Swimming: The Escape and the Endeavour
Swimming: The Escape and the Endeavour
Written by: Jarryd Irvine (20 Nov. 2017)
It has been another day of deadlines and demands, the last week you wonder where it wandered-off to, and the coming hours hang ahead as a jungle… you have the machete but are uncertain of how long you can swing it. There is no escape but wait… Through the immensity, you hear a trickle. Approaching the melodic trickle you see a pool of water through the brush. In a moment of selfishness, you steal yourself away. You escape… Remembering a place long forgot, submerged and at peace, suddenly comforted by a rush past your ears. The refreshing calm putting pressure on your entire body – like a much needed hug or massage to bring you back to yourself but all over and much less uncomfortable than having a stranger massaging you from head to toe. Finally, the clear, calm blue filling your vision brings you peace in the silence, despite the frantic world above.
Would this not be wonderful relief, were it true for everyone? Yes. However, it is not. For many people this would be the worst place in the world due to several factors. We may find the accessibility, acceptability, and reason to swim was never known; they have limited to no knowledge of the peacefulness, nourishment, mystery and ultimate wonder water has on us humans; they may have had traumatic experiences linked to water (albeit personally or a fatality in the family).
Why should you at least learn to swim? We live in a dynamic world where anything can happen, such as twisting one’s ankle whilst cleaning the pool, potentially hitting one’s head or breaking a limb… Imagine, you are completely alone and no one can save you, nor can you save yourelf. (This may seem a melodramatic or ludicrous scenario, yet a relative of mine experienced exactly this! Thankfully, she did not hit her head and the water was ultimately a “soft-landing”.) Therefore, being aware of how to handle oneself in water is of utmost importance. Of course, despite how “water-safe” we might think we are, natural systems (rivers and the sea) and human foolishness decrease our safety considerably. For example, if one swims in the sea and gets pulled out further by a rip current, it would help to know to remain calm, swim parallel to the shore, and conserve energy where possible1.
Perhaps you are part of a community that does not believe in swimming through no fault of the community, or anyone for that matter – more just a lack of awareness and leading onto the next point of limited knowledge of peacefulness of submersion. This has various symbolisms in cultures and even religions linking it to a cleansing, not only of the body but the mind and even soul.
A few reasons that may be beneficial for communities to have swimming development programmes implemented, according to a study done by Swim England on the health and well-being benefits of swimming:
- Any amount of swimming participation, compared with non-participation, was associated with a reduction in all-cause (28%) and cardiovascular (41%) disease cause mortality
- Has a wide appeal, globally
- May be a vehicle for promoting physical, mental, and social health
- Community programmes have been shown to strengthen education, improve public health, address community safety, and promote inter-cultural exchange, as well as augment social inclusion2
These are some of the many things to consider when either individually participating in a swimming programme (community-, school-, or club-based) or perhaps you would like to head up a community development programme in the warm climate of South Africa. If that is the case, we would love to hear of your endeavours so far or your plans for such endeavours. Should you require more information on our swimming programme and its berth, we would love to share with you the past, present, and vision for the future! Whether you wish to escape or pursue an endeavour, here is to swimming, well-being, and realising your full potential!