A GROUP of 58 Cannington swimmers from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds are bucking a worrying statistic that found the demographic represented 37 per cent of all drowning deaths.
A Royal Life Saving Society WA review into drowning data between 2010-15 found 50 people from the CaLD community drowned.
The society found the CaLD overrepresentation contributed to “alarmingly low” participation levels in swimming and water safety programs.
As a result the Society have placed a strong focus on fast tracking engagement with Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian and African communities by providing strong leadership and collaborating with government and non-government organisations to enact change.
This term 58 swimmers undertook classes at the Cannington Leisureplex, including women only, infant and men’s only classes.
Many of the women involved have also been able to complete the Heart Beat Club program, which teaches basic first aid and CPR skills to assist them in caring for their children.
One former participant, Titisari Titisari, continued to become a qualified swimming instructor, teaching infant aquatics classes at Cannington Leisureplex.
Ms Titisari said the women’s only lessons made it easy to learn to swim.
“The lessons were great because they not only taught me how to swim safely and the correct stroke but it also provided me with things I needed to make it possible, like creche for my children, and advice on the safest and most appropriate clothing for Muslim women like myself to wear in the pool,” she said.
Royal Life Saving Society WA recently completed the development of a Swim Wear Guide, advising CaLD women about the options available to them as we seek to address cultural requirements.
The guide explains the suitability of the different swimwear options in a variety of swimming environments to ensure the women are aware of the risks associated with some of the more modest options.
Cannington Leisureplex is currently holding men’s swimming lessons from 6.30pm-7.30pm on Thursday November 24 and December 1, 8 and 15.