Dundee City of Young and Confident Swimmers?  

1 July 2013

Let's get our children swimming!

With the new Olympia having now opened, I think it's time to ask how we can exploit the outstanding quality and number of public and secondary school based swimming pools we have in Dundee and ensure that all our young people have an opportunity to learn to swim.

While we have some very active and successful swimming clubs and many indoor pools, I think more could be done in our Primary Schools to help make Dundee a City of young and confident swimmers.

According to The Royal Life Saving Society UK, more than 400 people drown in the UK each year, and thousands suffer near-drowning experiences.

Shockingly drowning is the third highest cause of accidental death in children in the UK so this brings into sharp focus the importance of learning to swim.

In our primary and secondary schools, the Scottish Government have a target for two hours of quality physical education per week but surprisingly there is no specific target for learning to swim.  

According to national swimming organisations, it takes at least 22 hours of sustained small group lessons to teach a child to swim.

I understand that many of our children receive less time than that for swimming lessons during their Primary School years. 

Following National Drowning Prevention Week, I hope we can adopt our own target in Dundee and promote Dundee as a City of Young Swimmers.

In this way we should not only ensure that we make good use of our swimming pools but more importantly provide access to well experienced swimming coaches and swimming lessons as part of the curriculum entitlement for all our primary school pupils.