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Free swimming lessons teach kids their limits

TAO LIN
Last updated 05:00 30/01/2014
Swimming lesson
Tao Lin
SAFE SWIMMING: Staff from the Otahuhu Recreation and Youth Centre give free swimming and water safety lessons at Otahuhu College.

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Youngsters had the chance to get water savvy last week thanks to Whanau Nui water safety and swim lessons.

The free lessons at Otahuhu College were part of an Auckland-wide programme funded by WaterSafe Auckland.

Staff from the Otahuhu Recreation and Youth Centre successfully delivered the lessons despite not having a pool of their own at the recreation centre.

Swim Magic Swim School water safety and schools programme co-ordinator Moe Richardson says the staff went through extensive training beforehand.

They trained with the Mt Albert Aquatic Centre water safety team, learning about water safety and swimming skills as well as taking part in life jacket and boat training.

Ms Richardson also supervised the staff as they spent a day instructing students from Westmere Primary School.

She hopes parents and children will learn "the importance of knowing their limits when they are in, on and around water" from the free lessons.

"It is critical for both child and parent to learn to be safe in water," she says. "Water safety awareness goes beyond water you can swim in.

"It is being aware that it's not OK to leave a full bucket of water lying around as a possibility for a small child to drown in."

The Otahuhu recreation centre will have a new pool in 2015 but Ms Richardson says beaches with lifeguards are good places to practise swimming in summer for those who don't have easy access to a pool.

Recreation centre manager Christine Mercer says construction work for the pool is in the early stages but work is definitely under way.

"For many residents, it is still beyond belief that their long-held dream is at last becoming a reality.

"To say the community is excited would be an understatement."

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- Manukau Courier

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