Episode #71: Swimming in Korea


This is just one of those cultural difference I don’t understand. First, many Koreans don’t know how to swim and this is vastly different than where I’m from where we learned to swim since kindergarten. I’ve been here for 5 years, and this was the first time I went swimming at a public pool.

I’m not sure if this is the majority of indoor pools here, but I searched online, and lots of others experienced the same things.

Okay the swimming cap I can kind of see the logic in it. But in the states, I’ve rarely seen regular pool goers wear them so it’s just a strange thing for us.

The life jackets however made no sense to me. Even if you know how to swim here, many public water parks and indoor pools might require them.

Third, the 10 minute break. I tried searching, but really couldn’t find reasons for it. I think it’s for public safety so you don’t tired yourself out or something…I don’t know I’m just making this up. Hyo couldn’t really tell me. Anyone else been swimming here in Korea?

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  • lavodnas08
    Aug 4,2014 at 7:30 pm

    I’m surprised that none of you have realized that the 10 minute break is not intended for the swimmers, rather it’s for the lifeguards!

    If you’re at a big water park or even at a local public swimming pool and water g parks, the lifeguards switch stations every hour. Here in IL every 50 minutes all children under 18 must exit the pool while the adults are free to stay in and enjoy those ten minutes of tranquility. The lifeguards switch to a different post so that their shift is not so mundane, it gives an equal opportunity for all those that are scheduled to be at the diving boards, kiddie pools, slides etc. I will also add that during those 10 mins, there are still 1-3 guards on duty making sure no one drowns.

    And as far as the life vests are concerned it makes sense to have people wear them if the majority of the population does not know how to swim and the water park is crowded. What our local YMCA does for children who wish to forego the safety vest, is that they have to have a swim test at deep end of the pool. If they pass, hooray! No life vest. I’ve seen kids and adults drown while swimming, it’s not a pretty sight, they’re just trying to look out for your safety and avoid a lawsuit. 😉

  • umeberu
    Jun 26,2014 at 4:29 am

    In France, wearing a cap is compulsory so it doesn’t surprise me. Also, men swim trunks are forbidden as you might lose it in the water while diving, leaving you naked and ackward. ^^; I’ve been to a public pool in Korea once, and only the cap was required. I’ve never seen any life jacket but I agree, it just doesn’t make any sense at all…

    • Dominic 'Dom' Dinkins
      Jun 26,2014 at 8:12 am

      Haha the rule about swimming trunks is interesting because I almost lost mine a few times when we went swimming. I couldn’t imagine wearing the other swim suits though!

  • XiaoVee
    Jun 25,2014 at 5:17 pm

    LOL, I don’t know about 10 min break XD
    Nice information Dom!

    • Dominic 'Dom' Dinkins
      Jun 26,2014 at 8:12 am

      You should go try it!

  • Jun 25,2014 at 4:03 pm

    OH, I hate the swim caps. At the local Ys here in NYC, we have to wear swimming caps too in order to use the pools. We also have to take showers before entering the pools. It’s such an ordeal that I don’t go to the pools anymore. The beach is better, no rules! Well, except for the safety ones.

    • Dominic 'Dom' Dinkins
      Jun 26,2014 at 8:13 am

      Yes, the beach is so much better and I prefer it every time.

  • Jun 25,2014 at 3:16 pm

    Here in Brazil I’ve never seen a place where life jackets were required. Also found it very strange that 10 minutes rule. But it must be because I’m Brazilian and things are really different. Beach and pool here are things that are part of our lives since we were born. It is very common to see mothers with babies in swimming lessons.

    • Dominic 'Dom' Dinkins
      Jun 26,2014 at 8:13 am

      Yea Brazil looks amazing for swimming culture. I always get envious when I look at the pics of the beaches there. Hope to go there someday 🙂

  • Evan and Rachel
    Jun 25,2014 at 1:34 pm

    haha this made us laugh out loud. We’ve never been to a public pool here, but I’ve heard of these rules. The 10 min. break thing is normal to me though, I also grew up swimming and at all the public pools I went to there was a break every hour. I hated it as a kid. 😛

    • Dominic 'Dom' Dinkins
      Jun 25,2014 at 1:39 pm

      Interesting. I guess the 10 minute rule is more common than I thought :p

  • TheTravelingKimchi
    Jun 25,2014 at 12:42 pm

    HAHA interesting. I’ve experienced the life vest, swim cap, but not the 10 min. I have however experienced the pools being ridiculous crowded.

    • Dominic 'Dom' Dinkins
      Jun 25,2014 at 1:37 pm

      I’ve heard about the crowdedness too, but have never been to one of the popular pools or water parks to experience it just for that reason haha.

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