Children showcase swimming and lifesaving skills

10 November 2015

100 Aboriginal children from Tom Price, Marble Bar, Yandeyarra and South Hedland have showcased their swimming and lifesaving skills today, at the Spirit Carnival at South Hedland Aquatic Centre.

The event was jointly organized by Royal Life Saving Society WA, Swimming WA and the YMCA.

The children collectively travelled more than 700 kilometres to attend the carnival, and took part in swimming races, traditional boat races and lifesaving activities. They were also treated to a special BBQ lunch.

Recent data revealed that children in regional and remote areas of WA are 5 times more likely to drown that those in the Perth metro area. Between 2003 and 2013 28 per cent of drowning deaths in 5-14 year age group involved Aboriginal children.

The Royal Life Saving Society WA and Swimming WA are keen to address these statistics, by focusing attention on swimming and lifesaving programs for children in regional and remote areas, with a special focus on remote aboriginal communities.

Swimming WA Chief Executive Officer Darren Beazley says community programmes like the Spirit Carnival are integral in providing every Western Australian with the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of swimming.

"Our aim is to ensure every Western Australian has the opportunity to learn to swim, the opportunity to join a swimming club and the opportunity to take part in fun, accessible events that cater to a range of skills, no matter where they live," Mr Beazley said.

Royal Life Saving Society WA's Senior Manager Swimming and Water Safety Education, Trent Hotchkin says the children involved in this carnival will make a real difference in the future of their communities.

"Our desire is to see these children lead a generational change in their communities, learning skills to become the future lifesavers in remote and regional WA, and encouraging all community members to develop lifesaving swimming skills."