Federal funding removes barriers for inclusive learn-to-swim classes

Rackley Swimming Kawana is removing barriers for people with a disability with one-on-one all abilities inclusive learn-to-swim classes.

This program is helping more Sunshine Coast locals to develop a love of the sport of swimming ahead of the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games in the region.

Through the Federal Government’s Social and Community Participation Grants Program, the swim school utilises a range of AUSTSWIM programs aimed at ensuring that people with a disability, their families and carers are supported to participate in, contribute to and benefit from the same community activities as everyone else.

Federal Member for Fisher and Speaker of the House of Representatives Andrew Wallace MP said Rackley Swimming Kawana was showing the way when it comes to promotion of inclusive activities and opportunities for people with a disability in the region.

“Swimming is a big part of our way of life on the Sunshine Coast and is a great way to stay active and healthy at any age and for all abilities,” Mr Wallace said.

“The team at Rackley Swimming Kawana are doing a great job in making sure that everyone has the opportunity to participate and safely enjoy the many benefits of swimming.

“With the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games in our backyard, I’m sure many will be inspired to take up the sport and that will lead to many benefits including physical and mental health, and social connectedness.”

Rackley Swimming Kawana Swim School Manager Kim Rigby said swim instructors have undertaken subsidised training opportunities to complete the AUSTSWIM Teacher of Swimming and Water Safety course and the AUSTSWIM Teacher of Aquatics – Access and Inclusion course.

“The AUSTSWIM courses have enabled us to build the learn-to-swim program and offer swimming and water safety programs to people with a disability,” Ms Rigby said.

“We now have 34 children with a disability taking swimming classes, from one-one-one time for students that have sensory needs, and infants learning to swim all the way through to a teenager who is a multi-class national swimmer in the junior squad.”

The centre’s latest learn-to-swim teaching qualification graduate Sarah Wallace knows all too well the importance of inclusion and representation.

The 19-year-old Paralympic Games hopeful, who was inspired to take up swimming at the age of six when she met Athens Paralympics silver medallist Ricardo Moffatti, now aims to further her qualification to also become an ‘Access and Inclusion’ Swim Teacher. 

“I am excited to be teaching learn-to-swim classes and look forward to one day soon to be taking access and inclusion classes,” Miss Wallace said.

“There are no limits for people with a disability once they are given an opportunity and some barriers are removed. Representation is important because when you see people like you being successful, it gives you inspiration and a greater belief that anything is possible.”

Ms Rigby said students will be inspired by Miss Wallace as she was by Mr Moffatti.

“Sarah is a shining example of showing what people with a disability can do when given an opportunity,” Ms Rigby said.

“I’m sure that she could play a part in creating the next generation of Australia Paralympic stars who are going to shine in the South East Queensland 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Rackley Swimming Kawana will host a AUSTSWIM Making Aquatics a Terrific Experience (MATE) course on May 11. The course is fully funded through the Federal Government’s Social and Community Participation Grants Program.

The MATE community workshop provides parents and carers, disability support staff, allied health professionals, personal trainers, and exercise physios with the information, skills and confidence required to encourage and facilitate physical activity, socialisation, communication, mobility, and community engagement in an aquatic environment. 

To register for the workshop, email info@austswim.com.au

Paralympic Games hopeful Sarah Wallace is Rackley Swimming Kawana’s latest learn-to-swim teaching qualification graduate
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