Free lessons spark love of swimming
Kairyn Andrews loves to swim.
So the 8-year-old was "very excited" when he was crowned with a gold swim cap, recognising him as the 500,000th recipient of a John Walker Find Your Field of Dreams Foundation free swimming lessons.
The Point View School student joined fellow classmates, Auckland mayor Len Brown and Sir John Walker to celebrate the "momentous" occasion at Lloyd Elsmore Park Pool and Leisure Centre in Pakuranga on Wednesday.
Kairyn's mother Crissina Toia says the 8-year-old wouldn't have discovered his love of swimming if it wasn't for the free lessons.
"Swimming is one of his passions. He keeps asking me to do more swimming lessons. This has been a good base for him to build up and learn to swim," she says.
The John Walker Find Your Field of Dreams Foundation is a charitable trust set up in 2008 to encourage young Aucklanders to pursue a more active lifestyle through sport and physical recreation.
More than 50,000 young children have benefited from the project since its launch.
Sir John says saving just one life by teaching children to swim will achieve what he set out to.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would be celebrating half a million swims."
Len Brown says his "amazing friend" Sir John is a New Zealand legend.
"The programme ensures youngsters are water safe and that no kids miss out," he says.
"The best thing we can do for our children is to make sure they are confident in the water. Our children are our future and it is impossible to overestimate the importance of what has been achieved here."
Point View School embraced the project in its first full year in 2009.
The number of lessons taught this year is expected to top 120,000.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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