Swim safe seen as im­por­tant mes­sage

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By ABBY BROWN

Olympic swimmer Matthew Stan­ley spends a lot of time in the swimming pool, but last week he got into the Mata­mata pool not to train but to en­cour­age pri­mary school aged chil­dren to learn to swim safe.

The 22-year-old found time in his train­ing sched­ule to fit in get­ting in­volved in the Swim Safe course, as he be­lieved learn­ing to swim was an ex­tremely im­por­tant skill for young chil­dren to learn.

In fact he used to coach Mata­mata chil­dren on how to swim safe.

‘‘I’m spend­ing time in Mata­mata over Christ­mas be­fore my build up to the Worlds com­pe­ti­tion re­ally kicks up a gear in Jan­uary, so I thought I’d come help out,’’ he said.

He spent time chat­ting with the chil­dren and do­ing a few laps with them.

The Stan­ley Swim Safe Pro­gramme aims to teach chil­dren aged be­tween 5 and 13 how to swim and keep safe in the wa­ter.

Classes are taught twice a week and are taken by fully qual­i­fied Swimming New Zealand in­struc­tors.

Ac­cord­ing to Wa­ter Safety New Zealand, an av­er­age of 105 New Zealan­ders have drowned ev­ery year since 2006.

The Stan­ley fam­ily have been long term sup­port­ers of swim- ming. Stan­ley Con­struc­tion company di­rec­tor Don Stan­ley was di­rec­tor of swimming for the 1990 Com­mon­wealth Games and was awarded an OBE in 1991 for his ser­vices to swimming and lo­cal gov­ern­ment. Don’s grand­son, Matthew Stan­ley, com­peted at the re­cent Com­mon­wealth Games. He plans to com­pete at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

If you are in­ter­ested in reg­is­ter­ing a child for Swim Safe, con­tact Kazuko Tap­per on 888 9192.

Photo: TERESA HAT­TAN

STAR SWIMMER: Olympic swimmer Matthew Stan­ley with Mata­mata chil­dren who are learn­ing to swim safe.

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