Local children dive into learn-to-swim

By Kyra Dawson

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Gemma Anderson is excited to share swimming skills. Photo / Andrew Warner
Gemma Anderson is excited to share swimming skills. Photo / Andrew Warner

Children are still busy learning these holidays - not how to read or write, but how to swim.

The Aquatic Centre's Rotorua Lakes Swim School is running learn-to-swim and water safety programmes for children during the summer holidays.

Rotorua mother of four, Jade Eaves, said she wanted her kids, aged 5 through to 11, to be safe in the water so she enrolled them in the programme.

"I wanted them to be more confident in the water and to have basic knowledge and skills around water. It's important for their safety."

Rotorua Lakes Swim School manager Megan Douglas said the lessons were there to help kids gain skills and confidence.

"With the drowning toll we have this season already, it's certain that there is not enough knowledge out there and the kids aren't as capable as they think they are. Kids think they can swim when they can't, parents think they can swim when they possibly can't even do 10 metres. It's hugely important that everyone learns, especially because of where we live."

She said the school also ran adult lessons during the term.

"The adult interest we have at the moment is huge so that's really reassuring. We have had lots of immigrants coming in that need to learn to swim and they are really keen so that's awesome."

Swim instructor Gemma Anderson said she loved teaching and seeing her pupils progress.

"Our drowning rate here in the Bay of Plenty is really really high, we get a lot of kids that don't know how to swim but are still confident enough to jump in the deep water and that's where we have issues.

"For me it's just about keeping kids safe and making sure that, not just my own nephews, but that people around town all know how to swim and they all know how to be safe in the water.

The swimming lessons will run over the next two weeks for pre-school and school-aged children.

The Aquatic Centre will also run a Unison Water Safety programme in the week beginning January 25.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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