For Swim Rotorua and the Rotorua Lakes Swim School, working together is the best way to provide the right pathways for young swimmers.

Swim Rotorua head coach Alastair Johnson said the organisations, who were both based at and supported by the Rotorua Aquatic Centre, had been working together for about a year to provide more opportunities for the community.

"We are very excited that we now have a clearly defined pathway to help all swimmers achieve their swimming goals - be it learning to swim, water safety, swimming for fun and fitness, or competitive swimming," Johnson said.

The "From Babies to AquaBlacks" pathway the organisations have come up with allows them to jointly provide a "transition class" aimed at bridging the gap between swim school and more advanced swimming.


"In the swim school you've basically got babies, toddlers and school children who work their way from level one to level six. It's stage seven that is a joint delivery.

"We've been doing it since term four last year and it's been successful, now we want to share with everybody the success and firm up the pathway."

He said the partnership had a number of benefits.

"It will help more kids swim more often, we're not going to miss out kids. [In the past] there was always that danger that kids will slip through the net because we all assume somebody else will catch them."

The organisations have also worked together to introduce a "Making the Difference" swimming programme.

Johnson said the programme was aimed at getting school children, who may not otherwise be able to, into swimming lessons.

"Often it's a lower cost and tailored to each particular school and what they need. That includes things like teacher training and going out to schools if they have a pool.

"The partnership provides for a collaboration of the different skill-sets the different organisations have. That expertise means the school teachers and children are getting a more enhanced delivery."

Swim school teacher and Swim Rotorua junior academy head coach Tara Watt said the "Making the Difference" programme had been well received so far.

"We had four schools last term and another six schools this term. [The feedback] has been good, the teachers are happy and the parents are happy," she said.

Johnson said learning to swim was "super important".

"It's a life skill and it's a foundation activity for lots of other sports in and around water - water polo, underwater hockey, surf, kayaking, competitive swimming."

Rotorua Aquatic Centre service manager Noel Gulliver said learning to swim was especially important for locals given Rotorua's geographic location.

"You've got lakes and rivers everywhere that the kids enjoy, we're a short drive over to the beach as well. For Rotorua the importance is huge and we'd love every kid, by the time they got to high school, to be able to swim 100m competently.

"From a council perspective, the programme allows us to reach more schools and students, especially the ones who have the barriers of cost in the way to access swimming," he said.