Swimming skills crucial
For many years now, Marlene Ingram has been the face of swimming lessons for children in Kaikoura. She has shown a vast number of novice swimmers the ropes, and each year she is thrilled to see the progress they are making.
This summer’s classes are no exception – Marlene has more than 30 children aged 3 and upwards in her classes, which she runs daily for two weeks over summer, from 2pm till 4pm. Children are split into age groups and the lessons are often a child’s first real experience of being in a swimming pool.
With funding from the council’s Community Initiative scheme, the lessons are subsidised and only cost $2 for a half-hour session.
Marlene says the importance of learning to swim at an early age cannot be underestimated – with a significant number of deaths from drowning each year around New Zealand’s beaches and waterways, it is imperative that children learn these vital skills in order to keep themselves safe around water.
For some of this year’s students, this was the first time they had been back in the water since last year’s lessons, but Marlene said once they got over their initial hesitancy, she was amazed at the progress they had made. Many were still confident enough to put their heads under the water, and this confidence would see them grow into proficient swimmers.
Swimming siblings: Pippa Ford, left, helps younger sister Annie feel at ease in the water.