Oz Swim Aquatics founds Global Aquatic Project

A Greenbank learn-to-swim school has been instrumental in creating and rolling out a program designed to teach children in developing countries the all-important skill.

A leading influence in aquatic education in Beaudesert and Logan for nearly two decades, international training organisation Oz Swim Aquatics set up the Global Aquatic Project last year in the hope of reducing drownings in the third world.

As part of the project, business owners from around the world are welcomed to Oz Swim Aquatics' heated indoor pool at Greenbank to learn how to teach people to swim and run a successful aquatic centre.

The Oz Swim Aquatics team has also been pivotal in structuring the current models for teaching swimming in Thailand, ensuring reach to more children by training instructors who are then able to pass that knowledge onto greater numbers of kids.

Founder, director and head trainer for Oz Swim Aquatics and the Global Aquatic Project Eve Fraser recently returned from a mission to Bangalore in India, where she worked with government schools to structure their future programs.

She said the project aimed to reduce drownings by providing every child access to swimming lessons, but also to ensure any action taken was sustainable.

"It is a philanthropic project with a mission and it is incredibly sustainable," she said.

"I could go in and teach a group of kids to swim but by training a group of teachers at a swim school we are able to work with many more kids.

"I go in and train 20 people up, and the next thing we have hundreds of kids learning to swim.

"It is an awesome project.

"The reach has been far beyond my tentacles."

Ms Fraser said there were 12,000 deaths as a result of drowning in Thailand each year and up to 80,000 annually in India and the project aimed to drastically lower those numbers.

She said many people in these countries suffered from hydrophobia and were petrified of the water, and that was often the most challenging obstacle to overcome.

"It still brings a tear to my eye every time I see a kid learn to swim for the first time," she said.

"To take a kid who has never swam before and half an hour later they are able to swim to the other side of the pool, we know that we have potentially just saved a life.

"From that first time the child leaves your arms and swims to the side, and looks at you with a big grin on their face as if to say 'was that really me', they have a skill for life."

The Global Aquatic Project is supported by the Thai and Australian governments and organisations like Rotary, Swim Australia, the Australian Swimming Teachers and Coaches, and the Royal Life Saving Society of Queensland.

Future trips are planned to Phuket and Cambodia, and Ms Fraser said the project would visit anywhere a need existed.

"Wherever there are children and drownings, we will go," she said.

"We just need pools to teach in."

Ms Fraser said it was alarming how many Australian kids also did not know how to swim.

"80 per cent of kids in year four in Logan still can not swim to save themselves," she said.

She said the number of children drowning across Australia was shocking and such deaths were preventable.

Oz Swim Aquatics offers learn-to-swim classes and teaches swim instructors at its Greenbank Aquatic Centre.

All instructors are qualified to teach children with disabilities.

For more information, phone: 3297 5140

This story Global Aquatic Project's philanthropic mission first appeared on Beaudesert Times.