“My mother taught me to swim,” Mr. Miron said, adding, “That’s also what parents are here for.”

Farès Hamadi Samet, 9, said that he had received no swimming lessons while in primary school because the local pool was closed so often in recent years. His mother had no choice but to pay for lessons at another pool some 45 minutes away.

In most cases, children can get to pools only on chartered buses, said Mr. Timricht from Le Grand Bleu, and they often end up spending more time on the bus than in the water.

Yanis Slimani, 20, a summer lifeguard at the Corbières beach, a popular spot for residents of the Quartiers Nord, said that he had only recently realized that one of his closest friends could not swim.

“I think most people hide it,” Mr. Slimani said as he scanned the beach.


Yanis Fatnassi thought of making a career as a swimmer.

Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

Yanis Fatnassi said he was the only person in his class to join a swimming team. Of the dozen or so teams in the city, Marseille Nord is the only club in the Quartiers Nords.

He said swimming had taught him discipline, which, in turn, led to excellent results in school. He hopes those results will help him leave Marseille to study in London.

“I would say it’s essential,” the young man said.

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