HELP NEEDED: Kids being helped across the pool during last year's Multisports triathlon.

Kids are just not learning how to swim, a Carterton councillor says.

Speaking at yesterday's district council meeting, councillor Greg Lang said he had been told by organisers at the Wairarapa Multisports Club Kids Triathlon that the standard of swimming at this week's event was "appalling".

"The kids are just not learning to swim -- whether that's through the school or whatever it is," Mr Lang said.

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At the triathalon many of the children had to be helped by lifeguards during the swimming event, he said.

"Kids just don't know how to swim and the schools don't have the time by the sounds of it and lessons are expensive."

Mr Lang said an organiser at the triathalon had written to Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott and wondered if council would like to express their support.

Deputy mayor Elaine Brazendale suggested council check with Carterton schools to see what lessons were being offered.

"It would be worthwhile us finding out from the schools and finding out if there is a gap and if we've got really good people with skills and community members we could support a programme or something."

Mayor John Booth suggested he and Mrs Brazendale visited the schools to discuss their swimming programmes.

Councillor Jill Greathead said times had changed since she was younger and everyone learnt how to swim.

"It would be really neat to see that -- we want all our kids to go out leaving school knowing how to swim."

Mr Booth said "it's something that we as a community can get fired up on".

It was decided a working group would look into the issue and report back to council.