group: Proficient in all four strokes, starts, and turns.
High School Development Group: Improve technique with all of the above skills in an age appropriate group.

No matter your age or swimming abilities, EVO welcomes everyone at our Gilbert swim school and lets you take swimming lessons at your own pace. Want your child to become an independent swimmer so they can swim safely in the backyard, ocean, or lake? No problem. Looking for a way to continue their training with a Development or Competitive team? Awesome! Wish you could swim just for exercise without worrying about your form or performance? We’ve got you covered. Regardless of your goals, we have plenty of options for the whole family.

For more advice from David or information about swim lessons, get in touch with EVO Swim School at 480-404-6191.

Swim for Safety First, Who Knows Where It Might Take You


EVO Swim School is an evolutionary learn-to-swim facility with complete resources to offer the very best in aquatic instruction for infants, children, pre-competitive swimmers, and adults. Our approach to aquatic instruction inspired our company name and motto: “Where Learning to Swim Has Evolved”.

Swim at one of our three east valley locations! Click HERE for a class schedule or call anytime with questions.

480-404-6191 SanTan Gilbert Location
480-539-2660 North Gilbert Location
480-404-6191 Queen Creek Location

A Parent’s Perspective on Parent-tot Classes

wmag-parent-and-totYou are looking to get your little one, ages 6 months to 3 years of age, in swimming lessons.

Our Parent Tot classes (Starfish, Pufferfish) are the first opportunity to introduce your little swimmer to lessons.

Goals for your first 1-3 lessons:
• Comfortable introduction to the water
• Small amounts of water poured over the head
• Water gently introduced to the face, eyes, and lips
• No tears before getting out of the water

Goals after confidence is achieved (no more tears or tension):
• Holding breathe while being submerged
• Kicking
• Back Floats
• Wall Exercises
• Passes to and from the instructor
• One on one interaction with the instructor (preparing for a group lesson without Mom or Dad)

What is the difference between an EVO parent-tot class and other programs in the valley? We took the opportunity to reach out to one of our customers to get their first hand perspective after going through this class with two of their children. This gave us an opportunity to provide feedback and thoughts from the other side, the parents perspective!

1) Why did you choose EVO Swim School?

I looked through a few community Facebook groups for recommendations and saw tons of suggestions for EVO. I loved the idea of being able to do swim lessons year-round, so when I saw the great facility and close location, I was sold!

2) What were your initial thoughts about joining the parent-tot class?

I was really excited about doing the parent-tot class. I loved that I didn’t have to throw my daughter into something new on her own, and it looked like it would be something fun to do together.

3) How were the first couple of lessons, how did your children take to the water?

Emmy hated it! She hated getting her face wet, she tried to run every time I set her on the edge of the pool, and she cried every time an instructor would come close. BUT, she did everything that was asked of her, even through the tears. Coach Patrick and Ben were great with her, and always reassured her with hugs and high fives. It was a long few months, but they really helped the process. Braxton did much better. He was also a little shy around the instructors, but did not have the aversion to the water that my daughter did. He progressed much quicker through the class.

4) Did you feel the class challenged your child, how?

Yes, it definitely took them both out of their comfort zone and pushed them to feel comfortable with new faces and trusting other people. My daughter is pretty stubborn and strong willed, and it was good for her to be pushed to do things she didn’t necessarily want to.

6) Throughout the weeks of lessons, did you see any change in your children (i.e. confidence, independence, comfort or skills development)?

Yes. It was really cool to see their skills develop, especially at such a young age. Emmy did not become comfortable nor independent until a few months into her Otter class, but you’d never know that now. She absolutely loves swimming and loves Patrick even more! Braxton became comfortable in the water fairly quickly, which helped his skills to progress quickly as well.

7) What were the benefits you feel you/your children received from participating in the parent-tot class?

It is always hard to turn your child over to someone you don’t know, especially in something like swim, where there is a safety factor at play. I liked being able to meet the instructors at the beginning of the experience, and see how they work with my children. It is just as important for the parents to gain trust in them as it is the kids. I also liked being able to learn the basic skills and see how they are being taught, so that I can practice with them at home. Because I had already done the parent/tot class with my daughter, I was able to start “prepping” my son before he started. (Ex. Saying “1, 2, 3 eyes wet” in the bathtub whenever I rinsed his hair, or getting him comfortable with being dunked when he was still young.)

8) As a parent, how did you feel after completing the parent-tot class?

With my daughter, I was just relieved that she had graduated and the instructors hadn’t given up on her (and still loved her!). With my son, I was actually a little sad. He only did three weeks before he was ready to move on, and I was enjoying that time with him.

