We all know swimming is fun, and at the same time, we also know that safety is always a concern.
There are numerous ways to reduce the risks. Because every client is different and no two properties the same, new pool owners should always have an open discussion with their pool designer/builder about possible safety measures for their specific project.
By far, the most effective safety factor is water competency – i.e., swim and water safety instruction. The statistics are stunning. While being able to swim does not by any means make anyone drown proof (even the best swimmers drown sometimes) according to the National Institute of Health, children who can swim are a whopping 88% less likely to drown or be injured in water.
That’s a remarkable statistic, but one that is rooted purely in commonsense. Not only are kids who’ve been taught to swim able to move through water on their own and reach safety, and/or float, should the need arise, they are also more aware of what water is and what happens when you go in it. Kids that haven’t received any instruction have no way of knowing about the risks, but like almost all humans, they are drawn to the water’s edge.
That’s why swimming should be taught to all children, indeed, all people, and why everyone should own a pool, or at least have access to one.
(Parental supervision is also an indispensable safety factor. When a pool is being used, especially by children of any age, someone should be watching. If the person overseeing the pool area knows CPR, all the better.)
But learning to swim isn’t only about staying safe. Swimming opens up an entire world of water — a world that is defined by both fun and fitness.
The list of activities is impressive to say the least. It includes all types of surfing — board, body, and wind — as well as scuba diving and snorkeling, kayaking, water play of all types, open-ocean swimming or simply floating down a lazy river at a waterpark. All require being able to swim. Of course, by definition, sports such as competitive swimming, diving, water polo, and synchronized are all swim-centric. Lap training, water aerobics, and yes, even water walking, require being able to swim.
The health benefits are vast and well documented. Heart health, aerobic fitness, strength and flexibility, as well as fighting arthritis, obesity, diabetes and hyper tension, are all dramatically advanced by swimming and other forms of aquatic exercise. Recovering from many surgeries and injuries is often dramatically advanced in the water. It’s even been proven to have significant psychological and cognitive benefits.
And, swimming is social. When you consider the fact many of the most popular vacations involve being on, near, in or under the water, knowing how to swim will only increase the fun factor.
Who knows, when you can swim, you might even be in a position someday to save someone who doesn’t. The bottom line is that by being able to swim, you are likely to fall in love with the water, rather than fear it.