- It makes them safer – just like learning to cross the road safely, learning how to swim is something which could, one day, save your life. There is no other sport which is so important to do – that’s why it is compulsory for every primary school child in the UK to learn to swim.
- It helps them develop social skills – attending swimming lessons is a great chance to meet new people and make friends outside of school (or work!), especially people you wouldn’t usually mix with. It also helps to add structure to an evening or weekend, and I find it to be a great distraction from the worries of everyday life. I have a whole group of friends from swimming which I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Swimming also allows children to achieve things in a different discipline, for example: competing in their first ever swimming gala or winning medals, or even learning how to do a stroke correctly for the first time.
- It can help them with other sports – aside from generally improving your health and fitness (swimming for 30 minutes can burn between 300 and 600 calories, depending on your weight and how fast you swim), swimming strengthens the muscles you use in other sports, improves coordination and balance, and greatly improves your lung capacity (aka cardiovascular fitness.) In addition, swimming is a non-contact sport, meaning there is a much lower risk of injury than in other sports.
- It teaches them good discipline – from packing their swimming bag themselves to putting their goggles on independently, swimming teaches children how to be more responsible. It also teaches them that sometimes, in order to improve, they have to do things they might initially be reluctant or too scared to do (eg: put their face in the water.) Swimming undoubtedly taught me the link between hard work and success, which is something that helped me with my schoolwork too. Even things which might at surface level seem like small achievements (eg: blowing bubbles for the first time in the water), they can bring great self-satisfaction to learning swimmers, and they form the basis for all the more complex swimming skills which are developed later on. Competition also keeps children coming back to swimming – who can reach the wall fastest this time?
- It’s fun! Swimming is one of the only sports children have birthday parties for (probably second to bowling) – and that’s for a very good reason! Even if it’s something they don’t want to pursue competitively, being water-safe allows children to do loads of fun things, like jumping off diving boards, doing handstands underwater and having competitions with friends over how many consecutive somersaults they can do! It also allows parents to relax a little more if you go on holiday to somewhere with a pool – a win-win scenario!
About the blogger: Laura started swimming when she was three years old, and it is one of the best things she has ever done! She loved it from the start, and joined a swimming club at age nine, competing in her first gala at age ten. At age seventeen, she still swims three times a week, and has won multiple medals, competing at county and regional level. However, the thing she likes most about swimming is the social side to it – she has innumerable happy memories from her time swimming, and her favourite competitions are team ones. Laura tries to inspire others to feel the same passion for the sport of swimming through assisting at RGS on a Saturday Morning.