Today is the hottest day of the year (as if you didn’t need reminding). In fact it’s the hottest day for several years – at least for the best part of a decade. As a result, many people will be putting their Speedos on (or more likely swim shorts) and jumping in the pool. Last night I went for a swim at my local lido at David Lloyd in Finchley and it was absolutely rammed full of kids, jumping around and having fun.
For the most part I don’t mind. I love swimming outdoors all year round (mostly in heated outdoor pools though they can still get very cold) and I have come to accept that on the few days in the UK we have decent weather, the number of people who take up swimming outdoors will shoot through the roof.
The only thing I can’t stand is people who decide to get in designated swimming lanes and then don’t observe any kind of pool etiquette. Mostly I think it’s common sense. If someone is clearly faster than you then don’t wait for them to reach the end and then push off right in front of them to race them for a length before stopping again. How often do I see that!
Also don’t stop half way down the pool and decide to walk or change strokes to double arm backstroke thus ensuring that no one can get round you. It’s a bit like moving into the fast lane of the motorway and deciding to slow down to 30 miles an hour just for the sake of it.
Anyway rant over. There is a more important subject that comes to mind during the summer swimming madness and that’s drowning. Thankfully latest figures from Rospa show the number of people drowning in the UK has fallen to its lowest level in 30 years (under 400) although conversely the number of children who leave Primary School unable to swim is now around 50 per cent.
We could argue about the reasons why drowning in the UK is not the problem it once was at least in the UK (worldwide the problem is still massive with 372,000 drowning deaths for the year reported by the World Health Organisation ). I suspect that much is to do with our ‘health and safety’ culture which doesn’t encourage risk taking as much as it used to which means that people aren’t jumping into lakes and rivers, preferring more organised outdoor swimming events and lifeguarded pools.
Nevertheless drowning is still an issue, especially in summer time when the air is hot and the water looks so inviting – especially to an inexperienced swimmer. So be careful, particularly when swimming outdoors in a lake or a river. Remember the water can be extremely cold and will feel even colder if the air temperature is extremely warm.
You can read our tips on how to swim safely in Open Water here.