Summer is here and it is the perfect time to go for a dip. In Singapore, although we do not have a change in season, this is the peak period for people to go swimming as it is the school holidays. Spending your time in the water can be fun, regardless of whether it is in a public swimming pool or a beach. However, the difference between the two is quite vast and not knowing these differences can potentially lead to deadly consequences.
“The biggest difference between open water or outside lake swimming, river swimming, ocean swimming are the currents and the weather,” explained Jeffrey Rout from the Greater Augusta Swimming. He also mentioned that the currents in open water such as rivers and lakes can carry an additional wave of risks. “You might have an upper layer of water that might be still, but three feet underwater, you might have a current going. In the case of the oceans, an undertow is usually pulling you out to sea,” he added.
In fact, such currents have the capability of sweeping swimmers a fair distance from where they first started. According to Jeffrey, what happens after that will ultimately determine whether the swimmer sinks or swims. He mentioned that if one finds themselves being pulled by an undertow, they should not fight it or begin to panic. “If you are not a strong swimmer or a very accomplished swimmer, fighting an undertow is just going to result in tiring you out and a lot of times that ends up in very tragic circumstances,” he explains.
Jeffrey strongly believes that swimming is a skill that involves practice. Although in public swimming pools, current is not a factor in any way, one’s swimming skill level can make a difference in their safety in both the pool as well as the open water. “In reality, if you cannot tread water for at least 30 minutes and you cannot swim 800 yards/800 meters — approximately half a mile straight, you’re not really an accomplished swimmer,” he stated. Jeffrey also went on to say that taking up swimming lessons at public pools can ensure that one has the knowledge to keep themselves safe and calm either at the pool or at the lake. You can read more about the story here.