Archive for the ‘swimming lessons’ Category


Belfast Live reports: A programme which aims to teach kids how to stay safe in open water is hosting free swimming lessons in Northern Ireland this summer.

Swim Safe, is coming to NI for the first time this summer to host free hour-long sessions for 7–14 year olds run by qualified swimming teachers and RNLI beach lifeguards, supported by a team of trained volunteers.

The sessions are designed to be practical, interactive, educational and fun for children who can swim at least 25 metres.

Every child that participates will receive 60 minutes of tuition, with the time split between land-based safety with a lifeguard and in-water tuition with a swimming teacher.

Wetsuits, swimming hats and a free goody bag with T-shirt are all provided.

RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Jenny Thompson said: “Many children love swimming outdoors – but swimming in the sea, rivers and lakes is different to swimming in a pool and can often be much more challenging.

“The Swim Safe programme gives children the opportunity to learn about keeping safe when swimming outdoors and knowing what to do if they get into trouble.”

Visit the SwimSafe website to book your place and for more information.

Chris Ayriss comments: What a contrast this piratical program is to the warnings broadcast in 2014 “Don’t go in!”


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The Eastern Daily Press reports: A fight is underway to make sure swimming remains a priority in education, as pool upkeep and transport costs stretch schools’ already squeezed budgets.


Spiralling repair and maintenance costs have forced many schools to close their pools, while transporting pupils to and from lessons can be a costly burden in the tough climate.

It has seen school swimming slide across the country, with Swim England figures from 2015 showing that just 52pc of key stage two children are able to swim 25 metres unaided – despite it being a national curriculum requirement.

Our Summer of Swimming campaign, launched last week, has highlighted how swimming participation, though still the nation’s favourite sport, has dwindled.

And with research showing that children who don’t learn at primary school are more likely to become one of the one in five adults unable to swim, efforts are ongoing to ensure all children earn their water wings.


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The River Torrens was home for the Gilberton Swimming Club until 1970 when it was banned from using the waterway

Adelaide Now reports:

A 100-year-old swimming club that started in the River Torrens is closing but only after sharing its $450,000 nest egg with the community. Gilberton Swimming Club will spread the money among the Walkerville, Klemzig, Vale Park and East Adelaide Primary schools. The $450,000 sum has grown from about $150,000 the state government paid the club when it was forced out of the Torrens swimming hole in 1970.

Gilberton Swimming Club on the banks of the River Torrens

A ban on swimming in the river displaced the club, which received the money for land it owned either side of the Torrens pool. The homeless club has since funded children’s swimming classes in local pools instead of building a replacement pool of its own. More…

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New Picture

The Daily Echo reports: FREE outdoor swimming and water safety sessions for up to 2,700 children will be held in Sandbanks Beach from the end of this month.

The Swim Safe programme, which is delivered in partnership between the ASA (Amateur Swimming Association) and the RNLI, is running events from July 30 to August 18 for the public to attend. It features a land-based safety lesson with a lifeguard, followed by in-water tuition with a swimming teacher.

Ashley Jones, Site Coordinator for Swim Safe at Sandbanks said: “We’re really looking forward to running Swim Safe for the first time on Sandbanks Beach this year.

Wetsuits, swimming hats and a free goody bag with t-shirt are all provided.

Swim Safe

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PRWEEK reports: One in Five Swedish children cannot swim. The energy firm E.ON’s Swedish subsidiary has teamed up with the country’s swimming federation to launch a campaign called The Power of Swimming, which aims to “inspire young people to swim and to raise water-confidence”.

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Beccles River Bathing Place 1905

Highlights and Early History of River Bathing at Beccles

Test your knowledge at the end!

1862 WARNING: To Bathers. All persons who are found bathing in the RIVER WAVENEY between the Smelt House and 200 yards below Beccles Bridge after 9 o’clock in the morning, will be PROSECUTED according to law.

