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Swimming Carnivals: Swimming Sports and Schools

Ban the Swimming Carnivals

I think that preparation for swimming carnivals in the guise of a school swimming sports program is possibly the single most un-educational thing that a school can do!

Now I will admit that the above statement is partly born out of frustration. I am sick of pulling kids out of the water just because some teacher is not able to be clear thinking about the preparation for swimming sports events. However, I think that I can make a good case for their demise.

Wait... Get Your Lesson Plans Here

I Am A Big Fan Of Properly Organized Training

Let me make it clear first up, that I am a big fan of, properly organized training with a properly qualified coach and a well-structured program. There are many things that are highly educational in a good swimming program and they should continue. But I think that the education department should step in and ban all swimming activities that are not actually structured learn to swim programs or a proper swimming sports program with a properly qualified coach. Everything else should be banned and replaced.

Swimming Carnivals In Victoria, Australia

I probably should explain here, for the sake of those who do not live in Victoria, Australia, that every year swimming carnivals are held for all the schools across Vitoria, where students compete for the glory of their school. But they are not required to have an actual swimming program in place in order to enter. The result, to my mind, is something that not only lacks educational value but is just plain unsafe.

Image of a swimmer at a swimming carnival
Swimming Carnival

Here Are My Reasons:

  • The risk to the children's life
  • When there are perhaps 20 kids in the water, all trying to swim flat out and no lifeguard alive is going to see everything. It terrifies me that one day I will miss something that could be fatal.

  • The risk to the children's wellbeing
  • If they are not taught proper lane protocol they end up running into each other. I've had schools where I have narrowly avoided 3 near miss spinal injuries in quick succession. It only takes not being able to get to one in time for ambulances to be involved.

  • The risk to the children's state of mind
  • Discovering that you can't keep up with your peers in a public arena or worse having a lifeguard pull you out of the water, does nothing to the state of mind of a child.

  • One or two sessions to determine who is fastest so that you can represent the school is not actually representing the school; even if the child does win at the carnival
  • The school has not been involved other than to run the test. All you are really doing is testing how much money and time the parents have put into the child's lessons. The parent does all the work and the school gets the credit. Yes, the child gets credit too and the parents get to be very proud but they hardly even get a mention in the school's glory basking. The school essentially plagiarises the work of the parents.

Consider that the first three above, happen because someone put the value of the time on a stopwatch over the value of a child. That sounds harsh until you are the one pulling them out of the water.

Make Them Have A Proper Swimming Program

I have to say that there are schools out there that do have a proper swimming program and these schools should have their time at the swimming carnivals. Unfortunately, these are not even in the majority. Schools that don't have a proper swimming program should be made to conform, or not be able to participate. It is for the children's sake. For their education and their safety.


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