By the time this article is published, registration for IAFC 2017 will be open. And if you're like me, you were probably one of the very first to sign up! This year is extra special though because it marks the 30th year that AEA has been offering educational opportunities. Year after year, the finest aquatic fitness professionals from around the world come together to share their expertise and experiences -- to educate and encourage like-minded individuals to push themselves and try new things.
But IAFC is more than just a chance to learn new moves. It is an opportunity to learn more about yourself! For example, last year I had a lifelong dream come true teaching my very own S'WET workshops – S'WET Boot Camp and S'WET Challenge – two of my most popular classes in NYC.
A few weeks after the conference, I received feedback from some of the participants who said they enjoyed the workout but wondered if the moves I demonstrated could also be performed in the deep end, fully suspended.
Well guess what? The answer is yes. In fact, I'll be bringing some of my student's favorite shallow-end moves into the deep end this year as part of my aquatic workshop, S'WET Deep.
Before we begin, here's my confession: I'm not a dancer. I don't "do" choreography. (And if you don't want to take my word for it, look for me on the dance floor party at the end of the conference!) I was a swimmer from high school through college, and sometimes find myself standing over my students like my swim coach Barb (minus the shrill whistle), incorporating suspended swim drills and techniques into the workout.
My warm-ups usually use the full length of the pool, allowing participants to challenge their cardiovascular output with either swimming laps or staying suspended with a belt. A popular move that was easy to transition into the deep are Push Offs, which can be performed fully suspended using the pool wall in the deep end.
This is a favorite with students and they love the three options I give them to return to the wall against the resistive wave created: swimming, Cross- Country Ski, or Toes-in-Front V-sit Pull. Wall Taps are another great way to challenge your students in the deep that also requires them to pay attention to their form.
A fun combination that you can look forward to breaking a S’WET with is one that I created using multiple exercises in the frontal plane. Start in a vertical position with Jumping Jill’s (a.k.a. T Jacks) with strong extended arms, adducting and abducting at the shoulder while the legs move in opposition (ankles plantar flexed for maximal lever length.)
Transition into the Side-to-Side Shoot Through using both legs.
Add two Dolphin Kicks on each side, keeping the legs together. Finally, add on a Straight Body Side-to- Side Tick Tock, powerfully engaging the obliques to bring the hip up towards the surface while keeping the legs together and the body elongated. This combination not only challenges the abdominals and legs, but the arms must work very much like a synchronized swimmer to keep the body aligned properly.
These are just a few ways I blend swim team training with aquatic exercises to create a fully suspended, but physically intense, workout for my students of all backgrounds.
Whether you're a choreographed dancer looking to try some freestyle movements in the deep, or a swim-based instructor who likes to keep the mind and body always guessing what’s next, S'WET Deep at this year's IAFC is guaranteed to take your exercise experience to a whole new depth!
Reprinted with permission from the Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA) www.aeawave.com This article appeared in the April/May 2017 Akwa magazine [Vol. 30 No. 6 Pg. 31]