Swim pro­gramme makes progress

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By DANIEL WHIT­FIELD

Philip Wag­gott has to ad­mit that when he started at Can­nons Creek Pool, the learn to swim pro­gramme had a way to go.

For the past two years he made it his goal to see the pool used to teach peo­ple how to swim.

‘‘It has been about im­prov­ing the pro­gramme and find­ing where we fit into the com­mu­nity,’’ Wag­gott said.

As as­sis­tant manager for Dash Swim School, Wag­gott be­lieves the learn to swim and wa­ter safety pro­grammes at Can­nons Creek were unique in this coun­try.

‘‘First we teach chil­dren how to sur­vive, then we teach them how to swim.’’

New Zealand is said to have one of the high­est drown­ing rates in the world, and about 80 per cent of the coun­try’s 14-year-olds can­not swim.

His pri­or­ity was to teach chil­dren vi­tal skills in the wa­ter that could one day save their lives.

‘‘The pro­gramme is a fan­tas­tic prod­uct and our team are all qual­i­fied in­struc­tors. It’s a ben­e­fit to the com­mu­nity hav­ing some­thing like this.’’

There are pro­grammes for chil­dren aged from four months to three years, an­other for preschool­ers, and one specif­i­cally for school­child­ren over five.

‘‘Wa­ter safety has be­come a lot more im­por­tant over the years, and it’s what the par­ents want.’’

Dash Swim School holds two wa­ter safety weeks dur­ing the year. They in­tro­duce chil­dren to the risks as­so­ci­ated with be­ing around wa­ter.

Though it is a fun and safe­ty­con­scious ac­tiv­ity, Wag­gott said it was about in­tro­duc­ing panic in a con­trolled en­vi­ron­ment and teach­ing chil­dren what to do if they found them­selves in dan­ger.

One of the fea­tures unique to the wa­ter safety week is the cur­rents cre­ated with high pres­sure hoses, to show chil­dren what it is like to be caught in a rip.

‘‘It’s like a real-life sit­u­a­tion that they learn to deal with,’’ he said.

Last year the school grew by 100 par­tic­i­pants and Wag­gott wants that trend to con­tinue.

Along with mak­ing sure more chil­dren can swim, Wag­gott has been given a chance to dis­cuss the city coun­cil’s ap­proach to wa­ter safety with a na­tional wa­ter safety board.

A $ 585,000 up­grade gave Can­nons Creek Pool a new lease on life ear­lier this year.

It in­cluded re­fur­bished chang­ing rooms, new win­dows and frames, freshly re­paired tiles and a new roof.

Photo: DANIEL WHIT­FIELD

Philip Wag­gott be­lieves the learn to swim and wa­ter safety pro­grammes at Can­nons Creek are unique in New Zealand.

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