Emerson & Braxton Brown 9) Once your children graduated and moved on, what growth did you see with your children inside/outside of the pool?

Both of my children have more confidence around water. It is great to see Emmy actually using the skills that she’s learned while swimming for fun, and not just paddling around the pool trying to keep her head above water. A few weeks ago she was playing in the pool and drifted a bit to where she couldn’t touch the bottom anymore. Immediately she started swimming to the side, and then flipped to her back to take a breath before beginning swimming again. I was so relieved and grateful to see that, and it has made the years of lessons worth it for her safety. My son now loves the water and could spend hours playing in the pool.

10) What are your opinions or thoughts about EVO Swim School now?

We love it here! My kids look forward to coming to swim each week, and I have been completely satisfied with the experience here. The entire staff is friendly and easy to work with, and I am blown away with how good the instructors are with the kids. They remember the kids’ names, make an effort to actually get to know them, and genuinely care about their progress. I appreciate that they are firm with the kids and have high expectations for behavior, yet can still keep the whole experience fun and enjoyable.

Stop into any of our three locations for a tour or to observe one of our classes. Click HERE for a class schedule or call anytime with questions.

480-404-6191 SanTan Gilbert Location
480-539-2660 North Gilbert Location
480-404-6191 Queen Creek Location

What to Expect During Your First Swim Lesson

What to expect first lessonIt’s finally here: your child’s first swim lesson! Hundreds of people walk through the doors of our Gilbert swim school every week, but perhaps none are more excited and nervous than parents with a beginner swimmer.

If you’re helping your child get ready for their lesson, you probably have lots of thoughts and questions. How will my child do? Will they like it? How can I help them have a good experience? Here’s how to prepare for the first step in your child’s journey to becoming a strong, confident swimmer.

Before the Lesson

Many children have their first swim lesson between 6 months and 2 years old. Even before they walk, they can start getting comfortable in the water and learning water safety.

Leading up to the first lesson, talk about swimming in an excited, positive light. If your child is old enough to understand, tell them that they will be in a class other children and, if taking a Parent-Tot class, that Mommy and/or Daddy will be with them. Adults are required to be in the water for baby and toddler classes. For older children, parents and guardians will wait in the viewing area.

Also tell your child that it’s very important for them to listen to the instructor and sit on the side of the pool until it’s their turn. This helps keep the class safe and organized so the instructor can move quickly and allow everyone to get more turns during class.

During the Lesson

As you’re getting ready at home, dress your child in their bathing suit, towel, and goggles (optional). You’re also welcome to bring them in street clothes and change before and/or after the lesson is over. Many parents in our evening classes even shower their kids and get them in pajamas at EVO so they’re ready for bed when the get home.

The first swimming lesson will last 30 minutes. Plan on arriving about 10 minutes early so the Site Manager can show you around the facility, make your child feel comfortable, and give them a free t-shirt to get them excited about what’s ahead. We also encourage you to meet the instructor before or after the lesson to get acquainted.

During the lesson, we focus on developing trust first. Skills will come later once the child knows they can trust us. We’ll introduce them to the water and ask them to get their hair wet at a minimum. Crying is normal, so don’t be stressed if your child gets upset or scared. Once we have their trust and wipe their tears away, we can move on to teaching them how to be safe, efficient swimmers.

Safety is always top priority at EVO, so the first few lessons will focus on holding their breath, finding the steps or edge of the pool, and getting in and out safely. Once they learn the basics, we’ll move on to other techniques. You’ll be surprised how quickly your child progresses to be an independent swimmer!

Words of Wisdom

We polled our staff to see what their top pieces of advice would be for parents and their beginner swimmers. Here are their top 3 tips.

Encourage your child to be brave and willing to try things they’ve never done before.
Trust that the coach will take good care of your child, even if your child cries.
If you child struggles with wanting to leave your side, drop them off to their instructor and then retreat to an area in the facility where you can see them but they can’t see you. This will help them learn to trust their coach which fosters faster progression in the water.

Still have questions about how to prepare for the first lesson? Get in touch with our Gilbert swim school staff at 480-539-2660. Happy swimming!

EVO endorsements: Our favorite at-home swim equipment

turtle kick boardOver the years, our instructors have taught thousands of kids and adults how to swim with our Gilbert swimming lessons. During those lessons, we’ve tried tons of different equipment and experienced what works best firsthand. In the coming months, we’ll be sharing our top picks for training equipment, learn-to-swim tools, and accessories to help you or your child learn the right technique and have fun!

