When I was little, I had swimming lessons. My parents insisted that we all go to the local swimming pool and work our way through their lesson programme – first earning our 5 metre swim badge, then moving up to 10 metres, 25 metres, 50 metres, and right up to the one where you have to jump in wearing pyjamas, then take them off. I didn’t like it much, especially the jumping in part.
When I went to middle school at the age of 9, there was a 25-metre pool on the grounds, which the PE department delighted in forcing us into, in what felt like sub-zero conditions. Outdoor pools that are heated by solar panels don’t get very warm in this country. I remember being really surprised that out of a class of 30, fewer than half of us were able to swim well. I had thought all children were dragged to the local pool once a week!
As it happens, 57% of children aged 7-11 don’t know how to swim. I find that pretty scary, to be honest. Especially since these days, the National Curriculum requires schools to teach children to swim 25 metres confidently and using a range of strokes – so that they can swim to safety should the need arise.
Swimshop has offered two sets of arm bands and swimming float for a giveaway on my blog, as a part of their “Save A Live, Learn To Swim” campaign.