Danes find half of kids can’t swim, launch major learn-to-swim campaign

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The Danish Swimming Federation today announced the results of a nationwide survey, revealing among other things that despite of 91% of adult Danes saying that swimming ability is important or highly important, every third adult and half of kids aged 7-14 cannot complete 200 meters,  which is the Nordic definition of swimming ability.

– We have known for a long time that a part of the population cannot swim, and now it is also confirmed by a major survey that shows that a lot of Danes – adult as well as children – do not have the necessary swimming skills, says director of the Danish Swimming Federation, Pia Holmen.

Danish Swimming Federation director, Pia Holmen, gives a speech at the launch event in Kildeskovshallen

Danish Swimming Federation director, Pia Holmen, gives a speech at the launch event in Kildeskovshallen.

Even with a decreasing number of fatal drownings, the most recent drowning statistics revealed 57 fatal drownings in 2012, making drowning a still significant cause of accident-related death. The Danes see a clear relationship between drowning accidents and lack of swimming skills, and every fifth Danes says that he or she has had a near-drowning incident.

The Danish Swimming Federation is therefore launching a major learn-to-swim campaign named ‘Everyone must learn how to swim’, together with Danish insurance foundation TrygFonden, the Danish Sports Federation, University of Southern Denmark, and others.

HRH Crown Princess Mary, patron of Danish Swimming, greets children during swim lesson in Kildeskovshallen.

HRH Crown Princess Mary, patron of Danish Swimming, greets children during swim lesson in Kildeskovshallen.

It will run for three years, examining among other things if it helps to move the start of school swim lessons to a younger age than the normal 4th or 5th grade, as early analyzes of the survey indicate that kids who learn to swim at an early age become better and safer swimmers than those who start later.

See the campaign landing page www.allesvømmer.dk and the full press release (in Danish) here on svoem.org. The Danes have also made this fact sheet (in Danish) describing the most interesting findings of the survey.

Images courtesy of Michael Vienø / the Danish Swimming Federation

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Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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