Why it is vital Yorkshire's children learn to swim after Tokyo Olympic success - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: David Craggs, Shafton Gate, Goldthorpe.

Jennie Ashton is pictured swimming at Bramley Baths.Picture by Simon Hulme.

WHAT a sorry state of affairs it is...up to a quarter of our children leaving primary school not being able to swim the short distance of 25 metres (The Yorkshire Post, August 24 and 26).

Along with the life skills of being able to read and write, and going to the toilet, being able to swim is, or should be, near the top of the list.

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And yet, look up ‘life skills’ on the internet, and being able to swim is not even mentioned.

How times have changed (and this has nothing to do with Covid). Back in the 1950s, Wakefield’s Sun Lane Baths was one of the places where ‘boy met girl’, especially on a Saturday afternoon. And the same young people were there in the evenings either training to improve there skills or simply enjoying themselves. Like riding a bike, once you have learned to swim, you do not forget how to.

If our weather is going to produce increasingly warm spells, as is predicted, more young people will venture into the water. If they cannot swim, some will inevitably lose their lives, as has tragically happened this summer.

And let’s not forget one important point. Parents can play a vital role here. If they can swim and enjoy being in the water, as many apparently are when on holiday abroad, their children will soon become competent in this vital life skill.

Reaching competitive standards, like all sports, takes years, but a child can learn to swim in a matter of hours. It is true to say that the younger they are, the easier it is. And I speak from experience here – my son being able to keep his head above water shortly after he was able walk.

From: Harry Burke, Leyburn.

I WAS captivated by Team GB’s swimming success at the Tokyo Olympics and how all of our medal winners, such humble competitors, credited their local pool, volunteers and coaches where they first learned to swim.

It’s why your recent coverage about the state of pools is performing a great public service in highlighting this issue – I hope the relevant Ministers have acknowledged them and are preparing a response.

In the meantime, the fact that Adam Peaty is now touring the country carrying out swim clinics, including Harrogate this week, has seen him go up even further in my estimation.

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