PLACES are still available for swimming lessons, and parents are being encouraged to sign their children up after drowning rates remained stubbornly high last year.
Swimming skills are as important as ever, Portland Leisure and Aquatic Centre (PLACE) manager Kerri Jennings said.
“While there was a 23% reduction in drowning deaths compared to the 10-year average (as revealed by Life Saving Victoria last month), these figures need to be taken into context with the year we have had with a global coronavirus pandemic and people not being able to swim in their local pools,” Ms Jennings said.
“Swimming is a skill that children will have for the rest of their lives. It is so important for children to learn to swim and to have a safe and enjoyable swim lesson every time they attend the pool.”
A week-long daily program of VicSwim lessons was offered at PLACE this week, and a new week of lessons is starting next week with some places still available for new students to join in.
In addition, students may also be able to find a place at a Heywood or Casterton class next week.
VicSwim lessons are substantially funded by the state government, so are priced to be affordable.
Then from January 18 the Y Swim Lesson program returns to Portland for its annual 44-week program of weekly lessons for children.
Rhiannon Mott is pleased she took the plunge for the sake of her daughter Amelia Carlyon, 4.
Amelia took classes when she was a baby, however became scared by water at the beach and pool as she grew older.
On Monday she was “petrified” of the water but managed to begin the lesson with the help of experienced teacher Claire Ward and her “shadow teacher,” trainee Mackenna Huf.
By Wednesday Amelia was happy to put her head underwater and even swim under the lane ropes of the small children’s pool.
“I think a big part of it was the encouragement of the teachers and their one-on-one effort,” Ms Mott said.
Amelia’s favourite part of the lesson was laying on top of a large mat that floats however sometimes becomes partially submerged when children are on top of it.
Amelia’s classmate Benji Ruddick, also 4, was enjoying his first-ever swimming lessons last week while Nash Cummins participated in VicSwim and is also registered for PLACE’s ongoing swimming lessons, which return from January 18.
For more information about local pools and the annual weekly lesson program at PLACE, go to glenelg.vic.gov.au/Swimming_Pools.
People interested in VicSwim lessons can go to vicswim.com.au or phone 9271 3800.