No one is drown proof.
One of the key pillars of swim safety is to never swim alone. However, I think we have all been guilty of a quick dip on a hot day in the backyard pool. What could happen? It’s not deep, I’m an adult, a competent swimmer, stone cold sober, there’s no rip or current, no sea creatures, I’ll be fine, right? Wrong.
After a friends experience last week, I will never swim alone again, under any circumstances. A friend who is one of the fittest people I know, and probably the most competent swimmer I know. A friend who is an Ironman triathlete, having competed in events all around the world over the past 4 decades. A friend who is a mother of 2 small children.
It was on one of the recent very hot days that my friend returned from a run, hot and bothered, and couldn’t resist the lure of her backyard swimming pool. Husband at work, children at school, following a workout – a perfect time for a quick swim to cool off. After jumping in though, she quickly realised something was wrong when she felt that she was close to fainting. The combination of the hot day, exertion and sudden immersion in water, with perhaps an element of dehydration and lower than usual blood pressure following a run, had all conspired to create a very dangerous situation.
Thankfully she was able to make it to the step of the pool, rest, breathe and inch her way up the stairs and onto the tiles by the pool, rolling away from the edge before fainting. It doesn’t bear thinking about what would have happened had she passed out in the water, and it gave her a good scare. In this instance, my friend had enough fitness and awareness of the warning signs to get herself to the side of the pool and recover, but sadly, this isn’t always the case, especially if the person is swimming in the sea, intoxicated or has less little experience on the water.
In last year’s Royal Life Saving drowning report, the average age of those who drowned was 43.1 years, with the average age of females slightly lower than males (41.5 years for females and 43.4 years for males). The largest number of drowning deaths occurred among people aged 25-34 years, with the age group recording a 27% increase against the 10 year average and accounting for 19% of all deaths in 2015/16. The 35-44 years age group recorded the second highest number of drowning deaths at 15%.
So, no matter what your age, level of fitness or swimming ability, please always wait until you have someone with you before you swim, to keep yourself safer.
That’s it from me until next summer! In the meantime, always keep water safety in mind – fence the pool, shut the gate, learn to swim, supervise, and learn CPR. See you soon at the pool, and stay safer!