A swim program that's vital for Blind Sports Victoria participants

  • Date: 18 October 2018
  • Category: News
Learn to swim

Pictured: Participants of the learn-to-swim program at Hawthorn Aquatic and Leisure Centre. 

Hawthorn Aquatic and Leisure Centre's (HALC) learn-to-swim program for blind and vision impaired participants has been heralded a success, and will be reviewed with the aim for it to be included as part of an ongoing offering at the centre.

After winning the 2018 National Aquatic Industry Safety Award for Excellence in Aquatic Safety by a large facility, HALC successfully applied for a $1,000 Royal Life Saving Society grant to be used towards an aquatic based program.

HALC was successful and utilised an existing relationship with Blind Sports Victoria (BSV) to create the four-week aquatic education program for BSV participants. It was developed for participants with varying ranges of vision impairment and ran two days per week with two sessions on each day.

The program started in early June and each session included two participants and two swim teachers, ensuring that participants felt comfortable and supported, and received a personalised experience.

HALC Director Michael Williams said the pilot program had already created a significant impact with participants and instructors forming great relationships based on trust.

“Participants have already built up confidence in the water and have improved their ability to swim varying strokes, rather than just wade in the water. They really enjoy being in the pool and look forward to sessions,” he said.

“It’s provided access to participants that might not otherwise be able to join our programs without personalised coaching.”

Mr Williams added that the goals of the HALC Learn to Swim program were to build confidence, promote physical activity, build further awareness around water safety and teach and progress swimming strokes.