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Archive for the ‘Water Safety’ Category

these children have to travel by plane to get to their swimming lessons

The Irish News reports: Three children have to take a flight from a remote Scottish island so they can learn to swim.

Freyja Parnaby, six, Grace Parnaby, nine, and Lewis Wright-Stanners, nine, regularly travel from the Fair Isle to Shetland for their lessons.

Each time they face the potential that their flight home may be cancelled due to adverse weather, leaving them stranded on the mainland.

The children, from Fair Isle Primary School, take the 25-minute flight with their head teacher Ruth Stout, funded by the education department.

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Fair Isle – home to 60 people – is the most geographically remote inhabited island in the United Kingdom.

 

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Channel News Asia reports: After nearly half a century navigating Bangladesh’s thousands of kilometres of rivers, the country’s most celebrated swimmer has hung up his trunks – but not before one final, arduous paddle upstream.

Kshitindra Baisya, 67, plans to spend his retirement on dry land inspiring younger generations to embrace the water in a country criss-crossed by huge rivers but where few swim.

“I didn’t have much idea about the beauty of this country until I swam dozens of its rivers,” Baisya told AFP.

A veteran of Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war against Pakistan, Baisya taught himself to swim at 18 and before long was paddling marathon distances along murky channels.

A decade later, the father-of-two earned some notoriety when he swam 74km of India’s Bhagirathi river.

He opts for a methodical breaststroke, head above water, rather than the freestyle preferred by purists.

“It helps preserve energy,” he told AFP as he stretched before a dip in a Dhaka pond recently.

Baisya has not broken any speed records – but his self-taught technique has allowed him to cover vast distances solo during a career unrivalled in Bangladesh.

“I am addicted to swimming. Everyday, I swim three to four hours,” he said.

Always eschewing the pool, Baisya prefers to swim along Bangladesh’s lengthy river networks – more than 700 channels draining south into the mighty Bay of Bengal.

He has never strayed from a winning formula of yoga, basic exercise and a humble diet complemented with dates and bananas for energy.

“DARING ATTEMPT”

But as he approached 70, the veteran swimmer knew it was time to call it a day – but not before one last triumph.

Baisya had always wanted to swim the Bhugai, Kangsha and Maghra rivers in Bangladesh’s north – uninterrupted and in one long slog.

He had a crack in 2017 but fell short, before returning to try again one last time in September.

Tailed by a support canoe and fans lining the riverbanks shouting his name, Baisya swam 185km in an unbroken 61-hour marathon – a possible record for someone of his age, organisers said.

Apart from the sheer distance – and fighting fatigue as he swam through two consecutive days and nights – Baisya had to negotiate polluted stretches of river that irritated his skin.

“It was a difficult task as the water was almost stagnant due to a lack of monsoon rains. On top of that, parts of these rivers were polluted, with garbage floating around,” he said.

On Sep 5, at around 8pm (1400 GMT), Baisya crossed the finishing line with thousands cheering him on.

He was taken to hospital for health checks but was declared fighting fit – allowing organisers to breathe a sigh of relief.

“We were tense,” said Aditi Bhusan, one of those monitoring the epic swim.

“He was quite old to make such a daring attempt. But he was very stubborn, and mentally strong.”

Organisers said Baisya had become the oldest swimmer on record to cross such a distance – further even than Diana Nyad, an American who in 2013 crossed 165.7km of the Florida Straits at the age of 64. They are seeking to get this record confirmed.

He has attracted attention overseas, with the World Open Water Swimming Association naming Baisya a candidate for their ‘performance of the year’ award.

Baisya was a “worthy nominee” for “pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the open water at an advanced age”, the California-based association said.

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LEAVING A LEGACY

His swansong done and dusted, Baisya has turned his attention to another lifelong pursuit – getting young Bangladeshis into the water.

It is no easy feat in a country where few children can swim and 18,000 drown every year – nearly 50 a day on average.

The dangers are part of everyday life in Bangladesh, a delta nation where around a quarter of the 160 million population live by the sea.

But Baisya hopes his determination and love of the water will inspire others to take the plunge.

“I truly hope young swimmers will be motivated by watching what I do at this age,” he said.

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The Derry Journal Reports: A ban on swimming at Portmore Pier in Malin Head has been met with anger and calls for it to be lifted.

A sign was recently erected at the pier by Donegal County Council, which warns users of the slipway and slippery surface and issues a warning that states: ‘No Swimming.’

Portmore (Port Mor) Pier is a popular destination for both locals and holiday makers, many from Derry, who regularly swim there, particularly during the summer months.

