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wimming is a major sport here in Australia and children are often taught to swim at a very early age. back yard pools are very plentiful and can be a source of great fun and entertainment for children and their friends.

Unfortunately there is a bad side to this story and back yard pool drowning seem to be on the rise with toddlers who cant swim falling in when parents simply take their eyes off them for a few seconds

Swimming For Children In Australia

Australia is an island with a long coastline and a large percentage of the population which lives close to the coast and the beaches. It is not surprising, then, that swimming is a very popular recreational sport which is enjoyed by people of all ages. Because of this, swimming for children in Australia is a serious concern for parents who are aware of safety needs, as well as the opportunities for sport and play.

There are many water sports which become accessible to children who can swim - snorkeling, body surfing, jet skiing, competitive swimming, wind surfing, rowing, boating, canoeing, fishing, or even just splashing about in the local pool!

Being able to swim reduces the likelihood of getting into trouble and the risk of drowning. Those who can swim also find it easier to enjoy holidays at the beach and are better able to use swimming pools. A lot of water sports require proficiency at swimming.

In Australia and the UK, fatalities that are water-related are the second highest cause of accidental death. They are third highest in the USA.

As a result, children are taught to swim at a very young age in Australia. Even babies can learn to swim without fear. For babies, it is recommended that they have completed their first two immunisations. The water should also be warmer than is required for older children and adults - at least 27 degrees C or 86 degrees F. These temperatures are available in heated pools that are to be found in many local areas. The time babies spend in the pool should be closely monitored: 10 - 30 minutes - as babies rapidly lose body heat.

Australians are fortunate in that even small country towns will often provide a public swimming pool. Many private clubs with large memberships - RSL clubs, Football clubs, and the like - may also have swimming pools on their premises.

T The public pools very often have organised swimming clubs and learn to swim classes. The swimming clubs provide competitive sport opportunities and coaching. The learn to swim classes will often liaise with local schools to provide instruction for non-swimmers. Many schools wil also provide inter-school swimming competitions.

The swimming clubs are usually affiliated with a state or federal body such as Swim Australia, which oversees competitive swimming in particular, and arranges championship, regional, and international swimming meets. At the local club level, participants include not only the swimmers but also coaches and parents, as well as various administrators and officials. The clubs also arrange fun race nights and an active social program.

Beyond the learn to swim classes, swimmers are also taught the four basic strokes that are used for competitions - freestyle (front crawl), breast stroke, backstroke and butterfly.

Coaching for competitive swimming is available, usually through the clubs,  and this involves high-intensive training, even during the school year. There is usually a first session in the early morning before school. A second session is held after school hours.

The municipal beaches also have organized swimming arrangements for older children, mostly through the local surf life-saving club which combines serious training as a voluntary life-saver (life guard) with competitive meets or carnivals and socialising.

Swimming has been found to be relatively free from injury and studies have shown it to be the safest of eleven sports that were studied. For most participants, it is a non-load bearing activity and does not require anti-gravity actions - as with weight lifting - and that results in fewer injuries. Those that do occur are usually preventable, arising from attempting too much, too soon or breaking safety rules and ignoring signs which warn against running, rip tides, strong currents and diving in the shallow end of a pool, and the like. There is frequent supervision to minimise these dangers.

Swimming for children in Australia is widely available at swimming pools, beaches and with private pools. It is also available as a sport through organised club programs that attract participants of all ages. It especially appeals to younger people and offers opportunities to build skills and fitness, to socialise and make friends and even to provide a community service.