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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 Guardian reports: A new drive to encourage private schools to share their swimming pools is being launched by the government amid concerns about the number of children who emerge from primary school unable to swim.

Fewer than half of all British children are able to swim 25 metres by the time they reach the age of 11. Schools will get a share of a £320m fund to help boost swimming lessons, he said.

While the Department for Education has not proposed any new measures to compel private schools to open their pools, Hinds said he was personally determined to “make sure our children grow up safe and water confident”. “Many independent schools are already doing this, but others can and must do more to help every child in their community,” he said.

This year’s figures from the Independent Schools Council, which represents 1,326 private schools in the UK, show that of 603 of its member schools that have pools, 304 already share them in some way with state school pupils.

Meanwhile, 72% of primary schools use public pools for swimming lessons, while 15% use their own pool and 10% use another private facility.

Julie Robinson, general secretary of the ISC, said that there was “much goodwill from schools fortunate to have facilities that may be in short supply locally”. She added that “raising awareness of partnerships helps more state schools and independent schools develop mutually beneficial programmes”.

“Headteachers who have opened up their facilities tell us it’s a win-win for the schools and the community,” said Charles Johnston, director of property for Sport England, a public body under the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. “It allows facilities to be used at times when otherwise they’d be empty.”

Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, who is responsible for sport, said: “This barely moves the dial on the pressing need to improve the health of our children, when six out of 10 are leaving primary school either overweight or obese. Read more on this story…

See also: Mass Education Saved Lives

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The Telegraph reports: It was Sept 6 1988 and he was 11 years and 336 days old, the youngest person to ever swim the English Channel. Although Cap Gris-Nez is only 20 miles from Dover, his route had taken 32 miles, allowing for the pull of the tides.

Thirty years on, his incredible record still stands. Not that Gregory, now 41, talks about it much. He’s the record-breaking British swimmer you’ve never heard of.

That his record is unbeaten is in part due to the Channel Swimming Association banning those under 12 from swimming the channel, just weeks after his crossing.

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Gregory takes his daughters swimming, and while he admits his wife would probably have something to say about them doing a similar challenge, he is in no doubt that the world we live in today has become much more risk-averse. “Have we lost something? Probably. Are we in a better place? I don’t think so. Because that was an enormously enriching childhood for me. It’s been the foundation of what’s been a very happy life and something I will pass on to my children.”

To carry that message, Gregory has written a memoir charting the extraordinary three years of his training to triumph, called A Boy in the Water.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Local reports: During the heatwave, the police reported fatal swimming accidents almost daily, with 15 children under the age of 15, and 40 young people, between the ages of 16 and 24, among the victims.

The German Lifeguard Association (DLRG) – which stations 40,000 volunteer lifeguards on Germany’s beaches – has attributed the cause of deaths to a lack of swimming lessons at primary schools and the reluctance of parents to encourage their children to pass the swimming test for the bronze badge.

Refugees are at a particular risk in water, according to the DLRG, because some of them did not receive formal swimming training in their country of origin.

German lifeguards have also connected the increasing number of child drownings this summer to neglectful parents, distracted by their mobile phones rather than keeping an eye on their child’s safety, the Guardian reported.

DSV Education Officer Axel Dietrich stated that teaching children about proper swimming technique is not enough.

“People drowned this summer because they weren’t aware of the water temperatures and currents…or because they got a cramp in their leg in the middle of the lake and didn’t know what to do,” Dietrich said.

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The Guardian reports: Standing in his swimming trunks, Gilles looked up at the modern grey apartment buildings and trees that lined the Paris canal. He took a deep breath, then dived into the dark mass of water that had been officially banned to swimmers for decades.

“Bliss,” he said after doing 500m of front crawl, occasionally brushing past bits of green algae in the new temporary swimming zone at La Villette canal basin, where Parisians can take their first legal dip in a city waterway for a century.

“It’s symbolic,” said the 45-year-old film director, drying off. “It shows a future is possible where we can reverse pollution, where we can make things cleaner and reclaim nature. I hate the smell of bleach and chlorine in public pools. This open-air water is cloudy and you can’t see the bottom, but it makes me feel secure. I feel like I’m taking possession of nature again.”

After decades in which casual bathing in Paris’s river and canals has been banned for a variety of reasons, including fears of bacteria and sewage pollution, authorities are moving to give swimmers more access to the murky waters that were once off limits.

The temporary floating structure that has opened at La Villette as part of the summer festival, Paris Plages, allows swimmers to plunge into the water of the Canal de l’Ourcq free of charge, with lifeguards standing by. Parisians are so keen to try it that huge queues form each morning, and it has had to close by mid-afternoon on some days after reaching its daily quota of 1,000 swimmers. More…

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Chris Ayriss comments: When you see what has been done to open up access to outdoor swimmers you have to ask; why can’t we do the same in the UK? Well of course we could, but our fundimental attitude towards open water swimming would have to change. As it is, open water swimmers in England have been hung out to dry!

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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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17522835_10155205434551289_8539666495836669484_nA five-and-a-half year negotiation with British Waterways (as was) to remove their new No Swimming sign at Sparth Reservoir has at last met with success.

A change in thinking has been a long time coming but it is a sign of the times as our Island mentality is slowly being replaced by broader minds.

The dispute arose over the continued use of the reservoir by wild swimmers. British Waterways put up a “no swimming” sign at Sparth Reservoir in Marsden, Huddersfield. They said that it replaced a former sign that had gone missing, reasoning that it would be “reckless” to allow swimming at the site. “But swimmers said they have used the reservoir for decades and it is possible to enjoy the sport safely. They believe the reservoir has been used for recreational swimming since the 1940s and possibly earlier. In the future they hoped signs could be changed to allow them to swim at their own risk.” As reported by the BBC.

Attitudes in Britain differ greatly to those of our European partners. Swimming is encouraged in rivers and lakes abroad but rarley so in England.

Discover the fascinating history of outdoor swimming in Britain – read: Hung Out to Dry; Swimming and British Culture. The reasons for our prejudice towards outdoor swimming are deep-rooted, complex and pervasive. Yet surely reason will ultimately win out, especially as wild swimming continues to grow in popularity.

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