This month, we’re talking about our favorite equipment for practicing at home. All of these items can be purchased from our North Gilbert or SanTan Gilbert locations.

Kiefer 30” Water Swim Padded Swim Bar

This tool is good for:

Beginners who are learning to kick while maintaining a horizontal position

Why we recommend it:

This bar’s comfortable, slip-resistant grip makes it easy to grab and hold in the water.

Recommended at-home exercise:

Hold the bar out in front of you, and put your head in the water. Start kicking with your feet slightly above water to splash behind you. Take a breath while maintaining the same kick, and then put your head back in the water. Repeat steps 1-3 as many times as possible while moving forward.

Acquam Gecko and Turtle Kickboard

This tool is good for:

Beginners who are learning how to swim

Why we recommend it:

We like this board because it’s the perfect size for children to hug when learning to float or swim on their backs. The turtle shape also is appealing to little kids who may be timid or scared of the water.

Recommended at-home exercises:

Have your child hug the board while learning to float on their back. Once they master exercise #1, have them hug the board while they swim to you with their face in the water. Then, practice rolling over for a security breath. Once they master exercise #2, do kick drills with them to teach the basic flutter kick. Once they master exercise #3, have them use the kickboard while learning the four competitive strokes.

The Finis Foam Kickboard

This tool is good for:

Any child, teen, or adult who is ready to swim the length of a 25-yard pool

Why we recommend it:

We like this board because it’s just the right size. It isn’t too big, but it has just enough flotation to keep your arms afloat without putting added pressure on your shoulders.

Recommended at-home exercise:

When using the Finis Kickboard, make sure not to grip the sides with your hands. Instead, place your hands flat on top, and apply light downward pressure to keep the board in place. Doing this will improve your stability in the water. Put your face down in the water while you kick to keep your body more horizontal, which will reduce drag and increase speed. Build core strength by putting one hand on the board and using a flutter kick to work on hip rotation. Improve your shoulder and lat flexibility by kicking butterfly with one hand on the board.


This tool is good for:

Beginners, people who enjoy water aerobics, and injured swimmers

Why we recommend it:

We love noodles because they’re inexpensive and can be used in multiple ways, from floatation devices for beginner swimmers, to exercise equipment in workout classes, to a kickboard substitute. Plus, kids love noodles, so they serve as a fun way to coax them into practicing.

Recommended at-home exercise:

If you or your child is learning how to swim, place the noodle in a circle around the body and under the armpits while you float in a vertical position, tread water, and learn how to kick. This also is a helpful exercise if you’re doing water aerobics or recovering from an injury. Practice flutter kicks and breaststroke kicks by placing the swim noodle under your armpits and across the chest before going into the horizontal position. To practice the backstroke kick, place the noodle under your neck with your arms extended or by your side.

For more equipment recommendations, tips on learning to swim, or information on Gilbert swimming lessons, contact EVO Swim School at 480-539-2660.

Top Three Unexpected Benefits to Learning How to Swim

As summer approaches and the weather heats up, our minds naturally are drawn to water. Swimming has many advantages, below are our top three unexpected benefits of learning how to swim.

Learning to swim is a life saving skill. Drowning is one the leading causes of death for children. During swimming lessons children learn to have a healthy respect for water. They are challenged to learn how to follow rules which indirectly save lives and prevent tragedies.

Learning to swim gives children a sense of accomplishment and pride in their abilities. Learning to swim isn’t easy. When a child figures out how to swim, their confidence grows and swimming becomes fun! We often see children begin lessons terrified of the water and within a matter of weeks they are loving it. Supporting them through this challenge (not bailing them out) is key to their ability to adapt, learn, and succeed.

It’s not always easy to get kids excited about exercising, but when they’re in the pool they barely notice how much exercise they’re actually getting. Have you ever noticed how hungry you get after swimming? It’s a positive strain on the body without really noticing it.

Contact our office at (480) 404-6191 to inquire more about swimming lessons at EVO Swim School.

Level Up! Learning the Levels of Competitive Swimming

Good PIcCompetitive swimming is a great way for swimmers to take their skills to the next level and meet lifelong friends. Once your child is ready to graduate from swimming lessons and dip their toe into the competitive waters, how do you determine which level is right for them?

Every business organizes their levels in a different way. At RIO Swim Club, the competition side of EVO’s Gilbert swim school, we offer two main levels: Development and Competitive. Each level has several teams made up of swimmers of similar ages and skills so they can swim with their peers.

