Swimming lessons need to be non-negotiable

Two weeks ago we found ourselves on Channel Ten news, speaking about the importance of water safety and drawing attention to concerning new research revealing that over half of Aussie kids don’t attend swimming lessons and 41% have no intention of starting lessons.

The media interest followed an awful weekend that saw three people in NSW drown, including a local child. Tragically this week another NSW family suffered the tragic loss of 41 year old father Stephen Mote, who drowned trying to save his son and niece from a dangerous rip at a beach near Wollongong.

The Swim Safer Report conducted by Swim Australia revealed that a third (30%) of Australian families admitted to experiencing a water related emergency such as a near drowning experience, and one-in-three (34%) parents were not confident their child could get themselves out of trouble in a water safety emergency. More than half (59%) of Aussie parents admitting they had only had basic or deficient swimming skills themselves.

Swim Australia CEO, Brendon Ward urged parents to prioritise swimming as a skill every child needs. “It is vital for parents in Australia to ensure their children have the appropriate knowledge and confidence to be safe around water and be equipped with the skills to help them in an emergency,” he said. “So much of our Australian culture involves the water. Despite this, more than half (52%) of Aussie children do not attend swimming lessons because their parents don’t have time or cannot afford it. Yet one in two children (53%) still attend another activity or sport like football or dancing. All physical activity is important, but we want parents to view swimming as a non-negotiable skill their child must learn, especially if they are under five. It’s a matter of safety.”

Former World Champion and Australian swimmer, Jade Edmistone is passionate about teaching children to swim and says it is critical that parents enrol their children in swimming lessons from a young age. “With backyard pools the number one site of drownings in children under five, it is never too early for parents to invest in swimming lessons – they need to become a non-negotiable activity in every home across Australia,” Jade said.

There are several ways to make swimming lessons more affordable including the NSW Government’s 2 x $100 Active Kids Vouchers each year, multiple lesson discounts, sibling discounts, and our intensive program which offers $8 lessons this January (and a chance to fast track swimming skills). We also offer Gift Vouchers, which are an easy and hassle free way to digitally gift swimming lessons for birthdays and Christmas, and represent a meaningful Gift for Life. Contact me directly to arrange a gift voucher or suggest to grandparents or family here or even overseas – julie@nepeanswim.com.au