Aquatic sports keep kids cool at Yandeyarra

13 March 2017
With temperatures averaging 40-42 degrees in Yandeyarra recently, and the local remote aboriginal swimming pool water temperature in the 30s the pool is definitely the smart place to be! For Yandeyarra school students it’s a favourite destination for both school time sports classes, and after school fun, where they can cool down while also learning new skills!

As an extension of the skills the children have learnt through the Swim and Survive program, the term 1 sports education program at the local school has encouraged the children to try something different and step out of their comfort zone, learning a variety of aquatic sports skills. Royal Life Saving Society WA has partnered with Water Polo WA to make this program possible.Children learning Flippa Ball at Yandeyarra pool

Children in the Junior Primary class, aged 5 – 8 years, have been learning how to play Flippa Ball, which is a modified version of water polo played in shallow water. Flippa Ball enables the children to have fun while trying new skills, and practising head up swimming while moving the ball down the pool through either throwing or swimming it. It also encourages the children to practise their survival skills, treading water and using their hands to stay afloat.

Yandeyarra Remote Pool Manager Jacqui Forbes says as a reward for all their efforts in the water the children were able to use the apple slinky machine to make their post-swimming snacks. “The apple slinky, which is provided through the Royal Life Saving Go for 2 and 5 Swim For Fruit program, is definitely a popular feature for the younger kids. They loved the fact that they got an apple slinky after playing Flippa Ball, and then another one when they returned after school to do lap swimming!”

The children in the senior school, aged 9-16 years, also took part in the water polo program, learning deep end water polo skills. Jacqui says this group was not quite so keen! “They needed a bit of a push to get them on board with learning Water Polo, as they preferred playing basketball at the shallow end! Mastering Water Polo Skills requires with a one handed catch, throw and shoot action with most of this done above the head, while basketball is much easier!”

However, after the initial hesitation the kids quickly realised the basic skills required for Water Polo meshed nicely with the lifesaving skills that they’d learnt in Term 4. “Sculling hands, treading water and head up swimming with direction changes - all without touching the bottom – was quite challenging, but a few sneaky Water Polo drills later they were away picking the ball up, transferring it hand to hand, showing great eye-ball coordination and good positional play! Of course shooting goals was the main attraction, followed by the shallow end game of boys verses girls” says Jacqui.

Throughout the Term 1 program 33 children have taken part, thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to learn new skills. Royal Life Saving Society WA is grateful to Healthway and Water Polo WA for providing the equipment needed to make the program possible, and looks forward to seeing more aboriginal children take part across all 6 of our remote aboriginal swimming pools.