Tomorrow's stars take their first strokes

By Alanah Eriksen, Alanah May Eriksen

While Moss Burmester and Michael Phelps set records in Beijing, South Auckland kids are also swimming up a storm.

And they're being spurred on by another Olympic great, John Walker.

The man who won gold for the 1500m at the 1976 Montreal Games was at the Manurewa Aquatic Centre yesterday encouraging 7- and 8-year-olds from Everglade Primary School who were learning to swim.

The lessons, run by Manukau Leisure Services, are an initiative of Walker's Find Your Field of Dreams Foundation swim programme, which offers free swimming lessons to Year 3 children living in Manukau.

Walker, a Manukau City councillor, launched the foundation in May with the idea to get youngsters off the streets and on to a sports field, court, track or into a pool.

Everglade is one of 14 schools signed up for the swim programme which offers seven free lessons.

Manukau Leisure Services offers its pools, transport and instructors at no charge. For schools that have their own pools, Manukau Leisure's staff assists them with programmes.

- NZ Herald

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