UK's Amateur Swimming Association reports up to nine million men and women aged over 14 in England have never learned to swim. The highest number of non-swimmers is above 65.
My husband never learned. Each time we went on holiday close to the sea, he just watched me swim. On the other hand, my Australian background gave me a good grounding for survival in the water.
I'm completely at ease in the ocean. Well, I used to be. Haven't swum for over 10 years. I felt so buoyant, I thought it would be impossible for me to sink below the surface—rather like the legend of an Australian aboriginal woman who could not drown.
ASA's findings come after it was revealed that almost half a million women in England have given up swimming in the past decade amid fears about how they look in the pool. Source the Telegraph.
And what of the future? Edith Parzefall and I wrote a series of novels set in Britland after the Great Flood. The trauma left survivors afraid of the sea. But Raymond, a free diver has overcome the stigma of swimming. He's joined his wife's group, the Saints, which is led by matriarchs. Here's a short excerpt from the novel I wrote alone Seaweed Ribbons:
A couple of those close by paid attention.
"Well, as a matter of fact..." Raymond glanced at Ginny hovering in the food preparation area. She must have heard because she nodded. Excitement filled him at showing off his skills. "I can dive for food. Molluscs, fish or whatever is swimming by."
"We don't count bragging from foreigners here."
The men chewed and didn't meet Raymond's gaze. Desperate to prove himself, he said, "I can even enter buildings underwater. The flooded ones built in the before times. Some of them have containers full of food."
"What a story." Eric chuckled and glanced at the other fellows, who snickered.
Thwarted, Raymond tried harder to gain their attention. "I could teach anyone who's willing." He swept his gaze around without meeting a response. "You get used to diving after a while."
"Leave them alone," Deidre called from the opposite side of the room. "They know what they're doing, don't they Rose?"
Another woman, with brown hair resembling a mouse's fur, nudged her and winked. "What we tell them."
Raymond swallowed. Jumping juniper berries! What made the women with their shapeless garments and wan expressions so haughty and disdainful? And the men so compliant towards them yet rude to him? The Saints showed no support for his marriage. If they wanted the union to fail, why did they perform the ceremony at all?
The time for trying to fit in with these mouldy underground creatures had passed. He couldn't change the Saints so he'd work harder at convincing Ginny to leave. ~
Are you any good at swimming?