WITH 56 drownings nationwide already this summer, demand for swimming lessons continues to escalate.
VicSwim has rolled out intensive swimming lessons subsidised by the Victorian government to Albury-Wodonga this summer for the first time.
Aquatics and Recreation Victoria chief executive Grant Connors said the response had been overwhelming across four pools in the twin cities.
He said 252 children had been registered to date for the Summer Kidz program, which began on Monday.
“Weeks 2 and 3 were at capacity and once we confirmed with the venues we could get more time and that teachers were available we were able to add more lessons for kids on waiting lists,” he said.
Mr Connors said there had been a 40 per cent increase in participation in VicSwim programs since 2016.
He said a total of 13,000 children would get lessons across 171 venues this year.
“There is always demand for swimming lessons but we now have better access to pools and teachers,” Mr Connors said.
“Councils have really supported the program this year.
“We’ve been able to recruit 270 casual swimming teachers from October to January.”
Mr Connors said VicSwim had introduced its first inland waterway lesson on Monday at Crusoe Reserve near Bendigo.
He said the program had been in the pipeline for some time.
“We want to provide low-cost swim lessons to kids who don’t normally have access to lessons in the places they normally swim like rivers and dams,” he said.
“One of the biggest demands for VicSwim is the coastal program.
“If we’re looking to the future we’d be suggesting places like Lake Hume.”
Mr Connors said while Albury-Wodonga was new to the VicSwim program, it already operated in many rural centres throughout the North East.
He said Beechworth Pool had more than 200 children enrolled in VicSwim lessons this month.
He said 70 children were enrolled at Tangambalanga and 40 at both Chiltern and Corryong.
“We’re particularly proud that VicSwim can now cross the border to support Albury-Wodonga,” he said.
Participating venues for VicSwim Summer Kidz program on the Border include Albury Swim Centre, Lavington Swim Centre; Wodonga WAVES; Wodonga Sports and Leisure Centre; Beechworth Pool; Tangambalanga Kiewa Pool; Chiltern Swimming Pool; Corryong Swimming Pool; Eskdale Swimming Pool; Mount Beauty Swimming Pool; Myrtleford Swimming Pool; and Yackandandah Pool.