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The National reports: Robert Hamilton’s dream of an open water regulator was torpedoed by near unanimous opposition from swimmers and swimming organisations, who said they were unwanted, unnecessary and overly commercial.

Unlike in England and Wales, where laws about open swimming are unclear, in Scotland, swimmers have a right to swim freely in open spaces.

Hamilton, along with commercial pilot Stewart Griffiths and swimmer Phia Steyn, had announced plans to establish the Scottish Open Water Swimming Association (SOWSA) to “promote and grow safe open water swimming within Scotland through co-operation between relevant stakeholders and partners in the country”.

Their proposal was to gather “open water swimmers, coaches, event organisers, boat pilots, health and safety professionals, landowners, local and national tourism bodies and relevant heritage and conservation bodies into one body with the aim of promoting and growing safe open water swimming in Scotland”.

But across the country, fans of outdoor aquatics were furious at what they saw as an attempt to limit access to lochs and water, potentially resulting in swimmers being forced to cough up cash for a dip.

There was opposition too from the British Long Distance Swimming Society (BLDSA) and the Outdoor Swimming Society (OSS),

In response to a consultation set up by Hamilton’s group, OSS said: “The establishment of a self-appointed regulatory body with power over all swimming events, venues and pilots in Scotland would create a commercial monopoly that would stifle, restrict and standardise the market, and restrict rather than improve swimming in Scotland.”

A joint response to the consultation from 28 different prominent swimmers complained they had not been made aware of the consultation, and were uncomfortable with a charity representing open water swimmers being proposed by “three people who are known to be closely involved in one of the most heavily advertised commercial companies running open water events and providing services to open water swimmers in Scotland”.

Discover why wild swimmers have faced restriction in England?

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The Evening Standard reports: Birds Eye was forced to drop a fish finger advert after concerns raised by cold water swimming campaigners.

The frozen food giant ran a TV advert showing a man and boy jumping into the sea to a voiceover that said: “Captain Birds Eye loves the simple things, like jumping into cold water on a hot day with his grandson.”

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But a campaign group set up after a 14-year-old boy died from cold water shock claimed the advert was inappropriate.

The firm took the advert off air and agreed to amend the voiceover.

Cameron Gosling, from Cook, died in July 2015 from after going swimming with his friends in the River Wear.

While his friends paddled in the river and acclimatised their bodies, Cameron jumped in. The cold water shocked his body and, despite his friends trying to save him, he died.

The teenager’s family and Durham County Council later launched the Dying to be Cool campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of swimming in cold water.

His mother, Fiona, contacted the company to say she was “shocked” when she saw the advert.

She added: “It seemed as though Birds Eye hadn’t done its research before making it but I’m grateful that they agreed to change the advert and at how quickly they acted.”

And the council also called on the firm for the advert to be changed.

A letter written by written by Jane Robinson, chair of Durham City Safety Group, and Kevin Lough, chair of Durham Open Water Safety Group, said: “Jumping into water can result in cold water shock which is a major factor in drownings.

“Most waters in the UK are of a temperature which would induce cold water shock all year round.

“Durham City Safety Group and Durham Open Water Safety Group therefore ask that you do not continue to suggest jumping into cold water on a hot day is safe.

“This behaviour is not a ‘simple thing’, it leads to many fatalities and we ask that you reconsider this messaging.”

A spokesman for the firm said: “At Birds Eye, we take our advertising responsibilities very seriously and we were grateful to be made aware of this issue.

Swim Safe

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The Otago Daily Times of New Zealand reports: More than 100 local children have been learning water survival skills and experiencing the reality of open water conditions under expert supervision.

The intensive week-long programme, a research project by Associate Prof Chris Button, Dean of the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise, is aimed at filling the gap in children’s open water survival skills.

In total, almost 120 children, mainly from Dunedin, have been learning about open water conditions and experiencing them ”in a fun and engaging way”.

Fifty-seven children aged between 7 and 11, undertook the programme earlier this month, another 60 taking part this week.

The free programme covers a variety of important topics such as float and control breathing, how to attract help in an emergency, underwater swimming to retrieve an object, fitting a life jacket appropriately, understanding river features such as currents, obstacles and unseen hazards, beach games, and awareness of appropriate behaviour in the event of a boat capsizing.

Yesterday’s sessions were at Otago Harbour where experienced Swimsation instructors from Moana Pool took the group through the theory of what they would be doing in the harbour before the children entered the water to put the theory into practice.

Today’s session will involve river survival skills at Outram Glen and tomorrow the group will be learn surf survival skills at Brighton Beach.

