Mitch Burdan

Central Aquatic - Swim & Survive on the Swan

After starting his lifeguarding journey at just 12 years of age Mitch Burdan is almost a veteran in the profession at 21. He started in the lifesaving program at Central Aquatic 9 years ago, and has since developed his skills through Royal Life Saving WA’s swimming instructors and Pool Lifeguard courses, to the point where he’s now employed as the Lifesaving Program Coordinator at Central.

Last year Mitch played a key role in conducting the first ever Swim & Survive on the Swan program for Royal Life Saving Society WA. “Royals knew that we would definitely be interested in getting our kids at Central Aquatic to do things that are a little bit out of the ordinary. Once they approached me about having the kids do a series of lessons in the Swan River we jumped straight on the idea! It’s an awesome experience to get the kids out of just the pool environment and teach them somewhere else. It was also a really great opportunity for me and the other trainers to have the experience of coaching and instructing in a different location; going into the unknown and doing something that’s not our day to day skills.”

With the Swan River recently named as the 4th most dangerous location for drowning across Australia, Swim and Survive on the Swan was a great opportunity to help the children become more aware of the dangers that are apparent in the river. Mitch says it was a huge success;

“On our first day a lot of the children were timid, the water was a bit murky, it was all a bit scary, but by the last session it was hard to keep them out of the water. They were swimming out past the jetties, they were performing proper rescues out in the river and they couldn’t get enough of it.”

Mitch is sure the program has been a key developmental tool. “The kids really got to develop some skills that aren’t just text book in my opinion. The kids could perform a lot of rescues in a pool, but this really put them in the deep end and showed them how lifesaving isn’t actually just a textbook skill, it’s something that we can do anywhere.”

He hopes the Swim and Survive on the Swan program develops and is open to more people this year.

“I think it was awesome, I’d love to get more people involved, do some training with others clubs, yacht clubs, anything like that. Kids, adults, anyone would enjoy it. The river’s such a common place for us to go, but it is such a different environment to the pool, and we should all endeavor to enhance our skills. If everyone was a lifesaver we wouldn’t have the drowning stats we have.”

image of Mitch Burdan standing by the pool at Central Aquatic