Midwest kids lap up Go for 2 and 5 message

30 January 2019

Local kids in Mullewa and Geraldton enjoyed taking part in the Go for 2&5 Swim for Fruit program during term four last year. The incentive-based program, supported by Healthway, encourages children to swim laps and receive a healthy serving of fruit at the end of each session as well as other prizes for reaching lap milestones.

The program reached out to the kids through the Geraldton Sporting Aboriginal Corporation and Mullewa District High School, as well as promoting the program at the Rangeway Primary School, Bluff Point Primary School and Allendale Primary School. Previous participants were invited back, and carers with the Department for Child Protection were also invited to bring their children along.

Program manager Hovea Winston says there were up to 15 participants swimming laps each week at both the Mullewa Swimming Pool and Geraldton Aquarena. “When they reach lap number achievements, they get an incentivised reward. For example, for swimming 50 laps of the 22m pool they receive a pair of goggles. They enjoy the program because they get to participate in something fun with their friends.” says Hovea. 

The Geraldton program is run as a multi-stage Swim and Survive program over five weeks, with children aged 6 to 14 invited to participate in the lessons. There are two instructors present to oversee the safety of the participants and run the swimming lessons to improve each child’s ability.

The mother of an 11-year-old indigenous participant praised the program for teaching her daughter how to swim, and for giving her the confidence to swim in deep water. “Without these lessons she would still not be a very good swimmer,” said the girl’s mother. The family are planning to hire the Aquarena’s ‘BIFF’ (party inflatable) for the girl’s next birthday, knowing that she is now able to play around the water with confidence.

Research has found that the drowning rate among aboriginal Australians is three times higher than other Australian children in the 0-14 year age group, and is the second most common cause of injury and death. 

Royal Life Saving WA is working to encourage participation in various programs promoting swimming and water safety skills in remote indigenous communities. You can read more about these programs via the link below.