Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

image-20161208-31364-86rhncThe Conversation Reports: Our modern distaste for river swimming is a stark constrast with a history where urban rivers provided a venue for sport, recreation and entertainment – all within easy distance of shops, offices and public transport.

Pollution has changed the face of river swimming across the world. Not that pollution in itself has put people off outdoor swimming. In the UK for instance, summertime tradition sees holidaymakers keen to paddle and swim in the sea despite pollution on many beaches. Rather, the public perception that rivers and lakes are unsafe or unclean is so intrenched that it is rarely questioned. Rather like the beguiled Emperor in Hans Christian Anderson’s: The Emperor’s New Clothes, todays would be swimmers are so convinced by what they think they know that they cannot see what is obvious to little boys.

Discover just how different attitudes are in Switzerland


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Throughout history children have faced danger when in and arround water. Better parental supervision, clear warnings of specific dangers and in some cases swimming restrictions have all played a part in reducing the risk, but life saving education is without doubt the best precaution against disaster.


beginning in 2017 all schoolchildren in the Australian province of Victoria will be required to swim 50 meters straight and show in-pool survival skills beginning in 2017, according to the Herald Sun.

The Herald Sun had been pushing for these learn-to-swim programs in schools as a result of 43 drowning deaths in Victoria this year and a 40 percent rise in fatal drownings. Research from Life Saving Victoria found that three out of five students could not swim by the time they finished primary school.

The Herald Sun reports: Brodie Morris, 12, …almost drowned in the Murray River two years ago. “We nearly lost him,” said his dad, Brett. “It happened in a split second. We’re really lucky that someone pulled him up. He could have been another statistic. He’d been to swimming lessons before but he hadn’t picked anything up.”

After the 10-week program at Shepparton’s Aquamoves pool, Brodie, from Kyabram, was swimming a dozen laps with ease. Even waking up earlier for the 40-minute trip to the pool didn’t faze him. “We were amazed how he went. He was motivated, he was fantastic,” Mr Morris said.

Mr Taylor said the goal was to teach every Victorian child to swim at a satisfactory level within a decade.



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Australia’s Bankstown Express Reports:

Push to make the Cooks River swimmable for first time in 80 years ‘achievable’

Wild Swimmer Cooks River in 1932

It has been about 80 years since people last enjoyed a swim in the Cooks River and there is now a push to make it swimmable again. The last known record Sydney Water has of people swimming in the river dates back to the 1930s. Since then, it has largely been avoided by swimmers as pollution from heavy industry and litter have degraded the river’s health.

“We would like to get to a stage where we can swim in the river, but that won’t be any time soon,” Cooks River Valley Association president Mr Butcher said. “The river won’t be a proper river again until it’s healthy enough for us to swim in.” A few years ago, that goal would have seemed like “pie in the sky” but it was now an “achievable objective”, he said.

Realising that “long-term vision” would require co-operation from all levels of government and the community. More…

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Blacktown Council Chatter Campaign to Revive River

The Blacktown Sun Reports from Australia:

An estimated 500 people made a splash at a recent beach party held at International Peace Park in Seven Hills to celebrate the end of summer.

Activities included beach volleyball, a waterslide, giant water balls, face painting, nature walks and a free sausage sizzle.

The aim of the day was to raise awareness about the Our Living River campaign, which focuses on improving the health of Parramatta River to make it swimmable by 2025.

The campaign was developed by Blacktown Council in partnership with Parramatta River Catchment Group.

Once a very popular swimming spot, the Parramatta River has experienced a significant deterioration over many decades and become unsafe for swimming due to high pollution levels.

The beach party gave residents a chance to provide feedback on how they would like to see Parramatta River brought back to life.

Residents voted for their favorite swimming spots with the most popular within a 20-minute drive — Lake Parramatta, Little Coogee (Parramatta Park) and Centennial Baths (Parramatta CBD).

In my home city of Leicester the water is clean enough for swimming but attitudes are as yet still set against river swimming in the City…

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As winter weather grips the UK, summer sunshine draws swimmers to open water in Australia.

ABC News reports: “…calls are growing for compulsory water safety lessons for children.”

“In the lead up to the end of the school year, the State Emergency Service is running water safety lessons at Dubbo schools, particularly focused on the dangers of weirs.”

“Councillor Jason Hamling said teaching primary school children basic swimming skills, will help prevent drowning deaths particularly in rural areas.

I’m actually calling on the state government to see whether we can get compulsory swimming lessons back into our schools.”

Compulsory swimming lessons or water safety classes for all NSW school children is something Karen Martin supports. “There are still too many children slipping through the cracks. I teach a lot of kids who are in their teens who have hardly been in the water,”

Teach children how to SWIM SAFE

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Competitive Diving Platform or Tower

Image via Wikipedia

Pollution is the main reason given for the closure of rivers to wild swimmers. However in Australia, Cr Peter Jamieson is calling for a re-think on the current ban on swimming in the Port River which has been in place since the early 1960s. Water testing shows that pollution problems have now all but disappeared and so he is asking the council if they should promote swimming between Bower Rd and the expressway bridges. He suggests the council could look at setting up pontoons, a training pool with floating walls, ladders on wharfs and possibly a diving platform. After a 50 year ban this is welcome news for wild swimmers.

River Swimming

River Swimming

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