Energy: Shivering in the pool: New hurdles for children's swimming courses

Berlin providers of swimming courses hope that, despite rising energy prices and lower water temperatures, they can teach as many children as possible to swim this autumn and winter.

Energy: Shivering in the pool: New hurdles for children's swimming courses

Berlin providers of swimming courses hope that, despite rising energy prices and lower water temperatures, they can teach as many children as possible to swim this autumn and winter. "The situation is dramatic. Fewer and fewer children can swim," says Anja Kerkow, founder of the Rochenkinder swimming school. "Children who were five years old at the beginning of the pandemic are now seven and some of them still can't swim. Many parents get nervous about that," she says.

But the chances of getting a place on a course in Berlin are limited. Her once rented pool in Berlin, for example, has been closed since the pandemic, says Kerkow. Therefore, many of her Berlin swimming students are now coming to Potsdam-Babelsberg.

She cannot yet say how the costs will develop in the future. So far, she has raised her course fees by one euro per unit, says Kerkow. The water temperature dropped by about one degree to about 30 degrees. "The little ones start to tremble," says the trainer, referring to two to four-year-olds.

The Schwimmgemeinschaft Neukölln, Berlin's largest swimming club, has already reduced the duration of the individual courses from 45 to 30 minutes because of the water temperature of around 24 degrees in summer, as Managing Director Jochen Hanz reports. This is not planned for autumn and winter, because 26 degrees are allowed in the hall of the Berlin baths, which the club then uses. And the need for courses is great, says Hanz. In his club alone there are around 300 children on the waiting list for a course.

Numerous other clubs also offer swimming courses in Berlin. Before the pandemic, around 29,000 members were organized there. According to Manuel Kopitz, managing director of the Berlin Swimming Association, the clubs have lost around 17 percent of their members during the pandemic. More than half of the members are children and young people. According to Kopitz, only about two-thirds of the damage has been repaired so far.

He considers the permitted maximum temperature of 26 degrees in most halls of the pools to be "just about sufficient". The courses usually consist not only of movement in the water, but also of explanations from the trainers and exercises outside the pool.

A spokeswoman for the baths company recommends neoprene suits that protect against large heat loss. Latex bathing caps also help to keep your head from getting cold. The pool companies will also be offering their own courses again from October. According to the spokeswoman, the prices should remain stable.

Because not all parents can get their children a place on a course, Kerkow, for example, also offers online parent coaching so that parents can teach their children to swim independently. Here, too, the demand is great. She not only helps parents from Germany, but also from Austria and Switzerland, says Kerkow.

Ray children Berlin baths SG Neukölln

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