Swim school a big hit

RHONDA MARKBY
Last updated 05:00 16/10/2012
More than 300 preschoolers are taking part in ‘‘Explore and Learn’’ programmes at CBay this term. These toddlers and their mums try out the warm water programme pool on Monday.
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/Fairfax NZ

WATER BABIES: More than 300 preschoolers are taking part in ‘‘Explore and Learn’’ programmes at CBay this term. These toddlers and their mums try out the warm water programme pool on Monday.

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CBay's council-run swim school is proving so popular, some programmes are almost at capacity.

This term the school has 1000 registrations, with the popularity of the programme exceeding council's expectations.

"There are definitely more learning to swim now than 12 months ago," recreation programmes team leader Jane Sullivan believes.

"Parents have said it was always so hard to get their children in to lessons," she said, referring to the long waiting lists Timaru swim schools had had in the past.

The swim school was attracting participants from the Timaru and Waimate districts.

There are three programmes being run at CBay with the largest being the 400 Gold programme catering for schoolchildren. It has been running all year, initially being held at Century Pool. The numbers have steadily increased with 650 children being taught by nine instructors this term.

While the swim school has been able to accommodate all those wanting to learn at this stage, Ms Sullivan said high retention rates combined with new entries meant the programme was getting close to capacity.

Also proving popular was the preschoolers' Explore and Learn programme which will cater for more than 300 youngsters this term.

The lack of a suitable warm water pool has meant preschool programmes have been unavailable in Timaru for the past six years. Some of those now enrolled had travelled to Oamaru and Ashburton in the past to take part in programmes. The lessons were being held in the 32C programme pool.

Ms Sullivan said the programme was designed for the developmental age of the child, their aquatic experience and ability.

A parent or caregiver is in the water with the child during the lesson.

More than 40 swimmers have been training in the junior and senior sport competition squads with head coach Clive Power.

Other activities planned include a fitness component of the swimming development programme, private lessons, adult lessons, holiday learn-to-swim programmes, special aquatic events and triathlon and masters squad coaching.

The council had planned to operate the swim school at its rural pools this summer, but due to the demand at CBay, rural swimming clubs have been given the option to run their own programmes for a final season.

Seven Timaru primary schools have booked to use CBay this term, with one school requesting instruction from swim school instructors.

Ms Sullivan said funding was being sought to enable local schools to offer subsidised swimming programmes at CBay.

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- The Timaru Herald

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