Logos On A Shoestring

Logos On A Shoestring
Pencil DrawingMany swimming teachers dream of owning their own swim school and once you are over the major hurdle of finding a suitable swimming pool, what about the business logos, uniform, business cards and all the other design bits and pieces?

To employ a graphic designer is one option, but could also be expensive.  So what is the alternative?  If you can draw, know someone who can or know what kind of design you are looking for; this is a great start.  All you need now is to sit down with a pencil and paper and start to sketch – it doesn’t matter if you make mistakes and rub/scribble them out, in fact the original sketch can be really scruffy and be completely devoid of colour as that can be added later.

Once you are happy with the sketch, scan it into your computer and save in a jpeg format.  From past experience, the next stage is more successful if you have an up to date computer as otherwise, the program Sumopaint will run slow.  To use Sumopaint, log onto the web and go to the address www.sumoware.com>. Click on “Try Sumo Paint”.

Screen Shot Of Sumo Paint

A new file will open up.  To work on your design, click on "file" in the top left corner and then select "open from my computer" from the drop down menu.

Second Screen Shot Of Sumo Paint

Select your file and it will be uploaded to Sumopaint.

Rough Scanned Sketch

In the bottom right hand corner of the page, you should see "Layers", click on the icon of a page with a plus sign (text will appear telling you what each icon is); this will be your outline layer.  To be honest, I like to add lots of layers to make up different parts of the picture and then merge them down into one layer when it suits (to get the alternative menu, keep the cursor in the layers section and right click).

Once you have completed the outline, using the tools on the left of the screen (I tend to use the curve line tool mostly), you can delete your original drawing and add a new layer with a solid colour for a background.

Layers Screen Shot
Neat Outline Drawing

The final stage is to colour in the image and bring it to life.  Now the majority of the filling in can be completed in the outline layer, but you will be left with an empty margin where the fill does not quite meet the outline.  To fix this problem, add a new layer and position it between your new background and outline layers (select the new layer and use the arrows to move it up or down).  Using the paintbrush tool and the fill colour, paint up to the line, it doesn't matter if it goes slightly into the line as it won't be seen, just don't go past the other side of the line.  When you are happy with your image, save in the jpeg format to your computer.

Finished Image Of Logo
Sumopaint really gives you the opportunity to come up with something that is completely your own and when the first image is complete, the choices of what you can do with it are endless.  The Splash 'n' Swim logo at the top of this webpage, was drawn on Sumopaint along with all the other drawings found on this website.  You can photo edit, add text, adapt old drawings to your hearts content and then apply your work to all sorts of media.

For business cards and stationary, I would highly recommend MOO at www.moo.com.  MOO will let you upload your chosen image and take you step-by-step through the process of laying out your own stationary.  There is a wide choice of products and the team give you updates on the stages of your order.  I designed my own MiniCards late on a Wednesday afternoon and they were delivered to me the following Friday morning - I was extremely impressed!

Use your swim school characters to jazz up your lessons.  For the Saturday swim school that I teach, I have five groups: Froglets, Splash!, Wave, Piranhas and Tritons (these names were chosen by the children).  Each group name then had a character designed for them and instead of just leaving it at that, I produced an information sheet based on the Moshi Monsters idea.  These sheets are then given out to the children when they join the swim school or they move up a group.

Piranha Drawing
Character Profiles

The swim school that I work for has used Vectra Promotions for t-shirt design in the past and I was given permission to design my own uniform t-shirts based on the characters.  These have been extremely popular with the children and adults, who have commented on the lovely bright colours.  The t-shirt material is a synthetic that is quick drying and suitable for wearing in the water and even though, the t-shirts have had a lot of use, the colour hasn't faded at all.

Piranha T-Shirt
Piranha T-Shirt

A Little Sympathy Goes A Long Way

A Swimmer's Hidden Background History

Kids come in all shapes and sizes.  They also have different types of personalities and levels of understanding.  If you don’t know the child (or if a child you know well has a sudden change in personality) it can feel like a baptism of fire.


I have experienced two instances recently where I have felt like I was sinking rather than having the usual teaching experience of things going along swimmingly.  The first episode, I was covering for a colleague and it was the last session of the day.  I was taking three girls all aged between ten and twelve.  Two of the girls were strong swimmers and technically good, the third was all over the place, splashing and not at all settled.  I decided that I would give the girls different drills and try and tailor it to their individual needs rather than give them a blanket task.

Alice and Charlotte (all names have been changed) were asked to undertake arm drills, whilst Dana was given the leg drill that had been covered in the previous week’s lesson.  Dana didn’t like this one little bit and threw a tantrum demanding why did she have to repeat something that she did last week, whilst Alice and Charlotte got to do something different.  I tried to explain that I give different drills to students all the time and that I wasn’t singling her out.  To cut a long story short, it finally occurred to me that Dana was suffering from low self-esteem and constantly comparing herself to Charlotte and Alice certainly didn’t help with her sheer frustration.

Technical drills were not going to work, so I asked Dana to concentrate on feeling relaxed and to worry about what the others were doing.  It began to work, her front crawl kick began to straighten out and whilst not perfect, a marked improvement could be seen.  I left the lesson mulling over what had caused this kind of behaviour.  I thought her behaviour was extreme for someone her age and it was similar in parts to someone with autistic tendencies, on the other hand, could it be nationality characteristics?  Dana is American and whilst the British tend to be quite reserved and stuffy, Americans can be forthright in their opinions and personality – the complete opposite of each other.

Situation number two happened with one of my own regular swimmers.  I have taught Benjamin for over a year and even though he is a chatterbox, he is an outgoing friendly child.  The Monday before May half-term, there was a marked change of character, in the fact that he was rude and wouldn’t do what I wanted him to do.  It got to the stage where I had to sit him out on the side, something that happens rarely.  After the lesson, I had a chat with mum and it transpired that Benjamin is currently being assessed for Aspergers and that usually his symptoms are not noticeable unless he is going through a growth spurt.  Mum did also say, it could be that as Benjamin feels comfortable with me, he might take advantage and treat the


  • Listen to your pupil, what are they telling you?  What are they telling the other children?  In what manner are they conversing?  For example, is it in an irate manner or tearful?
  • Is their home / school life affecting their lesson time?  I had one little boy who was being bullied at school and he hadn’t told his parents.  If this is the case, tell the parents as soon as possible.  Home life problems are a different matter; you should contact your manager a.s.a.p. and only listen to the child; do not go asking leading questions.
  • How about their behaviour, is it normal for their age group (if you don’t know them) or if it is one of your regulars, is it out of character?  Speak to the parents if you know the child and the behaviour is unusual.
  • If technical drills are not being effective, focus on relaxation drills (different shaped floats and breathing exercises) or just asking the child to “chill out” whilst swimming might work.
  • If you have given the child a different task to the others and they are upset about it, try and explain to them why you have done so in a positive light and stroking their ego a little bit could also help.

swimming lesson as an extension of being at home.  Even though Mum said it was wrong of Benjamin to behave in this way, I was pleased to find a reason for this surprising behaviour and told her I was willing to make allowances.


I believe if I had been a newly qualified swimming teacher, I would not have had the ability to cope or accommodate either behaviour, as this topic area is not covered in depth during ASA level 2 training.  It is only over time and having three children of my own to practice on, that I have managed to develop a sympathetic attitude to individual needs.  Swimming isn’t always about technique to get a good technical style.  Children (and adults) will come to their lesson with all kinds of background baggage, maybe an important relationship in their lives has just broken down, maybe they are being bullied at school.  A basic understanding of their situation and a sympathetic ear might be all that is needed to get the best of their swimming.