Being surrounded by water and opportunities to swim does not make a good swimmer. The accidents and tragedies that have occurred in our waters this past week across the country are a confronting reminder of that.
Mercury Bay Amateur Swim Club club runs a Learn to Swim program every summer for two weeks in January. The program depends solely on volunteers (parents and teenagers) to organise, facilitate and deliver the lessons. Children aged 5 + sign up for a 30-minute lesson every day, for 10 days. Program leader, Paula Manarangi-Favilli, says “We find that the children and parents that are able to commit this time see amazing results. Children work through from learning to submerge their face in the water, understanding and experimenting with buoyancy (with and without floating aides) all the way through to developing freestyle and back stroke and understanding the basic principles of breaststroke and butterfly stroke.”
Paula was pleased with the 37 registrations aged between 5-10 years of age, as well as eight volunteers: five instructors and three support persons.
“Our instructors were Claire Kelly, Denise Harris, Hayley Jones, Poppy Richmond, and I instructed too. Our support persons were Alfie Harris, Charlie Kelly, and Meg Hoyland.”
Learn to swim registrations open in September and run through to the end of November.
Paula was keen to share further news of the Club’s work.
“After school lessons, cater for school age children who can submerge their face and float on their front and back all the way through to squad swimmers who focus on refining strokes and competitive swimming. This programme runs during Term Four and Term One.
Race nights work very well. The kids compete against themselves and improve their times in various strokes and distances (25m, 50m 100m, 200m). All of these activities that rely solely on the volunteers. This season we had 116 after school registrations. “
When asked about volunteers, “I’m always on the lookout for volunteers. In our current group of (ages range from 17 upwards), some have had extensive training in teaching swimming, while others have had some swimming experience and others no training or swimming experience.”
Other volunteers help with funding applications, timing and bbqs on race nights, administration. and funding. All monies that come into the club via club fees goes into lane hire and equipment maintenance. Looking for funding is our second priority. The Mercury Swimming Club aims to help all the local children become confident and strong swimmers with a respect for the water. We need help to do this,” says Paula
Caption: Paula Manarangi – Favilli with two of her students, Wyatt (left) and Marc (right) .