Learn how to swim for your health and safety

Swim coaching beside swimming pool


Posted July 12, 2023

Swimming is not only a life skill that every Australian should learn, but it also leads to a lifetime of fitness, fun and good health.

Swimming is a great way to boost your health, fitness, and wellbeing and can be done at a leisurely pace or as a competitive pursuit. Heated indoor pools are the perfect place to learn to swim, with lessons offered all year round. Don’t wait for summer to hone your skills. With the promise of a hot shower at the end, swimming through the winter months keeps adults fit and prepares children for the summer months of beach and pool visits.

RACV Club personal trainer and swim coach Alex Piatrow says swimming is a great workout for all ages because it’s low impact and exercises the whole body. 

“It's a full-body workout. Whether it’s freestyle, breaststroke or butterfly, swimming helps build muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness,” Piatrow says. “Even playing and walking in water works. You should do what feels good.”

Go behind the doors at RACV City Club.

Everyone can learn how to swim

RACV Club has an indoor swimming pool, children’s wading pool, and spa, sauna and steam room at each of its two properties: City Club at 501 Bourke Street in Melbourne’s CBD and Healesville Country Club & Resort in the Yarra Valley.

Both Fitness Centre swimming pools cater for all ages and skills levels, including lessons for babies, children and adults, and squad for competitive swimmers. There are also aqua aerobics classes, which offer a good cardiovascular workout.

All swim teachers are AUSTSWIM accredited and can assist you to reach your goals – whether you want to learn basic water safety or fully master your swimming and diving techniques. Lifeguards are always on duty to assist with questions, special-needs access and provide pool equipment and accessories for your enjoyment.

Even if you didn’t learn to swim as a child, you can learn as an adult. It’s also important to refresh your skills if you’ve had a break from swimming.

Swimming pool

The pool at RACV City Club is great for laps, learning to swim and aqua aerobics. Image: Matt Harvey. 


Swimming can boost your wellbeing

Mental health boost

Swimming can help release endorphins, which boosts your mood and alleviates stress. Like yoga, swimming can be used to relax and practice mindfulness. “I think about things as I swim, and I find that’s a mental release. You can enjoy the solitude,” Piatrow says.

Burning calories

Swimming increases your metabolism and helps you burn calories. It’s estimated that 30 minutes of steady swimming can burn between 200 and 350 calories.

In colder weather, your body burns more calories to keep you warm, which is why you can feel exhausted when you get out of the pool. The key is to make sure you eat something healthy afterwards.

Perfect for all ages

Swimming is an activity for all ages. It’s also great for pregnant women. A UK study, The Health and Wellbeing Benefits of Swimming, found swimmers lived longer.

As you age you can have problems with arthritis or osteoporosis, and swimming is a low-impact exercise that doesn’t put too much load on the joints. You can gently exercise, and still get benefits.


Swimming aids recovery by building muscle strength and improving your range of motion. A physiotherapist can give you exercises relevant to your injury.

child in swimming pool

Club Members and their children can learn to swim at RACV Club. Image: Getty. 


Staying safe around water

Swimming skills are critical to our safety and enjoyment of water activities. The Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2022 shows that 339 people drowned in Australian waterways last year.

Piatrow knows from personal experience that water safety skills are vital. “My brother nearly drowned in our backyard pool when he was two years old and I was about seven,” she says. “I had my back to him and heard a splash. He sunk halfway to the bottom of the pool, and I rushed to save him.”

She says this experience rammed home the importance of water safety, especially around children. “Drowning can happen very, very quickly – in about 20 seconds, and you don’t hear a child drown. They don’t make a noise; that’s the scary thing.”

swimming pool at RACV Healesville Country Club

The heated 25m swimming pool at Healesville Country Club & Resort has been retiled. Image: Lucas Allen.


Be aware of pool regulations

Learning how to swim is just one way to stay safe around water. The Royal Life Saving Society Australia recommends some level of supervision for all children under 15, from being in the pool and with arm’s reach for children under the age of 5, actively supervising from the water’s edge for those aged 5 to 10 years and regularly checking up on those aged 11 to 14 years.

If you have a pool at home or visit someone else’s home with a pool, be aware of the latest pool safety regulations. These swimming pool safety tips will help keep the whole family safe.

Once you're confident with your swimming, you can enjoy the best freshwater swimming holes in Victoria when the weather is warmer. Or if you dare, join one of Melbourne’s established iceberg clubs for a cold dip in the bay.

If you're going to the beach, stay safe by swimming between the flags and follow Surf Life Saving Australia's advice on how to avoid getting caught in a rip.


Want to learn how to swim?
Improve your skills at the RACV City Club Fitness Centre →