Renee Gardner of year 2 at St Thomas Aquinas Primary
OLYMPIC swimmer Alicia Coutts has been in Canberra to help launch this year’s ACT Primary Schools’ Swim and Survive program, run by the Royal Life Saving and sponsored by the Canberra Labor Club.
Last year the program helped 6000 students and this year it’s targeting 9000 students from around 50 primary schools.
The support of the Canberra Labor Club, which has been a major contributor to Royal Life Saving for six consecutive years with donations totalling $250,000, coupled with support from the ACT Government, has enabled Royal Life Saving to dramatically expand the ACT Primary Schools’ Swim and Survive program.
President of the Canberra Labor Club, Tony Luchetti, says: “This is about ensuring children have the skills they need to be strong, confident swimmers. More importantly, it’s about offering this vital life skill to children who may not otherwise have the chance to learn.
“We want to play our part in making sure the ACT has zero drowning this year and beyond. One life lost is one life too many.”
Cherry O’Connor, executive director for Royal Life Saving in the ACT, says there are too many children leaving school with poor swimming skills and says it’s vital every child has strong swimming skills.
“We want to see learning to swim become part of the school curriculum. It is vital that we continue to encourage principals and parents to provide the opportunity to learn to swim and survive in the water to every school student in Canberra.”
“Cultural and linguistically diverse and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups have been identified by the Australian Water Safety Council as communities at increased risk of drowning. We want to do more for everybody in the ACT and we are focused on stopping drownings and seeing an end to tragedies.”