Port Hedland women beat the heat while learning to Swim and Survive

11 March 2019

With temperatures hitting 45 degrees in Port Hedland on Sunday, the women taking part in our current Women’s Only swimming lessons in the town were definitely at the best place to be as they enjoyed their lessons at the South Hedland Aquatic Centre.

There are seven women taking part in the lessons this term, and in their first five weeks they have developed their skills from beginner Level One, to Level Three and are now able to confidently swim five metres of freestyle and float on their front and back.

Royal Life Saving Pilbara Development Officer Jacqui Forbes says she’s constantly amazed by the women attending these classes. “It is very inspiring to watch the group progress - they have a lot of fun and laughs and the instructors make sure that there is a good balance of swim and water safety skills. On Sunday they all had a relaxation session to finish - laying across noddles on their back with eyes closed - that just shows how far they have come!”

“I fully credit the success of the program to our Instructors Justine Esmonde, Nicolette Simic and our Men’s program Instructor Lourens Viljoen who takes a similar Men’s Only class on Wednesday nights. The instructors also get a great sense of satisfaction from taking these class members to the stage where they now feel safe and can confidently take their own children swimming.”

Statistics from a national report on drowning show that 347 people drowned in WA between 2005/06 and 2015/16, of which almost 40% were born overseas - the largest proportion of any state or territory. In many countries swimming and water safety education is not seen as a priority and is simply not accessible. Many migrants come to Australia unaware of drowning risks and don’t have the same level of experience when it comes to water safety that those born in Western Australia often take for granted.

Royal Life Saving WA is working hard to ensure all Western Australians have access to vital swimming and water safety education, and these men’s and women’s only multicultural swimming programs are an important part of this. The lessons are part of our Swim and Survive Access and Equity program, which is supported by principal community partner BHP and the Town of Port Hedland.

Two further programs are planned for South Hedland Aquatic Centre next term, one for new swimmers and an extension program for those who’ve taken part in Term 4 last year and Term 1 this year.
Those interested in taking part can find out more at the link below.

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