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"Crawl not best for Swedish waters"

Published torsdag 11 juli 2013 kl 13.45
Breast stroke should be prioritised, according to the Swedish Lifesaving Association. Photo: Volnaefremov/Flickr

More and more swimming schools in Sweden are prioritising teaching crawl instead of breast stroke. And that could lead to more drownings here, according to the Swedish Lifesaving Association.

The crawl technique is considered by many swimming schools to be easier to learn, and therefore it will make more children able to swim earlier.

But, according to Karin Brand of the Swedish Lifesaving Association, if you teach crawl before breast stroke you are compromising security. Crawl, she says, works best indoors and if you are aiming to be an elite swimmer, but it is not a life saving swimming style, which is needed in Sweden's cold and dark waters.

According to the Life Saving Association, 98 percent of all drownings happen outdoors in open waters.

"In those conditions, breast stroke is superior since the head stays above water and the style is more restful than crawl, and that can be decisive for the ability to make it to shore. If fewer children learn breast stroke we are worried there could be an increase in drowning," says Karin Brand.

But the Swedish Swimming Federation thinks the change is positive.

"We see that younger children feel safer in the water when they learn how to crawl," says Maria Gustafsson at the Swedish Swimming Federation.

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