#BeActive Shared Space

#SWIM mid-term meeting was held in Rijeka
In the period 25-28 of August 2023, in Rijeka, Croatia was held the mid-term meeting of the international consortium, that implements the innovative initiative #SWIM – Swim Without Fear, that deliver its activities until June 2024. Representatives of the consortium had the chance to analyze the completed so far #SWIM activities, to approve the project research about hydrophobia in early age, implemented until the meeting and to plan the remaining actions – handbook for kids and parents, testing and dissemination events. During the meeting the #SWIM partners from Bulgaria and Croatia had practical visits in Kantrida Swimming Pools and fruitful meetings with sport experts, managers, coaches and decision makers.
Until the present moment, various instruments have been developed to ensure that kids understand water environment as fun and joyful place – an Augmented reality application, song for kids and coloring book which are available for free download by parents and/or sport organizations on project webpage: www.myswim.org.
Bulgaria and Croatia are countries where sea tourism forms a large part of the economy. Every year, a large number of children die from drowning in both countries who cannot swim or are afraid of the water. It is a well-known fact that the fear of water and swimming is very common among children. Sport is one of the most powerful tools that can support the inclusion process and in a gentle way present an opportunity for the mentioned target group. #SWIM! project aims to use the link between sport and overcoming psychological problems in an innovative and different way – by developing a handbook of good practices that will be of benefit to both parents and organizations in the field of swimming. “Swim Without Fear” is an Erasmus Sport Small Collaborative Partnership aiming to bring benefits for children – future swimmers and their parents and family, and benefits for swimming clubs and their swimming coaches / instructors:

1. Overcoming the innate fear of water in most children at an early age (4-6 years);
2. Mastering very basic swimming skills – after overcoming the fear of water comes the turn of games in the water – with a ball, with a swimming belt, with an inflatable mattress;
3. Taking a proper stand/position in the water.

1. The meaning of the vacation around the water area – pool, sea, lake etc.;
2. Saving costs for fees for swimming instructors at an early age.

According to most experts, actual swimming training can begin at the age of 6-7 years old. In addition to the focus of sports clubs on pure sports and the problems of sports training, when children come to the club, they come with an already cultivated love of water and without fear. Then, in addition to the fact that training is faster and smoother, it turns out that the talents of certain children in swimming can be discovered and developed later.

1. Research in different countries in relation to local needs;
2. Printed edition of the handbook “Swim Without Fear”, which will help parents and organizations and will be distributed in kindergartens, schools, hotels and swimming pools;
3. Online platform where an online edition of the “Swim Without Fear” handbook and guidelines videos will be published. All of them will be translated in 3 languages: English, Bulgarian and Croatian.
4. Test swimming event in Sofia, Bulgaria in the end of the project during the Final meeting in order to demonstrate the methods proposed in the handbook “Swim Without Fear”.

#SWIM! Project is in line with the horizontal objectives, pursued by the Erasmus+ Programme aiming to ensure inclusion and diversity in all fields of education, training, youth and sport. With the publication of a “Swim Without Fear” handbook, our project aims to show the relationship between parent and child and how to easily use our free time to work to build the character and skills of our children. The implementation of #SWIM! events for 10 couples of parents with children aims to show the other strong connection that would be conducive to overcoming fear, that of a “child to child”. The partner organizations form Bulgaria and Croatia are united by their goal to approve sport (in our case swimming) as a learning tool and to help increasing the physical activity in both countries and also on international level by delivering online free access to the handbook, which will be translated in 3 languages: Bulgarian, Croatian and English.

#SWIM project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and will be implemented by a consortium composed by: Bulgarian sports development association in cooperation with Association of Bulgarian Swimmers and Vere Montis – active sport NGO from Croatia.

Author: BSDA
Author e-mail: info@bulsport.bg