Listen: CEO of Swim Australia Brendon Ward is encouraging families to take up lessons and make sure they're beach ready this summer
As the weather heats up it’s only right we start thinking about our next visit to the beach and how often we can visit the local pool. Although, new research suggests a lot of Australian kids aren’t ready to enjoy the water safely – with a number of families opting out of swimming lessons.
During SwimSAFER Week, CEO of Swim Australia Brendon Ward is encouraging families to take up lessons, telling Hope 103.2, “Australians are not prioritising ‘Learn to Swim'”.
“We found 55 per cent of children are not getting lessons, and 48 per cent of families are saying they have no intention of putting their kids in lessons over the next 12 months, and that’s really concerning for us,” he said.
“We’re worried we might see a generation of kids that can’t swim as they get older, and we consider swimming a core life skill that people learn particularly during their formative school years.”
Thinking about why enrolments in swimming schools have dropped off, Brendon said is has partly been due to the pandemic.
“Obviously, the lockdown has interrupted the practice of learning to swim… and we also found there are some financial implications, and people are not able to afford to the lessons.”
During a swimming lesson kids learn a number of the skills needed to swim safely, which – depending on the age of the child – Brendon said includes “everything from entering and exiting the water through to floating, confidence to put your head under water, not panicking if you fall into the water accidentally”.
“And then the more proficient someone becomes, then we’d start to work on things like technique. But basically it’s being able to keep your head above water and doing that float,” he said.
For more tips and advice listen to Brendon Ward’s full chat with Laura in the player above.