Water Safety Tips from Tom Dolan


by Tom Dolan, US Olympic Gold Medalist, owner of Tom Dolan Swim School


Who doesn’t love heading to a neighborhood pool in the summer or the community rec center in the winter to jump, play, and swim in the refreshing pool water? While many of us think of summertime fun when it comes to swimming pools, our area is fortunate to have many indoor swimming pool options that can be utilized ALL year long. I grew up in this area and have swum my whole life, beginning with summer league and ending at the Olympic Games. One of the most frustrating realities for me in the aquatic industry is the lack of understanding and the vital importance of water safety, learning how to swim and respect the water.

Water safety is something that we MUST practice all year long, not just during the warm weather months. Here are some water safety tips to help you and your little ones enjoy the water any time of year.

Learn to Swim with a Structured Curriculum
This may seem simple and obvious, yet the drowning rates are still sadly staggering. Learning to swim should not be viewed as another activity that can simply fill up a spot in your child’s weekly schedule. In fact, learning to swim is a life-skill that may take years acquire. A structured curriculum that repeats verbal phrases and physical motions is the most beneficial way to help your child to gain muscle memory in the water and to ultimately swim properly — the most important aspect of water safety.

Remember that Children are Never Completely Water Safe
All children, regardless of age, should always have direct supervision when they are in and around the water. Remember that no matter how well your child can swim, there is never a guarantee of safety around the pool, so stay vigilant.

Be Present
Watch over your child and be present with them. We are all guilty of being stuck to our phone. Use pool time as true family time and, in turn, your child’s swimming experience will be much safer.

Swim with a Buddy
While all indoor recreational pools have lifeguards, a swim buddy is someone who is in charge of watching out for just you. Whether it is for your child or yourself, a swim buddy doesn’t have the responsibility of a lifeguard who must watch over a pool full of people. Have your kids bring a buddy to the pool with them so that they can act as an extra set of eyes for each other.

Know your Emergency Options
You should know what your emergency options are and where they are located around the pool area. Who knows CPR and First Aid? Where is the lifeguard located? Where is the nearest emergency phone? The more you educate yourself on where emergency assistance is located, the more efficient you will react if an unfortunate situation occurs.


US Olympic Gold Medalist, Tom Dolan, is excited to bring you the Tom Dolan Swim School. Providing a state-of-the- art purpose-built swim school facility and system that teaches swimmers, from 3 months all the way up to adults, solid fundamentals that are essential for water-safety, recreational and competitive swimming. The swim school’s primary goal, as highlighted in their tagline ‘Swim Thru Life,’ is to provide their students with water-safety education, self-esteem, and confidence in the water — safety skills and life lessons that will stay with your child forever!

The Tom Dolan Swim School is located at 22000 Dulles Retail Plaza, Ste. 104, Dulles, VA 20166. Connect: Online | Facebook | (703) 433-2020.


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