Swimming lessons for children have also been taking place there for almost 50 years.

Ali Farren, who is from Malin Head and owns Ardmalin Caravan Park, questioned the council’s decision and lack of public consultation.

Mr Farren said people are aware of the dangers of swimming, but did not agree with an all-out ban at Malin Head pier.

He said: “A sign saying: ‘Swim at your own risk,’ would be enough. We’ve had people learning to swim here for generations. Irish Water Safety held their week here during the summer and Splash Swimming put on two extra weeks of lessons. But what insurance company is going to cover anyone now to provide swimming lessons there? I recommend to so many people that they go and swim at the pier. I can’t do that now without making myself liable. The pier is a tourism provider, locally. It’s our water park and it’s the hub of our community.”

Mr Farren pointed out how Malin Head is a “marine community.”

He said: “We depend on our young people learning to swim and to be safe. Our nearest public pools are in Derry and Letterkenny.”

In response to the ban, Donegal County Council said: “Portmore pier is one of the busiest piers in the control of Donegal County Council in terms of fishing activity. We are trying to indicate and inform the public of all the hazards they are likely to encounter at the piers. Portmore pier is not a suitable location for swimming simply due to the movement of fishing boats along the pier and that is why the sign indicates “no swimming” This refers to the pier only and not surrounding area.” Read more on this story…

See also: Could Health and Safety be Drowning Us by Accident?

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Discover attitudes in Switzerland

 

 

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The Courier Mail reports: ALL state primary students will be taught vital swimming and survival skills as part of an Australian-first program to start in schools next year, after a campaign led by The Courier-Mail.

Under the plan to make Queensland the “Water Safe State”, students at all state primary schools would now have a water safety and/or learn to swim program from 2019.

The Queensland Government will commit $3.68 million annually – an increase of $2.18 million per year – to expand swim programs, which will comply with national standards set by the Australian Water Safety Council.

Principals in remote locations will be given funding to fly in external providers including lifesavers for intensive programs.

Teachers will also be upskilled so that water safety lessons can be taught in classrooms as well as pools.

All schools will be audited as part of the program, to see where improvements need to be made.

The SOS campaign was sparked by warning from experts about a generation of kids who couldn’t swim to save themselves. More…

Comment: Children especially seek out open water when summer temperatures rise. As global warming reaches around the globe, lifesaving education is good news to parents who cannot be with their children around the clock. See: From lifesaving Education to None at all.

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Swim Safe Lessons St Ives

Pirate FM News reports: Children are being urged to ‘Swim Safe’ in St Ives this summer.

Sessions are underway as part of the national programme that teaches kids outdoor swimming and water safety. The lessons are open to 7-14 year old’s over the summer holidays. The aim is to make sure children know what to do if they do get into trouble in open water. Watch the video…

Comment: Training children to Swim Safe in open water is the first step in reintroducing safe swimming and preventing needless drowning in England. The next step is to establish safe bathing places on river and lakesides, so that these swim safe skills can be reinforced.

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Swim Safe for Children in open water

The Manchester Evening News reports: Kids can once again join in FREE open water swim safety sessions at Salford Quays this summer.

Around 1,000 children benefited from the classes last summer and this year even more spaces are available.

There’ll be 1,400 free one-hour sessions up for grabs for kids aged seven to 14 – including families, friends and school groups.

And each child that takes part gets a T-shirt, a cap and a keyring to take home too.

It’s all part of Salford Community Leisure’s Swim Safe campaign and classes are held at the Helly Hansen Watersports Centre in Salford Quays between July 30 and August 31. More…

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The New Indian Express reports: After learning swimming over the vacation period, 91 kids swam across the Periyar here in Aluva thanks to the Valassery River Swimming Club’s free of cost training. The aim was to prevent incidents of drowning in the state’s waterbodies. The group learned swimming under the guidance of coach Saji Valasseril and his colleagues in two months.

Since the District Collector had issued a caution, as the shutters at Bhuthathankettu dam were opened, the children swam only 300 metres from Malappuram Kadavu to Shiva Ksetram Kadavu.  About 465 students came here for swimming lessons this summer. The youngest was Niya Rose, 6, from Kadungalloor. Adults were also given training since January, with 190 people enrolling for classes. However, only 63 finished the training by crossing the Periyar. The oldest was T V Sunny, a retired bank manager living near Aluva Powerhouse.

This year, the swimming training begun by teaching actor Tini Tom and making him cross the river. The event was flagged off by municipality counsellor A C Santhosh Kumar. Municipality chairperson Lisy Abraham greeted the students at the temple side and distributed trophies and certificates to them.

 

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