Wundine on Wheels is the name of the Stuttgart Josef Wund Foundation’s latest project. Learn to swim on wheels! “What is this now?” She first asked herself this question when she first heard about the project, says Theresa Schubber at the Stuttgart Opera Arena. The Minister of Education is the sponsor of “Wundine on Wheels”. In the future, swimming courses for children aged 5-8 will be held in the mobile pool – a fully equipped educational pool on six wheels. First in the province of Karlsruhe, later in many parts of the country and possibly also in other federal states. The foundation wants to build more rolling pools at a cost of about a quarter of a million euros. Additional sponsors are being sought.
The swimming pool is in the completely discarded and converted container and is approximately 14 meters long, six meters long and one meter deep. The portable bathroom is equipped with a changing room, shower and toilet. With the help of a modern and very economical heat pump, the water is heated to about 31 degrees in 24 hours, says Jürgen Loeb, president of industry and mineral processing company Laub of Sachsenheim in Ludwigsburg, which developed and built the bath on wheels.
Six kids at a time
One of the Wund Foundation’s main partners in this project is the German Academy of Children’s Sports. The small pool is ideal for holding up to six children in the water at the same time and teaching them the first movements when swimming, Matthias Nagel, president of the German Children’s Swimming Academy, part of the Sports Academy, said at Wundine’s official presentation. About sliding and spinning in the water. The swimming session lasts 45 minutes and can reach 60 children per day. After getting used to the water for the first time, more swimming lessons, if possible in a larger pool, are of course necessary.
First operational use is expected in early October in Karlsruhe-Witzbach. By the end of this year, kindergarten and primary school children should have their first experiences in water. Girls and boys are taught by swimming teachers from local educational institutions and the staff of the Children’s Sports Academy. The foundation has already received a number of inquiries from cities and communities for the next year, including from the Rems-Murr district.
No competition with swimming clubs
“We want to bridge a gap,” says Christoph Palm, managing director of the Joseph Wend Foundation, which is to bring the teaching group to places where they don’t have their own pool. Under no circumstances does the organization want to compete with swim clubs or the DLRG. Project partners include the swimming associations of Baden and Württemberg. Referring to Wundine, Palm explains with a wink that the foundation and its partners have “reduced the pond to the size of a bonsai,” but it meets all the requirements.
The background to the Wund Foundation’s commitment is sad: in Germany, many people still drown because they cannot swim. The DLRG found that about 60 percent of all elementary school students can’t swim or can’t swim well enough after class four—even though the curriculum states that students should learn to swim in class. According to a statement from the foundation’s general manager, Gunther Geyer, 2,002 people have drowned across the country in the past five years. About 25 percent of all elementary schools do not have a pool nearby, so regular swimming lessons are impossible. One solution: Wundine’s “Nationally Unique” portable bathroom in the truck trailer.
By the way, Wundine’s mascot is an otter, because this outstanding diver and swimmer is a non-swimmer boy, just like all human children. Both otters and humans must learn how to swim first. Otters begin to do this when they are two months old. According to swimming experts, people should start at the age of five at the latest – in the outdoor pool, the indoor pool, or the Bonsai-Wundine pool.
Note: The article first appeared in the Stuttgarter Zeitung.