More than a hundred people have died from drowning since the beginning of 2019. In July alone, 60 deaths were recorded, an increase of 30% in one year. Young people under 13 are particularly concerned. To avoid such dramas, devices are set up like "I'm learning to swim". Launched nationwide in 2015, it has benefited more than 300,000 young people under the age of 12.
At the Lothaire pool in Metz, this device is accessible from the age of 4 years. In this pool, every day a dozen children learn to swim. Everyone has ten free hours to use whenever they want.
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"It brings comfort, pleasure, and therefore security"
At the edge of the pool, lifeguard Arnaud Hurstel frames them. After testing them, he forms level groups. At each session, half of the children can not swim, he laments. "We try to steer them to 50 meters with crawl and back," he says, but also "immersions in search of objects". "We set up a course a little easier for those who could not do it, with the same steps but only 25 meters."
Trusted, children feel comfortable in the water. "It brings comfort, pleasure, and therefore safety," says the lifeguard. At the end of the training, the swimmers receive a diploma that guarantees learning the fundamentals of swimming. For those who want to continue to progress additional courses are offered. The most motivated can even join the swimming club of the swimming pool.
Caution: when swimming, the presence of at least one adult is necessary, whether the child knows how to swim or not, especially when it comes to the youngest.