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Archive for the ‘Swimming’ Category

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The Mirror Reports: Parents whose children drowned unite in grief to spare heartbreak for other families.

As the summer heatwave ­continues to lure youngsters into rivers, lakes, reservoirs and the sea, they are pleading for action.

“Sadly, open water is a magnet for ­people during the summer. People see it as somewhere they can cool off. But they don’t see the danger.”

Comment: Notice that learning to swim is at the bottom of this list of safety measures below! Uniquely our culture has encouraged pool swimming and vigorously discouraged open water swimming for decades. On a hot sunny day it is natural for youngsters to seek out open water fun. Sadly poor swimming ability does not stifle confidence or bravado. See: From Lifesaving Education to none at all!

RLSS – Tips to swim safe

The Royal Life Saving Society UK gives 12 tips to reduce the risks of swimming in open waters.

■ Always look for warning and guidance signs.

■ Swim parallel with the shore, not away from it.

Avoid drifting in the currents.

■ Do not enter fast- flowing water.

■ Be aware of underwater hazards.

■ Get out of the water as soon as you start to feel cold.

■ Never enter the water after consuming alcohol.

■ Only enter the water in areas with adequate supervision and rescue cover.

■ Always take someone with you when you go into or near water. If something goes wrong they will be able to get help.

■ If someone is in difficulty in the water shout reassurance to them and shout for help and phone the emergency services – call 999 or 112.

■ Without endangering yourself, see if you can reach out to them with a stick, pole or item of clothing – lie down to ensure you stay secure. Or throw something buoyant such as a ring buoy or anything that will float.

■ Always let someone know where you’re going – take your mobile phone.

■ Learn swimming and life-saving skills.

 

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Culture clash! Click the image below and see for yourself the contrast between British and Swiss culture when it comes to outdoor swimming.

Wild Swimming Gunton Switzerland

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The Melton Times reports: New photo exhibition is a fascinating look back through Melton’s history.

An exhibition displaying fascinating images of the town’s past was opened to the public on Saturday and it will run through to July 7.

Many of the pictures, which have been taken from collections kept by the Thorpe End museum and the Record Office for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, have not previously been seen by the general public.

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There is also an image showing outdoor swimming in the town’s river in 1930. It shows a gala at the lido, on a loop in the river east of Burton End, known as Swans Nest. Diving boards and wooden changing huts were installed. Mixed bathing wasn’t allowed.

Discover the history of swimming places in your area: klick here.

Discover why the British separated the sexes when swimming: Klick here.

Go online at http://www.imageleicestershire.org.uk to see a bigger collection of old historic photos collected by the county council.

 

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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…

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Having spent a fortnight touring France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland I am left with many questions about the disparity between European and British swimming culture. From my perspective as a swimmer, and as Brexit draws closer, I wonder if we were ever really part of Europe at all. Switzerland is bordered, and very much influenced by its neighbours. When it comes to swimming there is no need for an ‘Outdoor Swimming Society’ or a ‘Wild Swimming’ guide, because in every river and lake where swimming is possible, hot weather draws swimmers to the water in droves. Local authorities provide a huge number of bathing beaches, lakeside lidos, diving boards, changing rooms, BBQ facilities and even firewood with an axe to chop it up. But lifeguards are typically absent, with a swim, jump, or dive at ‘your own risk’ notice taking their place.

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In England, changing attitudes and perceived concerns have forced swimmers out of most rivers and lakes. The rules by which we live make us cautious in the extreme. Designated bathing areas at the seaside give us a sense of security. Lifeguards are seen as essential. We are constantly warned of the dangers of deep water and convinced that ‘cold water shock’ makes the risk of outdoor swimming seem to those unacquainted with its pleasures, foolhardy at best.

Basel River Swimming

Soon after landing at Basel airport my wife and I were drifting down the Rhine. The river police have earmarked specific bathing places to separate swimmers in the city from shipping. Even so, you have to navigate your way around cross-river ferries, bridge pillars and marker buoys. It’s a little like playing a slow motion game of ‘Space Invaders’, only in this version you have to avoid rather than intercept approaching targets. Swimmers and their dry bags line the riverbank; boys jump in and delight as they are swept along in the swift current. With thousands swimming every day in the cool deep fast flowing water there must be accidents surely? Surprisingly, Switzerland which encourages swimming at every opportunity, shares a similar safety record to that of the over cautious English, who feel duty bound to keep swimmers out of open water to reduce the risk of drowning and any chance of litigation. Yet if our drowning statistics are just the same as Switzerland’s, could it be that with a little education, open water swimming could be opened up in England, just as it is has always been in the rest of Europe?

