Group floats issue of poor swimming skills

5:17 min

A recent report from the National Agency for Education found that 5 percent of sixth graders failed to pass a swim test and officials say work needs to be done to bring them up to speed.

Every year, some 4,500 Swedish children can not swim the required 200-meter swim, of which 50 meter are completed on the back. 

Bengt Jönsson, executive director of the Swedish Swimmers Association, says there is a need for strong swimmers in Sweden. 

"We are trying to encourage more people to learn how to swim and also to swim more often because swimming is one of the most healthy kinds of exercise," Jönsson tells Radio Sweden.

Rami Aro is the chairman of an association of Physical Education teachers in Sweden. He says the reasons that certain kids don't learn how to swim are a lack of time for teachers and space to teach them.

He says immigrant kids coming to Sweden are also at risk of slipping through the cracks.

"If they arrive (when they are older) and they can't swim that usually means they won't make because of their age," he says.

Aro says solving the problem will require cooperation between teachers, the government and swimming clubs.