1867 COUNCIL: Public Bathing Place suggested.
1873 Saw the purchase of the Old Granary on the banks of the river Waveney in Puddingmoor for the sum of £300. The building was to be used as a dressing room for people bathing in the river. This was the beginning of the history of organised Outdoor Swimming in Beccles. The old bathing place still much used.
1874 Council: Bathing Place should be made deeper. 200 a day used it when very warm; 100 when cooler; 50 a day now (September).
1875 Ladies to have special time for using Bathing Place.
1881 BATHING PLACE: (LETTER): Some years ago a spot about 300 yards up the river was the only recognised place for bathing, but it was hampered by a halfpenny fine to reach it, for ferrying across the river. There was difficulty about getting a right of way to the Bathing place. The Corporation decided upon making a new bathing place. They purchased propertyalongside the river, but unfortunately a bungle was made of the scheme, and the outcome was an old granary fitted up in rough and ready style, and a limited quantity of enclosed water. This was all very well for youngsters learning to swim, but the grand mistake was in ignoring the large number of persons who can swim, and to whom it is no pleasure to be contained to a small breadth of filthy water. The old bathing place is still used by many who desire to enjoy a wholesome bathe. A better spot could not be found for miles around. Until within the last two or three years the ground shelved gradually down to the middle of the river, which is deep, free from weeds, and suitable in every respect for the swimmer. Now holes have been dredged in the shallow side, and it is positively dangerous. Only the other morning a lad, trying to swim, got into one of these holes and was nearly drowned.
1894 108 yards of the river frontage was cordoned off and enclosed with and post and plank fence. The planking was fixed to stout posts, driven firmly into the bed of the river, a gap below the fence allowed the flow to change the depth of water. Cubicles were built for changing rooms: one set for ladies and one for the gentlemen separated by a large communal changing room for youth and boys. For girls there were six or eight wooden huts.
1895 NEW BATHING PLACE used by 30,000 bathers this Summer. Never before has there been such a run on the place as a result of the long and hot summer.
River Bathing Place Beccles
 1922 The Town Council agree to allot separate hours to schools for children’s swimming lessons. The Council also agreed to the installation of 3 spring boards with the centre one to be made rigid (no longer in existence). 1930s The entry fee was 2d for Adults and 1d for children.

1959 Construction of a new Bathing Place adjacent to the old one began and was completed in the same year. The result is what remains today; Beccles Outdoor Swimming Pool.

Diving Boards at Beccles Bathing Place

1975 Saw the installation of Heating for the Pool.

The Swimming Pool at Beccles

1976 “Beccles Swimming Pool is one of the town’s most popular summer sporting attractions providing not only a pleasant riverside leisure spot for local people and holiday visitors alike but also valuable service as a place where people can learn to swim..” For more information click here…


Questions to consider…

When the Romans occupied Britain they built bathing places countrywide. Why did these close, and why was bathing and swimming then discouraged for centuries? (see Hung Out to Dry p 11, 14-16, 41-43)

In 1862 why was it OK to bathe in the river before 9.00 am, but why did you face prosecuted for bathing after 9.00? (see Hung Out to Dry p 7, 96)

Why fence off the river for bathers? (see Hung Out to Dry p 23-24, 119)

Why build a Lido when river bathing was so popular? (see Hung Out to Dry p 129)

Why since then have Lidos closed one after another, and why do those that remain struggle to keep their heads above water? (see Hung Out to Dry p 33-34)

Enjoy find the answers here…

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Certainly not the idea, the Health and safety ethos protects us from many unnecessary risks; it has saved lives and prevented countless accidents.

But is it working in the swimming environment?

In many ways yes, thinking about potential risks and finding ways to negate them makes organised swims safer and builds confidence in those who allow swimmers to take to their waterways.

It’s doesn’t work when risks are perceived incorrectly.

No Swimming Castle Gardens Leicester

The Royal Life Saving Society is commendably committed to reducing open water drownings. Yet despite outdoor swimmers being ranked as a low risk group, its public message to date has been crystal clear. “Don’t get in, you might not get out.” So convincing has been the message theirs no wonder that local authorities and water companies are reluctant to open up inland beaches and bathing places for swimming, despite encouragement and guidance from members of the Outdoor Swimming Society, because to do so would seem to fly in the face of reason.

Swim indoors

The UK swim indoors policy does not sit well with the wild swimming movement and so we find ourselves at loggerheads when trying to balance safety with leisure outdoor swimming. Triathlon events are encouraged and their is of cause some overlap with leisure swimmers taking to lakes in which more serious swimmers are training, but what about children, families and casual swimmers?

Because we have held the door closed on outdoor swimming for so long, perhaps we need to look beyond our shores for inspiration.

Stamford Meadows Bathing Place

The Cootamundra Herald published an article this week that makes interesting reading:

“LOCAL swim instructors have been taking primary school students through their paces, building their confidence, swimming ability and learning water safety strategies at the Cootamundra Heated Pool.

… the 10 day intensive water safety course is aimed to equip children with essential skills. Each day instructors deliver a new safety message, and then they teach survival sequences in the pool. 

