Bidyadanga kids lap up the challenge

9 April 2020

Note: This story includes information and images taken earlier in term one before social distancing measures were put in place and public swimming pools closed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At our Bidyadanga remote Aboriginal swimming pool the Lap Challenge months in November and March are a swimming highlight each season, with the community coming together to swim laps for fruit and prizes. The Go for 2 and 5 Swim for Fruit program, supported by Healthway, gives children an opportunity to take part in after school and weekend lap swimming as a way to encourage children to take part in swimming and water safety education along with healthy eating.

Aboriginal Australians have higher disease and death rates, and also are 3.6 times more likely to drown than non-Aboriginal Australians, and Swim for Fruit aims to address this by rewarding children who complete a set number of laps in a session with an afternoon tea of fresh fruits and healthy treats.Remarley from Bidyadanga with his scooter, bbasketball and medal for taking part in the Lap Challenge

Despite changes to the program due to the outbreak of COVID-19, many children at Bidyadanga still took part in early March, with 90 participants swimming a Bidyadanga Record breaking 14,414 laps, beating the previous record of 12,691 which had been set in November last year. Pool Manager Bernie Egan says she’s proud to see how the children really get excited about the Challenge. “Each challenge keeps getting bigger and better with kids setting themselves goals and pushing themselves to achieve them.”

During March four swimmers even managed to break the 1000 lap barrier, with Tully swimming 1,534, Kayden 1,100, Pool Manager Bernie swam 1,080 and Sammy managed a round 1,000. There were also four swimmers who completed over 500 laps and eight who swam over 250 laps.

Throughout the Challenge nearly 300 pieces of fruit were handed out, while some participants took home the major prizes of bikes and scooters, and many received basketballs, footballs, Watch Around Water slapbands or hackysacks.

Bernie says the community spirit seen in the event was also inspiring “It was awesome to see three of our major bike prize winners donate their prizes back, as they already had a bike.  It makes me proud not only of their swimming achievement, but also their thoughtfulness and generosity.”

Unfortunately due to the COVID 19 outbreak the community was unable to hold its usual end of Challenge celebration to congratulate those who’d achieved amazing results, but Pool Manager Bernie has been working hard to ensure that all the children received their well-deserved prizes an medals.

We look forward to seeing the children get back in the water to show their skills again next season, once the pools are able to re-open.