Swimming on Shabbat
We just bought a new swimming pool and my 12-year-old son loves to swim day and night. The other day he came to me and asked about swimming on Shabbat. I was surprised because we never told him not to. But he says that he wants to do the right thing. So?
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
The goal of Shabbat observance is to create an awareness that the world has a Creator and that we are obligated to do His will. By ceasing to engage in creative activities on Shabbat, we acknowledge that our creative energies come from God who created the world in six days and ceased on the seventh. There are 39 main creative activities, and not swimming on Shabbat is an offshoot of one of the 39 creative activities.
Specifically, a person might come to squeeze out water (from a towel or hair), which is forbidden on Shabbat. (Mishnah Berurah 326:25)
Also, one should not swim on Shabbat because he will perhaps improvise or fix swimming or floating paraphernalia. This applies in all circumstances, even if you do not have any paraphernalia with you. (Code of Jewish Law - O.C. 339:2)
In a public place, there is an additional problem of carrying water on the body. (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 86:4)