Spotlight On Residential Swimming Courses

Spotlight On Residential Swimming Lessons With Swimming Without Stress

You may or may not realise that here at Croft Farm & Celtic Cottages we have been hosting residential swimming courses for some time now. Students stay in our cottages and have their lessons in our indoor heated pool with Ian and Cheryl, the very talented tutors (and owners) of Swimming Without Stress.

An important part of their philosophy, and ours too, is giving our guests / students the pleasure of stepping away from the demands of everyday life to come away and relax, refresh and for those taking a swimming course, be rewarded with a new way of ‘being’ in the water.

swimming without stress residential lessons
Ian working with a student during a Swimming Without Stress lesson.

We caught up with Ian and Cheryl for a poolside chat about Swimming Without Stress, to find out a bit more about what they do.

What 5 words do you feel best represent Swimming Without Stress?

Improve your relationship with water

What was your inspiration behind setting up Swimming Without Stress?

We were keen swimmers and decided to train as teachers in 1995.  But our initial swimming teacher training course seemed to cater mainly for children with no fear of water and we saw a need for a more considered, individual approach.  We were interested in The Alexander Technique and this gave us a focus on helping nervous swimmers relax and recreational swimmers move in a  more healthy and efficient way. Our one to one lessons for adults and children in Oxfordshire were very popular and we were teaching full time by 1998.

How does a Swimming Without Stress residential course of lessons differ from the more typical adult swimming lessons most people might have?

We use the Alexander Technique, which is all about improving quality of experience through preventing unnecessary tension.  We never use buoyancy aids but we always use hands on guidance. We understand fear of water as a physiological problem, not just a psychological one. Attention to the basics means progress into strokes comes more easily.

What do you believe an enjoyment of swimming gives us land-loving humans?

A chance to slow down and explore movement in a different medium, one in which the weight of our body is supported – an antidote to the stresses and strains we all experience on dry land.

Although we know you value all your students’ outcomes, what has been the most rewarding swimming tuition you’ve given?

Light-bulb moments are rewarding, when we show both non swimmers and swimmers that if they do nothing, the water will support them and when they let this happen, breathing becomes easier. A move from fear and tension to relaxation and freedom.

What is generally the biggest mindset shift your students have about swimming after their lessons with you?

That a healthy approach is more about quality of experience in water, mindfulness in movement, than about clocking up lengths

What is the most common question your students have about what you teach and how do you answer?

“How will you get me to float?”

We’ll give you support and hands on guidance and help you to use the buoyancy of your head.  We’ll help you experience how the water supports you and teach you to regain your feet in a calm and balanced way.  

What is one surprising thing about you both (and Swimming Without Stress) which most people don’t know?

Ian has a degree in Thai.  Cheryl doesn’t like lane swimming.  We didn’t have a wedding but went for a swim in Tokyo after getting married there. Swimming Without Stress is as much about our way of life as it is about our pupils’ swimming – (we don’t teach all day, every day which is why we get booked up quickly!)

Many people might feel they’ve left it too late and could ‘never be a confident swimmer’ or ‘never really enjoy swimming’ – what would your message be to someone thinking that?

Anyone can learn to enjoy being in the water and becoming a confident swimmer will follow with motivation and time:  it’s never too late. It’s best not to be too goal oriented if you’re coming to swimming late in life but to make enjoyment of water your primary goal. If you enjoy the process, you’ll keep improving.

cottages with heated swimming pool
Our indoor heated swimming pool where lessons are held.


The lessons are either one-to-one for 45 minutes, or a shared hour for 2 people (couples or friends, and abilities don’t need to be similar), and 6-8 lessons are recommended. As you can see this also leaves ample time for you to enjoy our other onsite facilities and explore this picturesque corner of Wales where the Pembrokeshire Coastal National Park meets Cardigan Bay.

If you would like to find out more about Ian and Cheryl’s lessons you can get more information on their website at Swimming Without Stress

Regarding the accommodation side of things, we offer 10% off accommodation to all swimming lesson customers staying either 5 or 6 nights, and 15% off a 7 night stay. This discounted rate is valid from mid-September to mid-May. In June and July discounts vary according to the size of your travelling party, ranging from 10% – 25% off bookings of 5-7 nights.

These discounts exclude school holidays and cannot be used in conjunction with any other special offers and discounts.

For further information please contact us on 01239 615179 or email us at .