Monday, April 2, 2012

Watery Wednesday: Learn-to-swim programme

See this beautiful tranquil lake. I loved it there. This is a private waterway of the houses here. It looks so peaceful, but it could be deadly. Deadly if you can't swim. My brother Joseph just sent me this email.

Ray from No 13 saved a kid at 9 clear water bay from drowning yesterday. He jumped into the lake to save a child fallen off the jetty. Without Ray, the kid would be dead.

Joseph tells a friend to teach his kid to swim and he comes up with a lame excuse that the wife is worried about ear infection.

For Joseph, his wife Audrey takes the boys to swimming lessons at least once a week until they are 7 years old. They are always very vigilant at the jetty and pool.

Just yesterday, we have this good news.

Learn-to-swim programme a bid to end drownings

Thirty-seven thousand Auckland children are being given free swimming lessons in a bid to stop the high number of drownings.

Water Safety New Zealand has contributed $500,000 towards the Sport Auckland learn-to-swim programme, which will provide more than 320,000 free lessons throughout this year.

Sport Auckland chief executive Daniel Gerrard said it hoped the lessons would change the alarming fact that only 21 per cent of 12-year-olds could swim 200m - the benchmark Water Safety NZ considers necessary to swim and survive in the water.

"Last year, Auckland recorded its highest number of drowning deaths [30] since 2002. It's alarming when you also look at the declining swimming standards of New Zealand children," Mr Gerrard said.

Last year, 131 people drowned in NZ, a rise of more than 50 per cent on the year before - the worst annual drowning toll on record since 2003.

The learn-to-swim programme is part of the Greater Auckland Aquatic Action Plan (Gaaap), launched last year, which provides free swim and survive skill development to Year 3-6 children in decile 1-6 schools.

They are provided with eight to 10 free 20-minute swimming lessons from a qualified instructor. If there's no school pool, the lessons are held at a council or private pool.

Mr Gerrard said the additional half a million dollars would enable the programme to reach 200 more schools.

Water Safety NZ chief executive Matt Claridge said the joint initiative would play a significant role in helping reduce Auckland's high drowning toll.

Of the funding, $200,000 is earmarked for an existing learn-to-swim programme in Papakura and Franklin which will now come under the Gaaap umbrella.

The $300,000 balance is to combine with investments from ASB Community Trust, KiwiSport and Sir John Walker's Find Your Field of Dreams to enable Sport Auckland and the Regional Sports Trust Alliance to deliver swim and survive lessons throughout the wider Auckland region.

Mr Gerrard said the goal now was to secure additional funding to extend Gaaap beyond the current age and decile parameters, to deliver free swimming lessons to more Auckland children.


Ginny Hartzler said...

Gosh, I wonder why so many kids there don't know how to swim?? These lessons are wonderful, every parent should take advantage of them.

Jim said...


Halcyon said...

Interesting post. I am really surprised about the percentage of kids who can't swim. I thought NZ had a real beach culture. The numbers are much higherin N America I'm sure. I grew up with a swimming pool and don't remember ever not knowing how to swim.

Kim, USA said...

Beautiful shots Ann! You are invited to post your water photos here Water World Wednesday

The JR said...

glad the kid was saved

that's a good program

Judy said...

The scenery is simply gorgeous! I think the learn to swim program is well worth the money spent! Here, a lot of the drownings are a result of people going through the ice, so knowing how to swim is not an issue...

Carver said...

Great post. It is so important that everyone learns to swim in my opinion. My daughter never had ear infections when she was learning to swim but I'll admit that when she was on swim team she did get them a lot. Still, I don't think it's any reason not to learn to swim and the only time my daughter had any problems was when she was on swim team in the winter, never from recreational swimming in warm weather.

I do have pecans on my tree in the fall although the squirrels get a lot of them.

Jenny Woolf said...

This is a fine post and makes a good point. It is indeed essential to teach kids to swim. As a child, you are not only more resilient, but also you're more open minded and haven't got into bad habits of swimming badly or being afraid of water. I wish I had had proper swimming lessons as a child - I can stay afloat but I always feel as if I'm swimming in the wrong way, and it's uncomfortable,

When I was 5 I jumped into a pool and would have drowned if a nearby teenager hadn't rescued me. I still remember the sight of the bubbles floating up and me realising I could not breathe and wondering why.

Leovi said...

Wonderful photos of today, a beautiful sight.