Griffith University professor Robyn Jorgensen conducted a 3-year study that found young children (under 5 years of age) who learn to swim at a young age achieve a wide range of skills earlier than those who do not. The study was based on data provided by online surveys completed by parents of 7,000 children under the age of 5 in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. She and her research colleague Dr. Bob Funnell further studied 180 children between the ages of 3-5, together with the assistance of Patricia Funnell and swimming coaches Laurie Lawrence (shown on left) and Ross Gage. They concluded that, in addition to the physical skills (outside of ball-handling skills) gained through swimming at a young age, children also perform better than normal populations in their language, intellectual and social capital. Her study concludes, “In early swimming lessons, young learners are exposed to new experiences that extend their repertoire of skills, knowledges and dispositions.” It would be most interesting to conduct an end-of-career survey of lifetime swimmers vs. non-swimmers to see if this early development advantages carry through to the remainder of swimmers’ lives, especially if these same 7,000 individuals could be tracked through their scholastic, high school, university, early career, mid-career and retirement years. Given the higher grades and honors generally received and reported by the average collegiate swimmers over other student-athletes in American universities, it may be that these advantages continue at least through the early 20s. Or are these comparatively higher scores related to the well-developed time management skills and behavior of swimmers? It would be interesting to find out. Sponsors of the research included Swim Australia, Carlile Swimming, Paul Sadler Swimland, Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association, Laurie Lawrence Swim Schools, King Swim, Swimming Australia, Vorgee, State Swim (SA), Aquatic Achievers, Swim Coaches and Teachers of New Zealand Inc., Westside Swimming, Rackley Swimming, Justin Norris Swim Academy, Just Swimming Nunawading, Hills Swimming, Academy Swim Club (USA), La Petite Baleen (USA), Seadragonz, SwimKids USA, Hutt City (NZ), Sydenham Street Swimming/Van Dyk’s Swimming Shawn’s Swim School, Instituto De Natacao Infantil (Brazil), Lorrimar Family Swim School, Jackson’s Swim School and Pat Taylor Swim School.
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