Swimming is more than just a sport; it is a life skill everyone should learn. While some life skills can be taught easily in a lesson or two, swimming is one life skill that takes years of practice, repetition, and consistency to retain.
Providing regular swimming lessons, from 5 years up to competitive squad training is the Papamoa Swimming Club.
The Club operates the only community pool in the Papamoa region. With a growing population of over 20,000 living close to the water, it is vital that its residents know how to swim.
Learn to Swim for All
It’s a beautiful Thursday afternoon, the sun is out, and the pool is crystal clear blue; inviting a very eager group of kids to jump in ready for today’s lesson.
Head coach Andy McLay is teaching the Beginner Length programme as part of the Papamoa Swimming Club’s after-school sessions.
Thanks to a new heating system, the pool is the perfect temperature and the kids are ready to tackle their lengths after a brief rundown by Andy.
The Club offers Learn to Swim lessons to every child in the community, with lessons costing only $5.75 per session; making it affordable and accessible to all. Over the past 5 years the Papamoa Swimming Club has successfully taught over 1,000 children this important life skill.
Whether swimming for fun, fitness, to learn, or to swim competitively, the Club caters for all levels of swimming ability. Once children graduate from the Learn to Swim programme, the Beginner Length programme is available; focusing on water confidence, stroke correction and fitness. Junior and Senior Squads are also available, and for elite swimmers there is Competitive Squad training sessions available.
Andy says many of their Learn to Swim children have gone onto swim competitively and now swim at a regional or national level. With high performance quality swim coaching, Andy says there is huge potential for these young kids.
“There is a lot of talent here. Watch this space, in the next few years we’ll see them rising through the ranks and breaking new records.
“It’s all about consistency. It’s a big commitment but we have kids coming here training four times a week. With regular lessons, we’re setting up these young ones on the right path to be able to come through and get good results.”
TECT Funding Keeps Community Swimming
The pool is located on site at Papamoa Primary School, but is used outside of school hours by the Papamoa Swimming Club to provide swimming lessons, by other schools to facilitate their swim training, by local sports clubs and is also open to public; ensuring every family in our community can have an affordable, fun day out.
Papamoa Swimming Club open and run the pool from August – April each season under contract with Papamoa Primary School and are responsible for all pool maintenance and operating costs over the swimming season.
While school pools provide valuable access to aquatic education for children, the cost of running them is a challenge for many, resulting in over 150 schools closing their pools in the past 5 years.
Papamoa Primary School and Papamoa Swimming Club’s relationship has proven to be a beneficial model; keeping costs low for the school and ensuring the pool is available for both water safety skills training in school and for public use.
While gate entries and memberships cover some of the costs, funds still need to be raised to keep the pool operational over summer. TECT funding was sought to help cover operational expenses such as the cost of providing lifeguards and maintenance of the pool.
Janine Johnson, Funding Officer and Committee Member for the Papamoa Swimming Club says TECT’s grant of $20,000 helps keep the pool operational and the cost low for swimming lessons and public use.
“TECT’s funding is great as we can always put it where we need it most, whether that’s pool chemicals, power costs, repairs, or hiring lifeguards. We want to keep the prices affordable, so it’s fantastic that we can cover these operational costs and can keep the pool at an accessible cost to all.
“We have an unusual setup whereby we run the pool during the afternoons and weekends. Normally with a swimming club you rent some lanes and you focus on coaching the kids, but we look after the community pool as well—the maintenance costs add up quickly.
“We have huge peace of mind knowing TECT is supportive of our initiative. And it’s also thanks to the volunteers who keep everything running—we couldn’t do it without them.”
To learn more about Papamoa Swimming Club, visit www.papamoaswimclub.org.nz/