"How far can you swim ? . . . . . ." One of the first questions a child is asked when talking about swimming. But distance is not everything - the ability to survive and to take the right decisions can be just as important in an emergency.
Perhaps the most important distance is the 5 metre badge. To swim across the pool (in the deep end of course; no chance of putting a foot down!) is a daunting challenge that the very youngest can meet and they can often do it one one big breath.
The ability to take a breath when swimming can extend distance and the next badge is the ten metres badge. Normally the swimmer must breathe several times in this distance, which brings in the additional skill of timing the breath when the mouth is above the water line.
It is a big jump to the next distance award of 25 metres and the stroke and breathing are settling down to be more efficient and smoother. Children are reminded to "walk down to the shop, not run" as a means to conserve energy for the return trip.
As skills improve so greater distances can be tackled - 50 metres - 100 metres can all be taken at the Watchet pool. Most will wish to do these distances using front crawl as being the easier stroke to master but others prefer the slower but equally effective breast stroke - or a mixture of both.