SWIMMING LESSONS FOR CHILDREN
It is a sad & surprising fact that only a small percentage of Antiguan children are taught to swim. The fear of the sea has been passed down through many generations of West Indian people – if the parents do not swim, they do not teach their children.
Despite the fact that you cannot be more than 6 miles from water on Antigua, and that we have the most glorious weather and waters, professional swim instructors do not recommended that children should be taught in the sea – particularly on the south and east coasts where we have Atlantic swells, surf, drop offs and undertow – all terrifying to a small child. They need to be taught in a safe, controlled environment.
The Academy exists to teach sailing, but children must have confidence in the water before we can send them out in a boat. We do not have the space, or the funding, for a conventional swimming pool so we have now installed an ‘Endless Pool’ where you swim on the spot against a variable current. Professional instructors approve this type of pool for swim teaching.
We are now seeking financial support for lessons – the costs are related to electricity, water, pool maintenance, transport costs and instructor wages.
We estimate that it will cost U$5 per child per lesson and we would expect students to be proficient enough after a course of 10 lessons – so U$50 will teach one child to swim. All of the students, so far, have become confident enough to jump into deep water and we have a long waiting list of children wishing to learn.
Not all children on this programme will progress to sailing but we do believe that all children should learn to swim – as a life skill, for safety reasons, and to enable them to explore the other opportunities that the ability to swim provides e.g. scuba diving, fishing etc.
There are 22,000 children in schools in Antigua – on average only about 20% of them know how to swim – so it’s a long road but ‘The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step”
Please help us take that ‘first step’