An assessment at the Taieri College Pool on Friday will be followed by another post-assessment in about three months.

The children’s knowledge and physical competency was assessed at the start of the programme.

Prof Button, whose interest is in motor learning, says children learn well and quickly and ”hopefully, they will retain what they learn on the programme”.

He said he developed the project because previously the focus had been on children learning to swim in swimming pools and he thought it would be better for them to learn how to swim and survive in open water, such as a harbour, a river and an ocean beach.

The programme was primarily a research project and the data would be provided to Water Safety New Zealand, Swimsation and other interested organisations.

 

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The Guardian reports: Children should undergo swimming tests before being allowed to go swimming on school trips, a coroner has recommended, after a schoolboy drowned in a Canadian lake after being pushed into the water by a schoolfriend.

Abdul Jamal Ottun, 17, a house captain at Wallington County grammar school in Surrey, was on a two-week rugby tour after completing his AS levels in July 2015 when he died swimming in Shawnigan Lake, Vancouver island.

His mother, Lolade Ottun, 47, a maths teacher, said he was an “average swimmer” who had never swum in a lake before, and was not allowed to swim in the sea.

Around 25 boys were in and out of the water, and no one saw him struggling.

David Johnson, the director of sport, who was responsible for risk assessment of the lake on the day, said: “Prior to going on the trip parents had to sign a form. They had to circle an indication of their son’s swimming ability.” Johnson said he had been in the water, and the boys had been warned to be sensible. None of them went further than 10 metres from the jetty.

A health and safety expert, Peter Cornall, said there needed to be “fundamental changes” to the national curriculum regarding swimming safety.

Swim Safe!

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The New Zealand Herald reports: A just-launched index has revealed New Zealand’s best and worst swimming spots – with some popular sites listed as no-go zones among almost 700 rivers, lakes, and beaches.

The updated LAWA (Land, Air, Water Aotearoa) website now features an online tool that lets people check on their local spots before they head for a dip.

The project is a partnership between 16 regional councils, the Ministry for the Environment and the Cawthron Institute.

Among around 40 spots currently listed as “unsuitable for swimming” was the pools at the top of Gisborne’s famous Rere Rockslide and 10 beach sites in Auckland.

“With the information on ‘Can I swim here?’ people can swim in our great outdoors with confidence this summer.”

Some councils also provided point-of-entry signs at popular sites, and swimmers should take notice and follow their instructions… more…

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National Geographic reports: What do Denmark, Costa Rica, and Singapore have in common? Their people feel secure, have a sense of purpose, and enjoy lives that minimize stress and maximize joy. Here’s how they do it.

Denmark

These young men leap from a 16-foot-high diving platform into Copenhagen’s harbor. A built environment that invites physical activity helps explain why Danes have among the lowest obesity rates in the world. The country frequently claims the top spot in the annual World Happiness Report, a reflection of its government-supported education, health care, and financial safety net. More…

See also: Swimming could cheer up Britain

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The Newham Recorder reports:

Swim England and nine partners are bidding to reconnect families by swapping screens for swimming in the Love Swimming initiative.

In the digital age, children are spending a great deal of time on their screens and, at a time when we are never more connected to the world via the internet, families have revealed they have never felt more disconnected within the family unit.

With the release of an impactful film featuring a real family, the Roberts, and illustrating ‘Because their console doesn’t work underwater’, Swim England and nine partners from the swimming sector are driving home the message that real-world connection has significant advantages over digital immersion, with the pool providing a complete escape from the digital world – one of the few places where families cannot take a console compared to other family activities.

The swimming industry is encouraging people across the country to get off their screens and back into family fun by putting aside technology once a week and instead visiting their local pool to enjoy spending time together, being active and reconnecting in the real world.

In a 2017 OnePoll survey, almost nine in 10 people agreed gadgets get in the way of spending quality family time together, with families only spending 36 minutes together on an average weekday.

Seven out of 10 parents even recognised there are times when they could be spending time with their children, but are busy playing on their phone or tablet instead.

Ofcom’s 2017 Annual Report announced the internet has overtaken television as the top media pastime for British children, who are now spending 15 hours a week online, while the Children’s Commissioner is encouraging parents to give children time to switch off and get moving.

Love Swimming is aimed at the one-third of people for whom, according to Ofcom, there is ’general acceptance’ of families sitting in the same room but all on different screens and gadgets to watch a TV show, catch up on social media or play a game.

Reading this its hard to imagine that Britain was once a nation of hardy swimmers. Discover the history of swimming and British culture at: Hung Out to Dry…