I am a native Hebrew speaker and I find it difficult to translate and understand the Berayta in Kiddushin 30b (in the name or R' Akivah):
"ויש אומרים אף להשיטו בנהר מאי טעמא חיותיה הוא"
"The baraita adds: And some say that a father is also obligated to teach his son to swim in a river. The Gemara asks: What is the reason for this? It is necessary for his life"
Does it mean swim or sail? In Talmud לשוט is used as sailing on a boat, or going easily above the water (Rashi says on the pasuk "שטו העם ולקטו" - "אין שיוט אלא לשון טיול".) How come it is translated as swim?
If לשוט is sailing, why is it so important for living in Israel (R"A) - it is not a life-saving skill?
If it is about swimming, why does it stand out from other life-saving skills, generally related to "ונשמרתם מאד לנפשותיכם"?
Given that this order is an important one and said by a great Tana, I would expect everybody to follow and excel in swimming. Surprisingly, I could not recall a single mentioning of any of our forefathers, leaders or Sages who were allegedly good at swimming and even saved their lives by it.
Does anybody of the Poskim elaborate on this obligation with more details?
NB: R"A himself was a victim of a shipwrekage (Yevamot 121a):
" It is taught in a baraita: Rabban Gamliel said: Once I was traveling on a boat, and from a distance I saw a boat that shattered and sank. And I was grieved over the apparent death of the Torah scholar who was on board. And who was it? Rabbi Akiva. But when I disembarked onto dry land, he came, and sat, and deliberated before me about halakha. I said to him: My son, who brought you up from the water? He said to me: A plank from the boat came to me, and I bent my head before each and every wave that came toward me. The waves did not wash me off of the board, and I reached the shore. "