School Swimming Carnivals
Is your child’s school swimming carnival coming up soon? I remember my school carnival days very fondly, so I was very surprised when attending my own children’s swimming carnivals to see how participation rates have declined over the years – in my day, most children were able to swim 50 metres and were eager to race. However recently the majority of children seem only confident to compete in the novelty races. What’s changed?
A recent report by the Royal Life Saving Society showed that three out of four children had quit swimming classes by age eight, long before they’d reached national safety and swimming benchmarks. Because children were leaving lessons too soon, 83 per cent of 12-year-old children couldn’t tread water for two minutes – the goal for children by the time they finish primary school – 40 per cent couldn’t swim 50 metres of freestyle or backstroke, and one third couldn’t swim 25 metres of survival strokes.
In a country surrounded by water, with a lifestyle largely defined by water, this represents a dangerous decline in swimming skills. We understand that there are a multitude of choices of sporting and after school activities for children nowadays – but swimming education has to be non negotiable until children are fully competent in the water and meeting their swimming milestones, for safety’s sake. Whilst swimming carnivals are great fun, water and sun safety basics should be adhered to. Sunscreen is not optional and needs to be reapplied several times throughout the day. A broad rimmed hat, polo shirt and zinc in their house colour is ideal for further sun protection. Food, lots of water, and 2 towels (1 to use and 1 to sit on) are always handy, as is a waterproof bag to bring everything home. Always follow the instructions of the race official, and only enter the water when instructed to do so. And remember, hair sprayed in house colour/s may look great, but you probably won’t be allowed in the pool! Encourage your child to take the plunge – a high student participation rate makes for a fun and exciting day for all!
Good luck to all and race well, and if your children are not yet in swimming lessons, make this your year to start their swimming journey! If your child loves to race, why not consider joining a swim club? The Nepean Aquatic Centre Swim Club welcomes all members, and is a great place to encourage your young swimmers competitive side in a friendly and nurturing environment! www.nepeanaquaticcentreswimclub.com/