Hedland multicultural women face fears and find new friends at the pool

14 October 2019

An intensive two-week school holiday Swim and Survive program for Port Hedland’s multicultural community, supported by Lotterywest, has been a massive success. Sixteen women enrolled with the aim of facing their fear of water, achieving lifelong goals and finding new friends in the pool.

Women lined up along the edge of the pool practising their freestyle breathing while their swim instructor stands behind them in the waterThe successful program was a collaboration between Hedland Well Women's Centre, Pilbara Community Legal Services and Royal Life Saving WA., and the promotional camaign was so successful there is now a waiting list for the next program!

Two classes were offered, a beginner and an intermediate group. The intermediate group was aimed at participants from past Royal Life Saving courses, who were invited to extend their skills and continue their in-water learning, while the beginners had never taken part in swimming and water safety education before.

The intensive program produced some outstanding results, with over 60% of the group successfully swimming 25 meters freestyle, 15 metres backstroke and survival skills, while the entire group jumped into deep-water, turned and exited – an extremely important life skill!

After two weeks of hard work the last night in the pool was a fun filled session of handstands and kicking races, followed by a shared meal for which everyone brought a plate of their traditional food. The certificates of achievement were presented at the Well Women's Centre in front of family and friends, with all participants extremely proud of what they had achieved.Women and their families enjoying a meal after completing their swimming lessons

Swim Instructor Justine Esmonds says she was absolutely amazed at the progress and the commitment of the women in the program. “They supported each other, laughed and cried when they achieved what they had thought was never going to be possible – with many of the women coming from countries that had not offered swimming facilities or lessons this was a first.”

We look forward to seeing more Hedland women learn these vital skills when the next Women’s Only Swim and Survive program is held in the town in the coming months.

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