The Development Team

RIO’s Development Team is designed for swimmers who are new to the sport, currently developing their skills, or who are not yet ready to fully commit to a competitive team.

This program will not only develop the fundamental skills they need to be great swimmers, but also give both parents and children a taste of the full commitment required to be on a competitive team.

If your child plays multiple sports or is involved in other activities, this is a great team to be on because it allows them to keep up with swimming while still having time for work or other extracurriculars. They’re encouraged to attend swim meets, but it’s not required.

This team has four age groups:

1. Advanced Stroke Group: For swimmers who have graduated from our swimming lesson program or who can perform the very basics of all four strokes. This group focuses on helping children learn the skills needed to be ready for Development 1 and larger group training settings. Practices are one hour long, 1-3 times per week.

2. Development I Group: For swimmers 13 years and younger who can perform all four strokes by legal USA Swimming standards and do a flip turn with a streamlined push off the wall. Practices are one hour long, 2-3 times per week.

3. Development II Group: For swimmers 13 years and younger who can perform all four strokes, starts, and turns proficiently and by legal USA Swimming standards. Practice gets longer at this stage, so swimmers must able to complete 1.5 hours of training, 2-3 days a week.

4. High School Development: For swimmers 13 years and older who are working to become smoother and more efficient in the water. These swimmers most likely won’t swim in college, but they still want to swim in high school and further their skills. Practice is held 2-3 days per week from November through July.

The Competitive Team

Our Competitive Team is designed for serious competitive swimmers who can meet certain performance standards and commit to regular training. All swimmers sign a performance and practice expectation contract with their coach that’s reviewed each season, and they’re expected to regularly compete in swim meets in the highest championship level they qualify for.

This team has three age groups:

1. Age Group I: Our entry-level competitive program is designed for swimmers 9-12 years old who try out or are invited from our Development Program. This team focuses heavily on proper technique in all four competitive strokes, as well as starts and turns. Practice is held 3-4 times each week and includes both in-water and dry-land exercises to build up their strength and endurance.

2. Age Group II: For swimmers 12 years and younger who have excelled in Age Group I and receive feedback from their coach that they’re ready for more intense training. This team continues the combination of in-water and dry-land exercises that began in Group I. They practice 4-5 times each week.

3. Senior Group: For swimmers 13 years and older who want to maximize their potential, swim in college, and/or are looking for the next level of training and competition. All Senior swimmers practice 6-9 times each week.

For details on EVO/RIO’s Gilbert swim school and which competitive level would be best for your child, give us a call at 480-539-2660.

Ask David: When Should My Child Wear Board Shorts and Rash Guards?

Jack and DallinSigning up your child for Gilbert swimming lessons unleashes a wave of excitement, questions, and maybe even a few concerns. When should I start teaching them how to swim? How many lessons do they need? Should I buy any gear or equipment?

At EVO Swim School, our goal is to offer the very best aquatic instruction for infants, children, pre-competitive swimmers, and adults. Part of that instruction includes helping people be knowledgeable and confident swimmers, so over the next few months, EVO’s owner, David Tait, will be answering some of the common questions he receives from parents and students at our school.

This month, David shares his advice about two pieces of swim apparel that kids love: board shorts and rash guards.

1. When should children wear board shorts?

David: Most boys like to wear board shorts because they’re comfortable and are the farthest thing from a “speedo” that you can find. However, there are actually a few drawbacks that may hinder them during swimming lessons.

Board shorts are baggy, produce lots of drag, and make it harder for any swimmer to move through the water efficiently. It’s fine if children want to wear board shorts during swimming lessons as long as they fit tightly, but they should never be worn during swim team activities. Would you put 10-pound shoes on your feet and go running? Then don’t wear big, baggy shorts when you swim!

2. How about rash guards? When is it appropriate for children to wear them?

David: Rash guards are less of a problem since they’re normally skin-tight. They can help keep younger children warm in the water, but much like board shorts, we recommend making sure they fit tightly and only wearing them during swimming lessons, not swim team practice.

3. Are there any specific features parents should look for in the board shorts and rash guards they buy for their children?

David: The smaller and tighter they fit, the better. Otherwise, the child will have a harder time swimming, are less buoyant and will fatigue faster.

4. Are there any brands that EVO recommends?

EVO doesn’t have one preferred brand for board shorts or rash guards because, much like any type of clothes, it’s a personal choice based on style and fit. As long as they’re form-fitting and comfortable, that’s all that matters.

If you’re interested in more advice from David about children’s swim products or Gilbert swim lessons, stay tuned for future blog posts, or contact EVO Swim School at 480-539-2660.