Australia is known for its beach culture and love of the ocean. Sydney also a culturally diverse city with people from a variety of backgrounds and heritages. This means not everyone has grown up around the water and learned to swim. Even overseas migrants who do know how to swim often have very little experience of the sometimes hazardous surf conditions we experience in Sydney.
Anyone with weak swimming ability is at risk of drowning but overseas migrants and international students are particularly vulnerable. Last year 87 people drowned in NSW, the highest number out of all of the states. Royal Life Saving also reports that over the last 10 years 1 in 4 drowning deaths have been a person born outside of Australia and the populations found to have the highest risk of drowning (based on population living in Australia) were those from Taiwan, South Korea, and Ireland.
However, adults drowning is not just a migrant issue. Many Australians have negative associations of swimming, ranging from bad experiences as children, being forced to swim at carnivals at school and even body image issues. Royal Life Saving reports that as many as 5% of adults in Australia cannot swim at all, a figure which could be higher due to under reporting due to embarrassment.
Drowning prevention does not end at learning to swim. Learning how to read beach conditions, always swimming between the flags, learning CPR and first aid and not mixing alcohol with swimming all helps to keep you and your loved ones safe this summer.
Here are our tips if you are a beginner swimmer looking to learn to swim:
- Familiarise yourself with water first and become comfortable in the new environment.
Get used to putting your face in the water, you can do this while standing up holding onto the side of the pool so you are stable.
- Look forward underwater instead of looking down at the depths of the pool/ocean, you’ll achieve a relaxed sense of calm and gain greater awareness of where you’re going if you look forward.
- Learn to breathe – begin by blowing bubbles underwater and lifting your head up to breathe in.
- Get lessons! 🙂 Having an instructor in the water with you to support you with both the mental and physical challenge of learning to swim is the best way to get started.
Salty Fit’s Ultimate Beginner 4 week course aims to create a safe and nurturing environment for you to conquer your fears and learn to swim freestyle comfortably and confidently. More information on Ultimate Beginner here.