Wiluna swims the distance to earn a healthy reward

20 April 2022

Royal Life Saving WA has completed another successful season of the Go for 2&5 Swim for Fruit program in the small town of Wiluna located in the Mid West region. 

Local children have taken part in swimming laps during January and February of this year at the Wiluna Community Pool, with the incentive of a healthy afternoon tea attracting many students down to the pool. Students flocked to the pool on program days to participate in aquatic activities such as water polo, pool lifesaving and swimming, with children ranging in age from 5 to 16 years.

“9.8 years old being the average age of a participants for the program,” said Taj Allinson, who assisted Pool Manager Kane Dunkley-Cooper in running the Wiluna Swim for Fruit program. “The program was quite rewarding as it promotes healthy eating whilst developing stroke proficiency and fitness.”

Thanks to the funding of major supporter Healthway and Community Principle Sponsor BHP, Royal Life Saving WA has been able to deliver the Swim for Fruit program in various regional communities across the state after school and on weekends. The program expands on the school-based Swim and Survive program, and aims to provide accessible swimming lessons and water safety education to children whilst also encouraging a healthy lifestyle through the incentive of fruit. 

Taj found that the incentive of earning more fruit prompted students to swim a larger cumulative distance over the course of the program. “Cumulatively we reached a total of 24.45 kilometres over the course of the entire program, on one day having six kids swim 700 metres each!”

Remote Pool programs such as Swim for Fruit provide many health and social benefits for Aboriginal Australians who experience higher disease rates and are 3.6 times more likely to drown than non-Aboriginal Australians. Since pools have opened in remote communities, there has been a reduction in the incidence of skin sores and ear infections among children, as well as reduced drowning mortality rates thanks to an increase in swimming proficiency. 

The Go for 2&5 Swim for Fruit program continues to be a success for regional communities, with the program continuing to expand into new remote towns. With the high engagement rates of the 2022 summer season, we can’t wait to see what distance the students of Wiluna get to next season!

Follow the link below to find out more information about the Swim for Fruit program. 

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