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Should you go swimming, now that pools are open?

Swimming has many benefits, not least the feeling of wellbeing it creates, but how safe is it during covid? Pointers from an organisation that promotes swimming as sport and recreation

Swimming in chlorinated pools is safe (Photo: MarcTutorials/Pexels)
Swimming in chlorinated pools is safe (Photo: MarcTutorials/Pexels)

After 10 long and trying months, finally in ‘Unlock-9’ announced this week, swimming pools will be allowed to open for all activities by the Union Government.

This has been the most exciting development for all of us. We look forward to the familiar sounds of splashing and squeals of delight at swimming pools. To us, they reveal so much fun, adventure and spirit.

After this very long break, we have to ensure we can make swimming sustainable and welcoming for all. It is time we embrace our pools for learning, health and recreation. Here are five important reasons why we should swim, even during covid-19.

Well-maintained swimming pools are safe

A swimming pool can be one of the safest spots to be in, because the level of chlorine in the water will kill the virus. The Covid-19 virus does not transmit through water while swimming, as confirmed by the World Health Organization. Swimming in a well-circulated, properly maintained and chlorinated pool is safer.

Safety protocols can be incorporated at swimming pools

There are concerns about transmission of the virus outside the pool, which can be addressed by putting safety measures in place, similar to how they have been introduced for restaurants, malls, cinema halls and public gatherings. Since swimming pools are controlled spaces, social distancing, frequent sanitising, disinfection, masking, limiting capacity, and other safety practices are easier to incorporate and supervise.

Swimming allows for social distancing

Unlike many other sports, swimming is an individual sport that does not require close physical contact. This makes it possible for people to adhere to social distancing rules both inside and outside the pool to stay safe.

Swimming is good for fitness and immunity building

Swimming is a great low impact exercise that builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness. It provides an all-over body workout, as nearly all muscles are used during swimming. It helps one maintain a healthy weight, healthy heart and lungs. All the breath work is great for building one’s strength and immunity to fight a bad virus.

Swimming prevents drowning deaths

While our eyes are trained on Covid-19 case numbers, worrying statistics are staring at us from elsewhere. 32,671 people died of drowning in our country in 2019, which translates to an average of 90 people a day! Drowning is a preventable death, and the only way we can save lives from drowning is by teaching swimming and water safety skills to every Indian.

In conclusion, we need to remember that swimming is more than just a sport, it is a life skill and a life-saving skill that everyone must know. With the safety measures in place, swimming pools can open and people can safely and confidently return to the swimming pool and pursue swimming for training, recreation or learning.

Munazza Habibulla is the CEO of Swimming Matters, a Bengaluru-based organization that aims to improve participation and excellence in Indian swimming.

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