Factors Impacting Swimming Participation and Competence: A Qualitative Report

Todd E. Layne, University of Memphis
Carol C. Irwin, University of Memphis
Jennifer Renee Pharr, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Richard L. Irwin, University of Memphis


© 2020 Human Kinetics Publishers Inc.. All rights reserved. Drowning continues to be a major cause of death for children, especially among minority groups. USA Swimming commissioned studies in 2008 and 2010 to look at swimming ability or inability, an associated drowning variable. The 2010 study showed alarming high percentages regarding insufficient swimming skill for many demographic groups. The current study's purpose was to provide further analysis of variables which emerged from 2010 study and how these variables are affecting all US populations. Focus group interviews accomplished in three regionally diverse US cities asked participants (3=fathers; 12=mothers) about their personal history with swimming, perceptions concerning swimming in general, and their child's swimming ability/habits. Results confirmed the positive impact parents have on their children and the benefit of their child developing strategies for continued growth of their swimming skill. Participants expressed a healthy fear of water. They believed that swimming was a life skill that all children should learn.