1980 Photo Contest, Color Picture, 1st prize

Valery Shustov

RIA Novosti

01 January, 1979

Sergey Zholtun, an underwater swimming instructor, and his wife Olga teach their children Nadya and Koly to swim before they learn how to walk. Apparently, the series was not published in Russia but in one of the publications that press agency RIA Novosti brought on the foreign market. The Sunday Times wrote on 24 February 1980 about the winning images: ‘This Soviet baby was barely four weeks old when he took to water. Before he could crawl he had learnt to swim on his back and he is just one of thousands of Russian babies being taught to swim. It’s not a Soviet plan to dominate world water sports, but a medical programme aimed at building up children’s resistance to disease, in particular respiratory ailments.’

About the photographer

Valery Shustov

Russian photojournalist Valery Shustov (1926-2006) worked briefly for the Sovinformbureau, before moving to its successor RIA Novosti.

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