First things first: this post is about borders in swimming pools and not about ridiculous border walls elsewhere.

It asks us to question what kind of behavioral borders and boundaries you practice with yourself and as a consequence, your own child or a student.

Hopefully the answer is not border-line.

Are you a relaxed boundary kind of parent or carer?

Perhaps you are a parent without borders or you might even be the tight border kind?

The discussion about parenting styles can go on forever.

Whatever kind of parental boundaries you enjoy or don’t enjoy practicing,

one thing is for certain, thank goodness for swimming pool borders and boundaries!


Swimming pool borders are a clearly defined perimeter within which a child is able to explore and discover themselves.

It is a very clear, physically tangible line, that allows for a feeling of safety when learning how to swim.

Clear boundaries help define where we are able to swim to and where we are not.

They are there to lean on when we get tired, to hold onto in the deep and to act as a reference point at every turn.

Pool boundaries show us how to share space with others, where our limits lie and how to listen and respect them.


Pool borders are not there to come in and out of, at will.

They are not bendable, negotiable nor can they be emotionally manipulated.

They do not change depending on who’s in charge.

Nor do they take things personally.


As a human being it took me a while to discover and define my personal boundaries from the infinite sea of possibility.

To overcome feelings of limitation, guilt and torment when doing so, has been a journey in itself.

The sea was the playground I grew up in.

Its freedom infinite, liberating but also daunting, scary and confusing.

So too was the absence of my own upbringing’s clear borders and boundaries.


What I discovered when working professionally in water,

Is that it is essential that borders and boundaries are clearly defined within myself first and foremost.

In water everything is a continuation of myself, reflected and amplified.

The surface of the water itself is also a crystal clear boundary that cannot be undermined.

Staying under the water’s surface a second longer could prove fatal.

Falling past a pools borders and into a pool can also put an end to a life.


It could not be more overstated that pool borders and boundaries need be clearly defined, understood and respected by both child and parent.

Clearly defined borders in the pool are a matter of life or death in fact.

As captain of the swimming pool ‘ship’ I have had to work hard at defining my personal and professional borders, as well as being able to stand my ground when necessary.

A crystal clear ‘mast’ leaves no room for doubt or misinterpretation. Safety comes first for all aboard and it is non-negotiable.

Knowing when to sit back and trust that the ‘ship’ itself will show up what needs to be seen, is also an acquired skill in itself.

How can we use pool borders to educate and speak for themselves, rather than be the border ourselves, is yet another liquid adventure.

I will never forget the expression on an angry child’s face that hadn’t any parental borders at home. Being allowed to do whatever he wanted in the name of a gentle parenting approach, had created more anxiety and fear than pleasure in him.

A clear no and a firm handling of how his fear was expressing itself  in the pool actually allowed him to feel safe. After testing me, he knew he could trust me, that if he ‘drowned’ I would be there to catch him.

A feeling that due to the absence of healthy borders and boundaries at home, he did not share with his parents.

Fear turned into relief in an instant.

I am sure a few of you will disagree. This is where I am at.