In February and March of 2016, Swimming Waikato (in conjunction with Sport Waikato and Sport NZ) ran a KiwiSport ‘Swimming For Life’ programme at four schools in the Coromandel Region –
Each school received 10 in-school lessons for children aged approximately 8 to 12 years and these lessons were followed by four extension classes (after school) for identified swimmers. These sessions focussed on stroke development and in addition to these extra lessons, these swimmers were invited to attend a Technique Clinic in Whangamata which was run by one of Swimming Waikato’s senior Coaches – Graeme Laing. This technique clinic took taking place on the 5th of March and school swimmers were joined by local club swimmers from Coromandel, Whitianga and Whangamata.
Swimmers also had the opportunity to attend Club Nights at the Whangamata and Mercury Bay Swimming Clubs, and compete in the Peninsular Carnival which took place at Whangamata on Sunday the 6th of March 2016.
Teachers from each school took part in a personal development opportunity where they attended a session run by Sport Waikato’s SportsForce Swimming Development Officer, Chris Jolly and our Swimming For Life swim teacher, Aileen Corbett. At this session, the school teachers hopped into the pool so they could experience the lessons from the children’s perspective. Each school was also given a copy of Swimming Waikato’s ‘Swimming For Life’ Resources.
The concept behind the programme was to work with schools in our region to ensure that in-school swimming lessons are of a great quality and we have been delighted to see the enthusiasm and commitment to swimming shown by Teachers at these schools. The programme was also designed to provide the children taking part with an introduction and a pathway to Club swimming in an area which has well-run and proactive swimming Clubs.
The feedback we’ve had on this programme has been phenomenal – here are some comment’s from Whenuakite’s Sally McNeilage –
…”Wow! The programme was awesome for both the children and teacher development. We had our country schools swimming sports yesterday and only 2 children from all of year 4 up did not swim 25m freestyle. These two 8 year olds are only a week or so away from being able to do this. I wish I could give you a percentage of how much better this is but unfortunately I can only say that it is heaps better and noticeably less children swam widths than length races in all strokes. I can confirm this as I have marshaled at these sports for the past 9 years. Generally throughout the school breaststroke skill has also improved across all levels of ability. This is a stroke that many of us were not confident teaching before. We have also just had parent interviews and children shared that they were really proud of their swimming improvement. Aileen and Chris worked well as a team and when on her own Aileen was tireless in her enthusiasm, commitment and ability to make kids feel great about their learning. I personally pumped both Chris and Aileen for information and feel my swim teaching has improved to another level.
Thank you for giving our school this opportunity. Should we be given this opportunity again we would welcome it with open arms.
Please pass on to Chris and Aileen our heartfelt thanks and appreciation…”
And we received some fantastic feedback from Opoutere School too – you can read their School Newsletter here.