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High End Lessons with Mark Charke

What is a High End Lesson?
This is a private swimming lesson with an instructor with over 30 years of experience, who will come to your pool anywhere in the Lower Mainland.

How Much Do They Cost?

There is a 300$ transportation fee plus 300$ an hour (min 1 hour). 

What are you getting when you purchase a High End Lesson?

  You are getting an instructor with over 9000 hours of swimming lesson experience, who has trained more than 10 000 students. He is a trained firefighter who has attended 400 fire calls. With years of work for BC Film, you can expect professional and confidential service. And you are hiring a clown who can get his student's attention and make them smile while teaching them important skills.

   Mark Charke was an Lifeguard/Instructor for the City of Richmond for 15 years and spent several years each working for Surrey, Maple Ridge, Nanaimo, Vancouver, various camps and running Charke Swim. He was a Surrey Firefighter for 7 years.

   You won't see many instructors with these qualifications because most Lifeguards move on to other careers after a few years and the long term guards usually migrate into mangement roles. Mark just never wanted to stop teaching.


Mark Charke has been trained as a Lifeguard, Instructor, Firefightter and First Aid Attendant.

First Aid+

CPR-C, Standard First Aid, First Responders 3 (FR3), Ocupational First Aid Level III (OFA 3), National Lifeguard (Pool, Waterfront and Waterpark), Food Safe, Workplace Hazardous Materials (WHMIS), Fire Fighter I, SCBA, Air Brakes

Instructor Training

Advanced Instructor, Water Safety Instrustor 1 & 2, Water Safety Instructor - Trainer, Lifesaving Society - Swim Instructor

Trained in Swim Club, Judo Instructor

Math, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Creative Writing, Psychology, Acting and Drama.

Pyschology for Swimming

  I have a background in psychology which did not stop when I left school. I know, for instance, that there are three learner types, Audio, Visual and Tactile and people tend to prefer one over the others. I try to teach using all three whenever I can but I am a visual learner so my lessons tend to be more visual. I know the phone companies did research and learned we can remember 7 things in short term memory so I try not to give students more than 7 things to do. Once something is practised and goes into long term memory (muscle memory), it does not tend to use up those seven spots but for new swimmers, each arm and leg is doing something different and that's 4 spots!
  Over the years I've broken many skills into smaller and smaller peices so they are easier to learn. I have been working on a new drill where you flick your toes to focus your kicking on the end of your limb, rather than the middle. I'm exploring wearing a large transparent bucket on the head to introduce new swimmers to the loss of sensation of going under water without having to endure water in the face yet. It sounds weird but it's one more tool for training.

  About half the time I can tell if someone can swim before they reach the water. This is a lifeguarding skill that all lifeguards eventually develop. Someone with new swimwear is more likely to be new to swimming, especially if they look up at the ceiling and around the building like they are there for the first time. Every now and then you catch a new swimmer headed to the deep end and suggest they start in the water where they can touch the bottom instead of jumping off the diving board.

  My Judo Sensi was my greatest instructor. He would bring the kids in and let them literally bounce off the padded walls in the dojo until they calmed down. Sometimes this took half an hour. Then he would start the class. I can't recall him ever getting mad at someone in the many years I was at the White Rock Judo Club. That is the instructor I emulate. There is no place in teaching for anger. Kids are kids and act like it.

  The job of a teacher isn't just to teach. They should already know the material and how to teach it. The real job is to figure out how to teach the student they have at any given time. To this end, the classical statement that the 'Teacher must learn as much as the student, if not more' is so incredibly true.

  I've always had an easy time relating to and teaching people with autism. Finding out in my thirties that I was autistic finally answered the question of why. It also explained my focus on teaching.

It's Too Expensive!

Mark continues to offer his lessons to the general public at close to city rates in Nanaimo five days a week. For those outside of Nanaimo who want premium lessons provided at their own pool, this service is available.

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