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Learn to swim initiative reaches almost 1000 West Coast kids

- Close to 1000 primary aged children in the Buller region have learnt or are learning to swim through the Sealord Swim for Life initiative – with almost every Buller school involved in the initiative.

Sealord Swim for Life – a partnership between Sealord and Water Safety New Zealand – provides Kiwi kids with the opportunity to swim by working with regional sports trusts and authorities to enable swim and survive education in schools and pools. So far more than 195,000 children nationally have participated in Sealord Swim for Life with this number expected to grow to 250,000 by the end of 2014.

In the Buller district, almost every primary school child (years three to six) will receive 10 swimming lessons from a swim and survive instructor each year through the initiative, with the support from regional partners Sport Tasman KiwiSport and the Solid Energy Centre in Westport, where the swimming lessons are taking place.

In 2012, three schools (and 84 children) from remote Buller areas were initially targeted, and this year the initiative is being extended to cover an impressive 928 students from almost every school in the Buller district.

Through the Sealord Swim for Life initiative these Buller children will learn vital water safety skills and work towards swimming 200 metres.

Water Safety New Zealand Chief Executive Matt Claridge says the Sealord Swim for Life initiative is crucial if the nationwide decline in the swimming ability of kids is to be reversed.

“Already the initiative has improved the swimming skills of many of the region’s children and with the help of our funding partners we have the ability to make a difference to hundreds more.”

“As the scheme grows we’re confident that we will see it impact positively on our swimming ability as a nation.”

Sealord General Manager Stuart Yorston says the company is committed to continuing to grow the initiative throughout New Zealand.

“Water and aquatic based activities are a favourite past time for New Zealanders, so it’s essential that our kids know how to swim. Our Sealord Swim For Life scheme gives them a great start on that journey,” he says.

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