Members of the Tuggeranong Vikings Masters Swimming Club fully support the proposal by the Royal Life Saving Society for swimming to be a mandatory part of the primary school curriculum in the ACT. In its 2012 National Drowning Report, the Royal Lifesaving Society has identified that there has been a 25% increase in the 5-year average of drowning deaths in people aged between the ages of 15-24 years.
This has prompted the Australian Water Safety Council to prioritise programs to increase swimming and lifesaving skills in Australian youth, as well as calling for a focus on preventing risk taking behaviours including the consumption of alcohol whilst boating, fishing and swimming
Royal Life Saving has also highlighted research showing that many children are leaving primary school without being able to swim 50 metres or float for 2 minutes; skills Royal Life Saving describes as a basic right of every child living in Australia and mandatory if we are to halve drowning incidents by 2020.
Tuggeranong Masters Swimming Club strongly agrees that swimming education is a basic right of every child in Australia even if the level of education is enough for young people to save themselves if they ever find themselves in a dangerous situation.
However we stress that it continues to be up to parents to very closely supervise children in younger age brackets. Water, whether it is in a bathtub, the ocean, farm dam, swimming pool or anywhere else is deadly to unsupervised children.
In addition, Royal Lifesaving says that people aged 55 and over are now the biggest single age bracket for drowning deaths representing 34% of all drowning deaths nationwide.
Tuggeranong Maters believe that swimming is a skill for life. We have several swimmers in our club that were swimmers or learnt basic swimming skills when they were young and gave it away for a time and then came back to swimming at a significantly later date, regularly training with the club or competing on a state, national or international level in Masters Swimming.
Royal Life Saving says it is vital people aged 55 plus gets a medical check before participating in aquatic activities and update their water safety skills through a Grey Medallion course.
The Australian Federal Government, State and Territory and Governments across Australia all play an important and valuable role in supporting swimming and water safety. Australian Water Safety Council member organisations such as AUSTSWIM and Surf Life Saving Australia also play a role.
Masters Swimming is an Australia wide, nonprofit organisation for adult swimmers, with the aim to promote swimming and fitness for those 18 years and above, regardless of ability.
To find out more about Masters Swimming in ACT, just search ‘Tuggeranong Masters Swimming’ in your favourite search engine.