It’s International Learn To Swim Week 24-30 May.
With babies, children and adults having very limited, or no access to swimming pools over the last 12 months, this year’s International Learn to Swim Week takes on a whole new level of importance and we want everyone to get involved – and to get back to ‘Loving Water Safely’.
Prince William recently said that “every child should learn to swim” and we completely agree with him!
We are passionate about helping children and adults to learn to swim and we work with the Swim England ‘Learn to Swim Pathway’, supporting children from their first splash to being happy competent swimmers.
However, nationally, there is real concern about the amount of swimming lessons having been missed as a result of the pandemic.
More than one million children could leave primary school in the next five years unable to swim the minimum standards required under the national curriculum, according to worrying new predictions.
These startling figures have been published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Swimming and recognised national governing body Swim England, who are warning of a ‘lost generation’ of swimmers unless action is taken to halt the projected decline.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic around one in four children could not swim the statutory 25 metres when they left primary school – and it is feared that could rise to three in five children by the 2025-26 academic year.
So let’s remind ourselves why children should learn to swim
A life skill
Beyond being a crucial life-saving skill, swimming is great for all round health and fitness and a skill which provides an opportunity to enjoy many other sports and activities such as diving, synchronised swimming, sailing and canoeing, not to mention the more obvious having more fun on holiday in the pool and sea.
It is important, however, that children learn how to respect water as early as possible, as even the most confident of swimmers can get into trouble in the water. Children should always be supervised around water, even once they have learnt how to swim.
Good for physical and mental health
Swimming is an excellent form of low-impact cardiovascular exercise for the whole body. Children’s bodies are constantly changing as they develop and grow and it is important they gain enough exercise to burn off both excess energy and fat. Burning off this excess energy will help your child get a good night’s sleep, which has numerous benefits in itself.
Swimming also helps to develop strong bones and muscles, and promotes flexibility and coordination.
Self-confidence and life skills
With every new stroke a child learns, they will be developing self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment. Swimming is also a great means of showing your child what they can achieve with dedication and regular practice. Speedo’s research has also shown that swimming can make us feel more confident about the way we look.
Though swimming is generally an individual sport, swimming lessons will give your child an opportunity to develop their social skills. These include how to act appropriately around other people, how to respect other people’s space and that everyone has a different body and learns at a different rate.
Fun and enjoyment
Many children take great pleasure from splashing around in water, whether it be in a bath, paddling pool, swimming pool or in the sea. Swimming can also be a great opportunity for you to spend quality time with your child, meaning you can both enjoy these benefits together.
So let us all celebrate the return of swimming lessons and raise awareness about the importance of learning to swim, not only as a vital life skill but how swimming will also play an important role in helping our youngsters recover from the pandemic, physically and mentally.
Crash courses for half term
Condensed courses during half term are effective and a great opportunity to make progress fast.
Our Swim Academy offer lessons from babies through to adults at the following centres Bury, Hadleigh, Haverhill, Mildenhall, Newmarket and Sudbury.