20 Sep 2013
Tweed Heads South Public School students have taken part in the new School Swimming and Water Safety Program (SSWSP) over the past fortnight at the Tweed South Indoor Pool.
The innovative program, funded by the Department of Education and Communities, targets struggling swimmers in a 2 week intensive program that sees students being instructed by accredited trainers on a daily basis.
284 people drowned in Australia in 2011/1012, many of these drowings were children aged between 0-15. These statistics do not sit well with our school and the SSWSP presented an excellent opportunity to educate our students on water safety and equip them with the skills to survive in aquatic environments.
The group of 46 students were assessed on Day 1 of the program and grouped according to their swimming ability. Students enjoyed practising a range of challenges in their groups, working towards the ultimate goal of being able to swim 50 metres and survive in the water for extended periods of time. "The program's structure closely follows the programs we implement in the classroom on a daily basis. Students are assessed and then placed in groups so that their individual needs can be catered for." explained Sandy O'Farrell, a supervising teacher.
Moosa, a Tweed Heads South Public School student, is a fine example of how the program is changing students' lives. On Day 1, Moosa stood terrified at the edge of a pool and would not enter a waist high pool. By Day 3, Moosa was swimming unassisted with his peers in the adult pool.
Jacob is another success story of the program, making huge gains throughout the first week. While he could swim short distances and stay afloat at the beginning of the program, Jacob was swimming laps of the pool, both freestyle and backstroke by Week 2. "I love coming down to the pool every day for swimming training, I am one of my group's leaders." said Jacob after Week 1 of the program.
"The intensive format is by far the most effective form of swimming training that a child can have, particularly for those that are in the early phases of learning to swim." said Ellen Sherwood, the Learn To Swim Coordinator at South Tweed Swimming Pool. "The children make such huge gains when they come every day over a two week period."
"It's so rewarding to see students progressing at both ends of the swimming spectrum. We've got total non-swimmers who were terrified of ankle-deep water now swimming confidently and we've got students who avoided the pool at all costs who are now excited to swim and can't wait to conquer deeper water." said Mr Chalmers the program coordinator.