Learning to swim an important life skill
Peter Holland of the Onehunga Swimming Club (left) explains to Trustee Brian Lythe some of the finer points of teaching young people to swim being use
Although the number of people who drown in New Zealand has reduced in the last two years it is still a major concern to Water Safety New Zealand that so
many New Zealanders drown each year. Despite learn to swim campaigns and constantly emphasising how important it is to treat sea, lake and river with respect, New Zealanders continue to drown themselves; 123 of them last year.
Most New Zealanders will claim to be competent swimmers but this is not the case. Anyone who has gone to school in New Zealand will probably have had swimming lessons yet very few will leave school with other than the basics of how to stay afloat or to get from one side of a pool to the other. Tragically this often leads to a presumption of water skills that are more imagined than real.
It is a different story, however, for those who have learned to swim within the structure of a swimming club. Even if they should not progress to competitive swimming, the instruction they receive about the various swimming strokes and how to handle unexpected or difficult conditions in the water make them significantly better swimmers than someone who has not been to a club.
Some experience in a surf lifesaving club, particularly at patrol level, takes the level of open water swimming ability to a level well beyond the average.
A $44,990 donation from the ASB Trusts to the Onehunga Swimming Club helped purchase the equipment. The club promotes swimming in its community and encourages swimming and associated water sports.
The club’s programmes provide an opportunity for the community to learn to swim from the age of five. People can then participate in competitive swimming or keep swimming for fitness.
The club currently has a membership of 222 with 190 of them under 21. In the Auckland Junior Championships the club entered 28 swimmers and won 14 medals. In the Senior Championships it entered 11 swimmers and won four medals. In the Waikato Championships its 31 entrants won 16 medals.Our thanks to ASB Trusts for providing this article.
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