Indigenous children dive into swimming before summer

5 November 2018

Following the success of a previous Swim and Survive program run with an Indigenous group at the Edmund Rice Centre, a new program has begun with a new group of Indigenous kids learning to Swim and Survive over six weeks this term at Leisurepark Balga.

Having started in late October, each Saturday over the next six weeks 20 Indigenous children will learn invaluable skills in swimming and aquatic safety from dedicated and skilled instructors. The children range from beginners all the way through to Level 5, with the program focused on teaching key swimming and water safety messages to these young community members.

Royal Life Saving WA Inclusion Coordinator, Emily Balcombe says the program is vital for these kids. "It enables Royal Life Saving to engage with Indigenous children who do not have easy access to swimming lessons, and with our partnership with the Edmund Rice Centre we can ensure the classes are culturally appropriate and provide a safe and fun environment for the kids."

Research has found that the drowning rate amongst Australian Aboriginals is three times higher than other Australian children aged 0–14 years and is ranked the second most common cause of injury death. A review of drowning data indicates limited water safety awareness combined with alarmingly low participation levels in swimming and water safety programs are key factors in these statistics.

Learning to Swim and Survive is a vital life skill that all Western Australian children need to safely participate on, in and around water. The Swim and Survive program identifies 16 critical stages in a child’s development. The lower stages focus on teaching efficient support and movement in the water, while the higher stages include skill and knowledge in safety, survival and rescue, all while developing a strong and effective swimming technique.

This program is proudly supported by BHP Billiton and the Department of Local Government, Sport & Cultural Industries.

For more information on Royal Life Saving WA's commitment to Indigenous participation within our Access and Equity programs, please click on the below link.

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