Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien
From May 15-17, Bangkok, Thailand will play host to the first ever FINA International Swim Clinic – Swimming for All, Swimming for Life. The event includes representatives from 49 countries across 5 continents. The goal of the program is to teach and promote water safety so that people of any age, ability and residency can take swim lessons.
A clear representation of the campaign is shown in the video below, which features some familiar faces such as Katinka Hosszu and Ryan Lochte:
According to the World Health Organization, there are over 370,000 deaths from drowning every year. Through the help of their member organizations, FINA hopes to make swimming more accessible by providing the necessary tools for swimming safety. FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione explained these goals in the manual for the Swimming for All, Swimming for Life program.
“Water is Our World may be our slogan, but water is part of the world and of all humanity, constituting 75% of our planet (with its great virtues and great dangers), which is why we must help children, young people, adults and people with different capabilities who might face the misfortune of drowning. It is our duty to help reduce the high rates of death by drowning recorded around the world.” – Dr. Julio C. Maglione
The manual includes the development of a universal plan with standard criteria for teaching people how to swim under any circumstance in any infrastructure. It highlights both technical and practical information.
For example, the manual begins with techniques to reduce fear in new swimmers to ensure that they feel safe at all times. It explains that tension, awkwardness and doubt are created in the water because our motor actions change based on our position.
“What was above is now behind, what was below is now in front, and so on, always with reference the original framework of bipedalism,” the manual reads. It then provides techniques for both shallow and deep water pools or beachfronts, to give a vast amount of detail for all options.
Aside from these adaptions for the swimmers, the manual also includes guidelines for teaching principles. It focuses on basic knowledge that all swim instructors should know, as well as multiple-day adaption plans for getting swimmers adjusted to the water and also teaching them proper swimming technique.
“Our federation is known for its memorable sporting events and its major stars in six disciplines across five continents and 207 Federations but as the organisation responsible for water sports, we are also conscious of having a crucial social responsibility to all those who are not familiar with our great natural element, water,” Maglione said.
Additionally, FINA also had motivation from UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, who highlighted swimming as a priority in their 2015 version of the International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport. The document sets standards for all governments regarding these entities.
Article 2.2.2 of the Charter reads: “Physical education, physical activity and sport can play a significant role in the development of participants’ physical literacy, well-being, health and capability by improving endurance, strength, flexibility, coordination, balance and control…the ability to swim is a vital skill for every person exposed to risks of drowning.”
As the only sport specifically mentioned in the article, FINA saw this as an opportunity to do their part to help people around the world maximize their swimming abilities. They believe that everyone should have the chance to learn to swim.
Since this document changed in 2015, FINA has done campaign work with the Swimming for All, Swimming for Life program around the world. The three-day event in Bangkok marks the first ever clinic-style program with various countries participating at one time.
More information, including all participating nations can be found here.
FINA contributed to this report.
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