FINA Communication Department

Bangkok in Thailand is currently hosting the first ever FINA International Clinic - Swimming for All, Swimming for Life – from May 15-17, bringing together participants from 49 countries* and representing the five continents.

The Clinic aims at creating unified and uniform fundamental principles. It will provide the participants with technical and practical information on the learning of swimming in different circumstances and infrastructures, to be familiar with the health and safety of participants and the organisation and development of lessons.

The aim of this Clinic is not only to spread mass teaching of swimming and life-saving techniques, but also, to contribute to the integration, education and inclusion of citizens in the places where it is applied.

Promoting Swimming in the 21st Century, not only means producing high quality events and records but also to achieve the type of access for all the people for the recreational, healthy and appropriate practices for a healthy lifestyle; and most importantly to prevent drowning and thus save lives.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO) Global report on drowning of November 2014, 372’000 people die each year due to drowning. As the guardians of aquatic sports, FINA could not face this reality without acting!

The delegates taking part in the Clinic

Adressing the delegates, President Maglione said:

"Our federation is known for its memorable sporting events and its major stars in six disciplines across five continents and 207 Federations but as the organisation responsible for water sports, we are also conscious of having a crucial social responsibility to all those who are not familiar with our great natural element, water."

"Water is Our World may be our slogan, but water is part of the world and of all humanity, constituting 75% of our planet (with its great virtues and great dangers), which is why we must help children, young people, adults and people with different capabilities who might face the misfortune of drowning. It is our duty to help reduce the high rates of death by drowning recorded around the world. According to World Health Organization data, 380,000 people drowned and died as a consequence, a figure which has remained unchanged for over 14 years; this figure is alarming and we cannot watch this painful reality without trying to help change it; we cannot allow thousands and thousands of people to be ignorant of the basics of swimming, that they need to protect themselves and escape from dangerous situations that might result in death by drowning."

"Since 29 January 2015, FINA has been part of the Permanent Consultative Council of CIGEPS, which is a great honour for our organisation. In November 2015, UNESCO adopted a new text of the International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport, a document which establishes the most important standards to which governments should adhere in relation to sport and which in its original version in 1978 declared that the practice of physical education and sport is a fundamental right for all”

"The revised version of the Charter positions sport as a catalyst for Peace and Development, with Article 2.2.2 stating: Physical education, physical activity and sport can play a significant role in the development of participants’ physical literacy, well-being, health and capability by improving endurance, strength, flexibility, coordination, balance and control” and that “the ability to swim is a vital skill for every person exposed to risks of drowning."

"Swimming is the only sport to be named specifically in the whole document. This is the reason we are all gathered here today with the  “Swimming for All – Swimming for Life” programme, with the involvement of the United Nations, UNESCO, CIGEPS, the World Health Organization and UNICEF, whose representatives have taken part in a number of meetings of our Committee and have supported this initiative. The fundamental objective is to ensure that everyone has the chance to learn to swim. We will deliver a programme offering standard criteria for teaching people to swim and offering help to everyone who needs it. This will involve working with governments to convince them of the importance of doing so and to demonstrate that, although there is a financial outlay, the benefits far outweigh the costs in terms of health gains, improved lifestyle, well-being and saving lives. Implementing the programme requires planning, setup, control, evaluation and sustainability. Crucial to its success is the support of CIGEPS – UNESCO, whose programmes and proposals will be followed by governments as they mobilise and deliver this initiative in those countries where such programmes do not exist and where national structures and suitable personnel are needed. The 207 national member federations of FINA have a very important function to perform in this programme and their participation is fundamental; only by working together can we improve the lamentable situation that exists today."

*PARTICIPANTS

- ANG - CUR - ITA - NZL - TAN
- ANT - DEN - KOS - PER - TGA
- ARU - ESP - LCA - PHI - THA
- AUS - FIJ - LTU - PLW - URU
- BAH - FRA - LUX - RSA - UZB
- BAN - GAM - MAR - RWA - VAN
- BAR - GBR - MRI - SAM - VIE
- BRN - HAI - NEP - SEN - VIN
- BRU - INA - NGR - SUI - ZAM
- COK - IRI - NMA - SYR

Pipat Paniangvait, FINA Honorary Treasurer