Culturally diverse program highlights benefits of learning to swim

Seventeen cultures were represented in the swimming program at Mirrabooka Senior High School.
Seventeen cultures were represented in the swimming program at Mirrabooka Senior High School.

MORE than 100 children representing 17 cultures across Perth made a splash at Mirrabooka Senior High School to highlight the benefits of a swimming program.

The Swim and Survive Access and Equity program by Royal Life Saving Society WA (RLSSWA) is for children from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds and was held for a term at the school, in which 20 girls from Years 7-10 participated for eight weeks.

Recent data from RLSSWA showed a 30 per cent increase in non-fatal drowning incidents involving WA children throughout the last 10 years, with 22 per cent of those coming from CaLD backgrounds.

Principal Wayne Austin said his was the first public high school to host the program on campus, where the pool was blocked from the view of male students.

“This is extremely important as the Muslim female students wouldn’t be able to participate in swimming lessons otherwise due to the fact that males cannot see them while they aren’t wearing hijabs,” he said.

“The classes have enabled students to be given the best opportunities to learn basic swimming and water safety skills, as well as raise the importance of water awareness.”

He said he had already seen improvements in the students’ swimming skills.

“The improvement I’ve seen in the girls’ swimming has been exceptional,” he said.

“The water safety and swimming skills they have learnt is highly important especially in WA where we are constantly partaking in water based activities.”

He said he envisaged the class continuing with more students using it.