Swimming organisations argue about crawl and breast stroke

A war of words has broken out between the two organisations responsible for swimming over which strokes are best for teaching children to swim.

The national swimming pool organisation NPZ, which hands out the ABC diplomas for school children, favours the breast stroke. According to its chairman Mervyn Stegers, the breast stroke is more difficult than the crawl or back stroke, but it can be maintained for longer and is more suitable in emergencies.

The swimming federation KNZB disagrees. It is conducting an experiment in The Hague, Amsterdam and Groningen in which children are first taught the crawl and back stroke. The intention is to introduce its own swimming lessons and diploma next year.

‘Swimming lessons are seen as something to prevent drowning, but I see it as sport,’ KNZB’s Jacco Verhaeren told the Volkskrant. Director Jan Kossen told news agency ANP: ‘If you fall in the water, it’s always near the edge and then you don’t need to swim for hours with your head above water.’

Stegers is furious. He says the KNZB has worked on swimming lessons based on the crawl and the back stroke in secret and he heard about it from a secretary.


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