Newman children gain swimming skills for life

11 May 2021

Children in the Pilbara town of Newman have recently been enjoying two special swimming programs at Newman Aquatic Centre.

Over 300 participations were recorded in a Swim for Fruit program during Term 4 of 2020 and Term 1 this year. Mel Warren, Coordinator Aquatic Services at the Shire of East Pilbara, says the program has been running at Newman Aquatic Centre and Marble Bar Swimming Pool, both of which she looks after.

“Woolworths kindly donates all the fruit for the program, which runs at both pools on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons,” said Mel. The program encourages children to swim a requisite number of laps to earn themselves a healthy afternoon tea of fresh fruit. Swim for Fruit is managed by Royal Life Saving WA and supported by Healthway as part of the Go for 2&5 healthy eating initiative.

Students from the Martu Education Centre (MEC) have also been enjoying Swim and Survive lessons at Newman Aquatic Centre thanks to the Royal Life Saving Swim and Survive Access and Equity program, which is supported by Principal Community Partner BHP. The MEC is an initiative of the Polly Farmer Foundation and is also supported by BHP. The centre provides a range of educational activities for Martu students in Years 1-6 who attend South Newman or Newman Primary Schools.

Ginny McMaster, MEC Program Coordinator and teacher at South Newman Primary School, said one of the students earned a place in the Newman Interschool Swimming Carnival after finishing second in her breaststroke event. “You should have seen how proud she was! This success highlights the value of children accessing swimming programs consistently so that swimming skills are embedded.”

Swimming programs are vital in regional and remote areas, particularly in Indigenous communities. Royal Life Saving WA data shows that Aboriginal children are 14 times more likely to be involved in a fatal drowning incident than non-Aboriginal children in our state. Learn more about how Royal Life Saving WA and our community partners are working to turn these statistics around in regional and remote communities at the link below. 

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