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Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate the movement patterns of children during free play in a swimming school setting. It was hypothesized that children being taught using flotation vests would be less likely to surface dive, jump, and dive during free play. In this study, 24 participants were observed using a video camera during a 10-minutes free play at the end of a learn-to-swim session. Each subject had undergone 10 lessons either using a flotation vest (n = 11) or without (n = 13). The results showed that the flotation aid group (FLOAT) had significantly fewer surface dives (p=0.006, using a two sample t-test) compared to the control group (CON) and that FLOAT asked for flotation toys significantly more than CON (p = 0.03). No statistically significant differences between groups were observed for breathing, diving, and water entry skills, and the distance moved on land in water due to low statistical power, but FLOAT participants seemed to be less likely to do vertically-oriented movements. We concluded that children learning to swim using flotation aids had a tendency to move more horizontally during free play, and to not choose vertical axis movements (jumping and surface diving), compared to children being taught without the flotation vest.

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