About Coach Dave

About Coach Dave

I have been teaching the Life Skill of Swimming since 2003. While working full time in corporate American, I taught afternoon swim classes until “jumping in” full time in 2006. My aquatic background includes 6 years as a Newport Beach Lifeguard, a collegiate swimmer and water polo player, and currently compete in triathlons. The method of instruction that I use has been time tested since 1957 by my mentor and trainer Tom Bradbury. With over 85,000 successful new swimmers, Tom’s method works. The tradition of excellence and success continues. Swim with Coach Dave.

What is Swimming?

OK, so now what is meant by swimming. When I say your child will be a swimmer, I mean that at a minimum I can drop the new swimmer into the pool and they will, after they orient themselves, be able to put their head down and kick to the side or the stairs. This gives the new swimmer a chance of survival in the event they fall into the water without an adult there to immediately rescue them. Most students swim far better than this basic skill level.

Use of Arms

The use of arms to aid a young swimmer, in the beginning, is minimal at best. From an early age the child has been crawling and walking. As a result, their leg muscles are more developed. This is what provides the forward movement. Most swimmers should reach with their arms giving them a horizontal position, like a surfboard. This is the best position to save a life. Generally, by about age 3 1/2, the arms become a factor. We teach the beginning swimmers to do “Big Circles” before Freestyle arms. This provides a much better foundation for good swimming technique. Big circles are easier, provide greater stability and movement as well as making learning to breath easier. Teaching Freestyle first usually ends in frustration for the beginner swimmer and a poor body position that makes swimming a struggle, rather than fun.


A child’s lung capacity is much greater than we tend to give them credit for. Do not push a new swimmer to get a breath. It is much better for a beginner to swim slowly and easily and get across the pool than to struggle in the water to take a breath before they are ready. As a new swimmer gains more strength and confidence, breathing will take care of itself. Do not compare your child’s skills to another. All children learn at their own pace.


Introduce the new swimmer to each new swimming venue. The sides of the pool, locations of steps and ladders. Always be aware of the distance from the top of the water to the top of the side. A child cant reach the top of the deck, is not safe no matter how good a swimmer. Always supervise your swimmers. Even experienced swimmers can get into trouble by misjudging their surroundings. Do not assume a good swimmer will always have good judgement and won’t goof around. Help your child be aware of potential hazards wherever you swim. Never allow your child to have unattended access to a pool. There is no such thing as TOTALLY POOL SAFE.