Swim­ming skills cru­cial

Kaikoura Star - - NEWS -

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.

Photo: EMMA DANGER­FIELD

Swim­ming sib­lings: Pippa Ford, left, helps younger sis­ter An­nie feel at ease in the water.

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