… School principal Bill Godman says that being able to swim is an essential life skill. “The Australian outdoor lifestyle demands that we have those skill-sets to enable us to go swimming in the beach, swimming in the river and swimming in the backyard pool,”

it’s imperative the children learn to swim without goggles so they have confidence to stay afloat in a dangerous situation.

…some parents are concerned that we are asking the children to swim with their goggles off but if you associate being able to swim with wearing goggles, you won’t be able to swim without them,” Mrs Baldry said. …if they fall into a small body of water they wouldn’t have goggles on.”

“In this course we ask them keep their head out of the water anyway; students are treading water, floating on their back, and practicing survival backstroke.” 

Now can we learn anything from down under?

Just this week, Prince Charles has voiced his concern that people’s connection with the countryside is dying. Yet wild swimmers are connecting with the countryside, using village pubs and restaurants whilst promoting countryside tourism. The problem is that many of the British population are ill equipped for outdoor living. Anglers, walkers, cyclists and boaters are all attracted to our beautiful landscape but have little understanding when it comes to open water swimming and survival. Children and teenagers are especially at risk because of their affinity with and fascination for water.

With 1,300 primary schools not bothering to offer swimming lessons despite its compulsory listing in the National Curriculum, and with a less than a 50/50 chance of learning to swim in primary schools that do bother, you can see that much of the blame rests in a lack of education.

Some parents take matters into their own hands and pay for private swimming lessons but even then think, what happens at the end of the course? Either the pupil does well and takes up competitive swimming as part of a club, or if he has no interest in competition swimming as happens in most cases he stops swimming altogether.

Diving facilities are few and far between, leisure pools are designed for non swimmers, their are too few outdoor swimming opportunities inland and so our newly qualified swimmer has little opportunity or desire to practice his swimming ability.


Leisure swimming is not classified as sport and so it attracts little interest or funding. Despite this it is the only way to practice and polish a life saving skill once learned, which in my view makes it even more important than competition swimming, especially when we remember that swimming is primarily a life saving skill. We need outdoor swimming opportunities to flourish if we are going to reduce open water drowning.

Drowning statistics reveal that many of those that drown in open water were thought to be competent swimmers, at least they could swim well at the indoor pool. But when you investigate a little further you discover that such drownings are not surprising. Those whose only experience of swimming is restricted to warm water swimming pools, wearing goggles and then only in appropriate dress, find themselves in difficulty when they end up in cold water unexpectedly. Many find the shock of the cold inhibits rational thought and they flounder. Others find that they simply cannot stay afloat, let alone swim, when fully clothed. A lack of knowledge results in many a desperate struggle against river flows or rip currents in the sea which could safely be navigated if experience and knowledge had been gained beforehand. Our expectations for schoolchildren are so low that the swimming skills they master prove far from life saving.

The Way Forward

The ASA list of outdoor bathing places may have become a thing of the past, but it is hoped that this may soon change as they reconsider their role in promoting leisure swimming outdoors.


The idea that outdoor swimming is inherently dangerous and very risky may have been accepted up to this point. But with the growth of the wild swimming movement, the example of our European neighbors, the rise in competitive outdoor swimming and the voices of outdoor swimmers and regular features in The Guardian; the Health and Safety machine is having its dials reset, and we can look to the future with hope.


It will take a long time to turn the tide on prejudice, but I have lived in the multicultural city of Leicester all my life. The indigenous people have come to accept and love the newcomers from abroad that now make up the majority of its inhabitants. It has taken time, but with communication comes understanding and eventually tolerance and acceptance.

Head Weir, Open Air Bathing Place Exeter

Rather than trying to tame the wild swimmer, the tide is now turning towards respect and tolerance. The idea that all outdoor swimming is dangerous is standing in the way of clear lifesaving education. Schools need to focus their attention not on abstinence but on life saving skill. We teach cycling proficiency on the road for good reason; why then don’t we teach life saving skills in open water?

Because the Health and Safety ethos at this present time rules it out.


The Health and Safety message needs to change because it moves us to ignore the real problem. If we tell people never to go into the water we can hardly give advice as to how to survive if they do. We don’t really need to teach children how to swim if their never going to go in! But despite all the advice and good intentions some children will go in. To escape the heat and cool off, because of a persuasive friend, for a dare or to show off, whatever it is they will go in, but because of a lack of education they might not get out! We need to engage teenagers with a challenging and fulfilling swimming experience. We need to bring back diving boards, inland beaches and river bathing places.


Changes are afoot. The Royal Life Saving Society are reconsidering their message and refocusing on education.

The current Health and Safety advice could well be contributing to needless drownings.

Knowledge empowers.

Education saves lives!

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