Growing number of non-swimmers
The municipality of Gondelsheim and two specialists organized swimming courses for children. The catchment area stretches from Heidelsheim to Pforzheim.
The Gondelsheim community allows its children to swim in preparation. Due to the long waiting lists for swimming courses, Mayor Markus Rupp (SPD) took responsibility and, in collaboration with swimming teachers Thorsten Kolein and Kai Widenmeyer Gondelsheimer, made it possible for parents to offer swimming courses for children. In addition to sponsoring money from the savings bank, the municipality also opened its own cash desk and made money available for the project.
“Half an hour after the offer was published, around 35 of the 40 seats have already been filled,” says Rupp, pleased with the excellent response. It is especially important for him that children learn to swim.
“The number of children between the ages of five and seven who cannot swim is increasing. It was important for us as a community to contribute to counteracting this.
The water rats in the Heidelsheim pool focus on this case
One thing stands out in particular during the Sunday courses at the Heidelsheim swimming pool: aquatic children from the age of five are disciplined and focused on the task at hand.
It is thanks to swimming instructors Thorsten Kolein and Kai Widenmeyer. Two men manage to motivate the young swimmers with a mix of fun, trust and occasional rigor. “We have extensive experience working with children. As sports teachers, we give swimming lessons at our schools and have long been running courses at the Bruchsal Adult Education Center, ”says Thorsten Kolein.
The fact that men are also best friends makes them an undefeated duo at the pool. Mutual trust and a close eye on swimming students are essential.
“Many do not dare to learn to swim for fear of accidents while swimming,” cite the reasons for the long waiting lists for swimming courses. Swimming sessions last 45 minutes. After warming up with frog, stork or kangaroo movements, the little water fleas learn the movement sequences and finally have a little fun in the water.
The children of Gondelsheim are enthusiastic about learning to swim
The lesson ends with a joint discussion of what we have learned. There are also homework assignments such as running dry in a chair. “Unlike cycling, it is important to me that my child learns to swim. I am extremely grateful to Thorsten Kolein, Kai Widenmeyer and Mayor Markus Rupp for this wonderful offer, ”says Sandra Melichar from Gondelsheim.
Her 5-year-old daughter Malea likes to learn to swim. “Exercising at first like a stork is fun,” says the girl. The combination of arm and leg movements is difficult for her.
Six-year-old Emil also thinks so. “The water is warm, sometimes you accidentally swallow water, but I’m not afraid,” she emphasizes.
His mother, Inga Keller from Gondelsheim, is relieved that her son is attending the course. “During Corona, the pools were closed. It is a relief to know that Emil is learning to swim because it is essential.
There are no swimming lessons for children in Pforzheim
Aline Münz is head of the health sports department at TV Bretten. The club also offers swimming courses. “There are no offers in Pforzheim, so our reach is very large and the waiting time is around a year,” he reports.
In addition to weekly swimming courses, the association also offers two-week compact courses during the Pentecost and Christmas period. Cooperation is established with the Rotary Club Bruchsal-Bretten, which, inter alia, funds swimming courses for children living in institutions.
Due to the lack of trainers and water surface, the local group of the German Life Saving Society Bretten (DLRG) only offers a small area of DLRG training, a rescue for young people from the age of twelve.
“A large proportion of the young swimmers come from the TV Bretten swimming school. Courses end there from the age of twelve. We take care of young people, 90 percent of whom stay with us after the trial session, ”says Günter Portisch, chairman of the local Bretten DLRG group.
In the Bretten indoor pool, the youth groups 12 plus and 14 plus train on Mondays from 6.00 p.m. to 7.00 p.m., and the active lifeguard from 7.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.