Learning how to swim could save your life

Being able to swim is an extremely important life skill that can also be a lot of fun


Christopher Sprenger, JagWire sports editor

Ever since I was a little kid, I have spent much of my time being around swimming pools. Whether as a competitive swimmer or just to hang out with my friends, swimming has become sort of second nature to me. In spite of what I’ve thought of as a very natural and easy activity to learn, I’m often shocked to find that many of the people I know cannot swim. I’ve always thought that learning to swim, however hesitant you are at first, is one of the most important skills you can learn as a child. Learning to swim could help save your life and the life of someone close to you if a drowning occurs.

This observation isn’t isolated to just the people I know either. In a 2014 survey conducted by the American Red Cross, 56 percent of Americans either cannot swim at all or can’t perform all of the five core swimming skills. With so many people who are unable to swim, it’s no wonder that the annual average of unintentional drownings in the United States is approximately 3,536 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learning to swim at a very young age can help decrease the chance of unintentional drownings because it will help people be more relaxed and confident in and around water.

Another benefit of learning to swim is that it is a very good aerobic exercise and is one of the easiest and most low impact ways to burn calories. Similarly to long distance running, swimming can be a very low intensity cardio workout you can do at any level and at any age. Recreational swimming with your friends is a great way to unwind and spend time outside exercising. Swimming is also great for athletes of other sports as a sort of cross-training because it works all the major muscle groups with little to no threat of injury because of its aqueous nature.

While a lot of people may be hesitant to learn how to swim, I firmly believe they need to give it a shot. Learning how to swim isn’t just about being able to do laps like an Olympian, but about becoming comfortable in the water. After all, most of the earth is covered in water; you’re better off embracing it than avoiding it.

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