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The same story unfolds wherever I travel. Take for example the Strandbad in Hard, Austria. Attracting 2,300 swimmers on a hot day, there are pontoons and springboards enticing huge numbers into the greenish waters of a huge lake. The entrance fee includes the use of lockers and changing rooms, and a beautiful chrome edged open air pool with flumes and excited children everywhere. But look for a lifeguard and you will be disappointed. In Austria the dolphin like children sport slender physiques and deep suntans in settings that echo Britain in the 1950’s. Can you imagine a paid attraction in the UK drawing such numbers with the focus on keeping the site clean and the café well staffed rather than on providing lifeguards? For Austrians the school holidays are spent by the river or lake, and swimming even for the very young is a happy and fulfilling way of life. Europe is in itself an outdoor swimming society; swimmers feel at one with the countryside, they enjoy being outdoors; cycling and swimming whenever possible. Could it be that after all these years as part of Europe we have simply not thought to look at the lessons that could be learned from those who swim, swim, swim?

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For how long will English outdoor swimmers be faced with the inevitable reaction to their activities; “They must need help, call 999”? 

Education is of cause the key, but it is not just potential swimmers that need educating, landowners and local authorities also have a lot to learn. Certainly much needs to be done if the swimming holes of the past are to be resurrected today. What I learned from my holiday is that swimming in deep cold water does not lead to certain death, but rather to a very happy life!

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Switzerland Cities: Bern, Schwellenmaetteli

The Local ch reports: Bern residents know there’s nothing better than a swim in the river Aare on a hot summer’s day.

Jumping in upriver and floating down the fast-flowing water into Bern is a popular pastime in the city.

Some even use the turquoise river as a means of commuting to work, drifting around the Swiss capital with a change of clothes in a dry bag.

The Aare flows in a loop around the base of the city, with the town sitting up above, so residents have to walk down from the roads and bridges above to access the riverside.

Now one Bern-based organization wants to make it even easier to go for a dip – and increase the fun factor at the same time.

Grassroots organization Alternative Linke (AL) has proposed to the Bern city authorities that slides be installed at various places in the city to offer a fast and fun way to access the river below, reported 20 Minuten on Thursday.

The public chutes could be installed in the Lorraine and Bundesrain districts, said Markus Flück, who came up with the idea.

The slides “combine usefulness with pleasure,” he told the paper.

“We are aware that this is a very imaginative idea but also one that is very realizable,” he added.

AI submitted the idea to the authorities in early summer, said the paper.

The organization’s plan also suggests installing lifts on several bridges in the city to allow people to get back up to the city centre again.

Discover wild swimming in Switzerland

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The Local FR reports: It’s official. The water in the Paris canal is clean enough to swim in meaning Parisians won’t have an excuse not to take a dip this summer.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has promised Parisians they will be able to swim in the city’s canal this summer after test results revealed the water is clean enough for health standards.
Paris authorities had already voted to allow free swimming in the Bassin de la Villette which links the Canal St Martin and the Canal de l’Ourq in the north east of the city and is one of the locations for the Paris Plages summer beach festival.
But the green light depended on whether the water was clean enough.
The results are in and it’s good news for the city’s swimmers, many of whom took a dip in the canal for a one-off “open day” last summer (see photo above).
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The temporary structures will be built into the actual Bassin, which connects the Canal de l’Ourcq with the Canal Saint-Martin.
The smallest of the pools will be for children and just 40 centimetres deep. Another will be up to 120 centimetres in depth, while a third will be reserved for swimmers at 2m deep.
The pools in total will stretch 90 metres end to end and measure 16m across.
The City Hall estimates that around 1,000 people will show up to the pools on any given summer day.
It plans to take down the pools at the end of the summer period, with the hopes of setting them up again in the summer of 2018.
The Bassin de la Villette was inaugurated in 1808 by Napoleon Bonaparte and was a former port area during the industrialisation of rivers.
However these days it is the centre for numerous cultural events and has been well and truly gentriifed with numerous trendy bars and restaurants opening alongside the water.

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