Children have been waiting for years for swimming lessons

Lübeck.Parents who wanted to enroll their child in swimming lessons in Lübeck could hardly believe it: they were told that the waiting time should be four years – half an eternity for a child who wants to be able to swim in the country as soon as possible between kl. the seas. “A four-year waiting period is the exception, but it happens,” says Thies Wolfhagen from the German Life Saving Company (DLRG) in Schleswig-Holstein. “Unfortunately, waiting times of two to three years for a beginner swimming course are currently the order of the day, depending on the region and the opportunities there.”

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At DLRG in Lübeck, there is a three-year waiting period

At the DLRG local group in Lübeck, the waiting time for a “seahorse” course, which is about getting used to the water, right now is about three years, says deputy chairman of the local group, Stefan Rosehr. An important point is swimming times and places that are being discussed with the city. “We could offer more courses from the DLRG side, but we will not get more swimming time.” If the indoor pool on Ziegelstraße closes for a year for renovation, as announced, the situation will get even worse.

Nationwide 30,000 children in the queue

For Steffen Weber, chairman of the Schleswig-Holstein Swimming Federation (SHSV), four years is one of the longest waits he has ever heard of. “It is clear that we have a traffic jam. Due to the corona pandemic, swimming lessons for children could not be offered for one and a half years. That means: 30,000 children were left without care. ” And now the younger children are joining those who also want to learn to swim. “We can not conjure this fundamental problem away, we have to deal with it,” Weber says.

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Local capabilities are crucial

Even before Corona, the waiting times were one and a half to two years, says DLRG spokesman Wolfhagen, “depending on the local structure and the opportunities there”. Due to the cancellation of courses in the pandemic, waiting times would have increased nationwide, but not uniformly. The individual local options such as available swimming pools and train times played a crucial role, Weber says.

Minister Sütterlin-Waack: Every child should learn to swim

The state government has been aware of the problem for a long time. “The corona pandemic stole almost two years from us. Many children now finally want to learn to swim and are waiting with their parents for a place on the swimming course, because the traffic must first be cleaned up,” says Sabine Sütterlin-Waack (CDU) , Minister of the Interior in charge of sports Fortunately, there are many dedicated swim coaches who continue to offer extra hours.

The state provides subsidies for education with over 600,000 euros

“I can only appeal to all children and parents to keep trying. Every child in our country between the seas with the many lakes should learn to swim, “says the minister. The state government had previously disbursed 330,000 euros in funding to enable additional swimming courses, and now an additional 300,000 euros would be added. SHSV and DLRG have done a good job so far in dealing with the Corona traffic queue.

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SHSV chairman: Courses also on weekends and holidays

Now it is important to offer swimming courses on weekends and during the summer holidays, including financial incentives for volunteer swimming coaches, emphasizes SHSV chairman Steffen Weber. The swimming association gave money to clubs through state support to support swimming training on weekends and during holidays. Together with DLRG, the schools, ASB and many clubs that train, a lot has already been achieved, says Steffen Weber. With the opening of the outdoor pools now in the summer, you have a great opportunity to catch up. “This gives us hope that we will succeed in solving the traffic jams in two to four years. Of course, it is unfortunate for those who are currently waiting for a place. ”

Children start with “seahorses” courses

According to SHSV, children from non-swimmers to bronze medals need about one hour of swimming lessons a week for about a year. But there are also compact courses where the “seahorse” mark for basic skills can be acquired much faster. The waiting lists are regulated by the swimming pools, the local clubs and the DLRG local groups. Weber’s tips for parents: “Ask as many providers as possible and also increase the search radius a bit.” It is definitely worth asking the local DLRG structure and trying to find current locations, says DLRG spokesman Wolfhagen.

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