The heartbroken mother of a teenage boy who drowned in a river says he was probably too embarrassed to tell his friends that he didn't know how to swim.
Chase Swanson-Ewing, 14, and a friend went to swim in the Whanganui River in New Zealand on February 20.
His body was discovered by police divers in the river at 1pm the next day.
Chase's mother Louisa Baldwin said her son never learned to swim, and suspects bullying made him insecure about it.
Chase Swanson-Ewing, 14, and a friend went to swim at the Aramoho Whanganui Rowing Club, on New Zealand's North Island, in the evening on February 20. His body was discovered by police divers in the Whanganui River at 1pm the next day
Speaking to the New Zealand Herald, Ms Baldwin said Chase would normally watch his friends swim when they dove in the river.
'I think he was embarrassed to let others know he couldn't swim,' she told the publication.
Ms Baldwin said Chase was offered swimming lessons from school but he kept on 'finding reasons' not to attend because he was insecure about his swimming ability.
'I firmly believe that peer pressure, or bullying, is the reason. They don't want their peers saying "oh you're dumb, you can't even swim",' she said.
'He cared what others thought of him like anyone does and was subject to bullying like many others are.'
The mother-of-four called for mandatory school swimming lessons to prevent future tragedies on the island nation.
She said most NZ schools used to have swimming pools but funding cuts had made them too expensive to maintain.
Four people drowned in the space of 48 hours in New Zealand last week, including a nine-year-old boy who drowned at Napier Beach on Saturday.
Chase was a year 10 student at Whanganui High School and is survived by his mother and stepfather, siblings Stevie, Bailie and Zak and three step-siblings Jordan, Karlei and Jakob.
A Give A Little fundraiser page has been started to raise money for Chase's funeral, which will happen at Aramoho Lawn Cemetery on Wednesday.
Chase jumped off the pontoon at Aramoho Whanganui Rowing Club (pictured) before he drowned. Chase's mother Louisa Baldwin said her son never completed school swimming lessons and suspects bullying made him insecure about not being able to swim