I come from a family of swimmers. Not professional swimmers, mind you, but we can all at least float and get from point A to point B in the water. My brother, cousins and I were all taught how important it is to know how to swim from an early age.
For your health. For survival. For fun. All of us grew up hearing the story of how my grandfather swam the widest part of the Hudson River near Haverstraw, New York, as did his sister Florence, apparently setting a record at the time. That is about three and a half miles wide. (I cannot verify the record, but it always sounded good.)