Corona in Fulda: Swimming course traffic jam continues

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Of: Andrew Ungerman

Parents who wanted to teach their children to swim in the Corona years are suffering. The demand for courses remains high and is building up. There are many reasons why children can not swim.

Fulda – Long waiting lists, countless phone attempts and intensive online research – often sober. Parents who wanted their children to learn to swim had a hard time under Corona because of the closed swimming pools. Also in the district and in the Fulda area.

Waiting times were extended, courses started had to be interrupted during lockdown phases, the skills acquired in the first hours of the course were forgotten (read here: All outdoor pools in the Fulda district open this year – except Bad Salzschlirf ).

Corona in Fulda: Swimming course traffic jam continues – children are afraid of water

The traffic jams at the swimming pools continue. “Around Christmas, requests dropped and I thought interest was waning. But that was not the case at all; demand has risen again, “said Julian Leitsch, head of education at the district association of the German Lifesaving Society (DLRG) in East Hesse.

Due to the increasing number of infections, the parents were probably just more cautious, he suspects. But now the courses have come into focus again and are quickly booked up – as in the summer of 2021 (read also here: far too few swimming courses in Fulda – parents and children must have patience).

The uninterrupted demand shows that traffic on the swimming pools is far from reduced. Although DLRG and RhönEnergie last year taught about 350 children to swim with the Swim4You initiative, a new goal has already been set: 1000 course participants should be there by the end of the summer.

“Our name is Osthessen District, and we are responsible for the whole of East Hesse. Therefore, we want to enter the area with our offer,” states Leitsch. This means: While the 2021 courses were still held in Fulda, the lifeguards are now also planning lessons in the pools in the area.

Swimming badge: Seahorse

The seahorse is also known as the early swimmer brand. The bathing rules are tested (as with the other swimming marks), a jump from the pool edge and swimming over 25 meters in a lying or supine position as well as picking up an object from shoulder-deep water. (Source: DLRG)

And that in collaboration with private swimming schools and clubs. Leitsch cites the baths of Gersfeld, Flieden and Petersberg as examples. While DLRG wants to expand its offering, Erik Bott, chairman of Fulda Water Friends, reports a downturn.

“The situation has improved somewhat, but we still lack the water surface to be able to offer the courses to the extent that we should be able to offer them.” Bott roughly estimates that there are 200 open inquiries, without going into his document monitoring.

Swimming badge: Bronze

With the German swimming badge in bronze (free swimmer), these are safe swimmers. A dive from the edge of the pool and a 15-minute swim are required. You must cover at least 200 meters, of which 150 meters in lying or lying position, the other 50 meters in the other position. An object must be retrieved from a depth of two meters. In addition, a package jump from the starting block or one-meter board must be displayed. (Source: DLRG)

The biggest factor in this dilemma: the Caritas pool on antonius is still closed. “I can understand that. Because it is primarily a pool for the disabled, access restrictions have been tightened.

But the fact is that it is the most important pool for our courts, ”emphasizes Bott, who also regrets the upcoming summer break in Zieher’s sports pool.

Corona in Fulda: Swimming course traffic jam continues
Due to the Corona crisis with largely closed swimming pools, thousands of beginner courses have fallen into the water. © Uwe Anspach / dpa

“Then it looks bad until the summer holidays, and they are unfortunately still late this year,” the chairman of the water friends describes their problem.

Therefore, the association has now given priority to teaching children aged six to eight years, because they come into contact with water in school – it pushes.

Swimming badge: Silver

In theory, the German swim badge in silver requires knowledge of self-rescue behavior (e.g., in case of exhaustion or seizures). At least 400 meters must be completed within 20 minutes with change of swimming position after 300 meters. The examinee must bring an object up to the surface twice from a water depth of 2 meters. There is also a 10 meter distance dive and a jump from 3 meters or 2 different jumps from a meter height. (Source: DLRG)

Both Bott and Leitsch point out that the blatantly high number of people unable to swim, including not just children, is not solely due to the pandemic. They agree that it is also a social problem. Many parents, who sometimes could not swim themselves, no longer took their children to the swimming pools.

This, of course, has consequences: At the beginning of swimming lessons, young people are sometimes not used to the water and are really afraid of contact. “Many children are not aware of the carrying capacity of the element water and cramp. It is a difficult starting position, “says Bott.

Swimming badge: Gold

The golden swimming badge requires knowledge of self-help and help from others in bathing, sailing and ice accidents. There is also a jump from the pool edge and a 30-minute swim – change of position after 650 meters. In addition, a starting jump with 25 meters free swimming, a starting jump with 50 meters breaststroke in 1:15 minutes, a ten meter long distance dive from the swimming position, where you pick up an object three times from a depth of 2 meters, a jump from three meters high or 2 jump from one meter height and 50 meters transport swimming required. The lifeguard marks are subject to their own exam regulations. (Source: DLRG)

He thinks trust in the element is important. The fact that the number of pools is declining – often due to the high costs – does not help to improve the situation either. Leitsch, meanwhile, complains that the exercise after the seahorse falls off the road.

“Anyone who has the seahorse is not yet a confident swimmer, they can only stay afloat,” he stresses, and Bott confirms, “You can not talk about swimming – it’s more like getting the bronze swim badge.”

However, both DLRG and water lovers have something positive to report. “One or the other child stays with us after the course,” Leitsch reports, and Bott says, “Even though there were layoffs because of Corona: Since I’ve been on the board, I have not seen so many people join the club. . “

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