How fast can people swim

"Can swim" - what does that actually mean?

These factors include the temperature of the water, the water pressure and the water resistance. Most of them have to process the experiences they have gained with these influencing factors and find out that, for example, terms like "light" and "heavy" are in the water take on a new meaning than on land.

"Water habituation" and "Water coping"

For parents, learning to swim should therefore have the same priority as learning to walk or to speak. Ultimately, these are vital skills of every human being. It should be noted that parents should not wait until learning to swim is on the school timetable. This usually takes place for the first time in the third or fourth grade. The correct age to learn to swim is the preschool age, whereby it is not a certain age that is decisive but the individual development of the individual child. Every child should get used to the water at an early stage - this can be done with suitable games at home in the bathtub or in special water habituation courses in public baths.

After getting used to the water, you must first learn to make use of the physical properties of the water. This learning step is called "water management" in specialist circles. Here the core elements of being able to swim (breathing - floating - gliding - driving) are learned before practicing certain swimming styles.

to learn how to swim

“Swimming” is not just about covering a distance from A to B. It rather means being able to perform a variety of forms of movement in the water. If you can “swim properly”, you have the prerequisites for having lifelong fun doing sports in the water. It is especially important for children to learn from the early, psychomotor learning steps in the water movement space to experience a wide range of movement possibilities in everyday life.

Learning to swim is a long-term process that doesn't end with a three-week course. It is an ongoing process in which forms of movement can be varied, combined and refined on an ongoing basis.

The lack of individual experience can become a danger in the context of swimming training. For example, a child who has not learned to dive or turn on their back will not be able to save themselves from an emergency in the water. The same applies, of course, to young people and adults. Only those who have an extensive repertoire of motor skills in the water will be able to say that they “can swim”.

"Being able to swim" means:

  • Fear-free stay in the water
  • security
  • Lifelong enjoyment of exercise in the water
  • Promoting health

The German Swimming Association (DSV) describes "being able to swim" very clearly with the help of the following overview:


(Source: Learning to swim, course leader manual for course leader training of the German Swimming Association e.V. (Ed.), Kassel 2006)

From a functional point of view, swimming is divided into the four core elements already mentioned:

Breathe - float - glide - drive

These elements contain all the essential functions that one needs for swimming - based on the physical properties of the water.

Only those who have learned these (core) elements can move safely in and under water, and on this basis can learn the individual swimming types in such a way that they can do them safely, technically clean and economically. Every type of swimming and every swimming technique can be explained and functionally justified with these elements.