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The Y NSW making swimming lessons more accessible for young people with a disability


We are a water loving nation, and who can blame us? Australia’s coasts are lined with beautiful beaches and our summer days are often the perfect temperate for swimming. Our strong affinity with the water means it is vital that young people have the opportunity to learn valuable swimming and water safety skills.

The Y NSW, part of the largest youth organisation in the world, and Rainbow Club, a network of social swimming clubs for children living with disability, are delighted to announce the launch of a new partnership which will make swimming lessons more accessible for young people living with disability.

The partnership gives Rainbow Club access to 21 aquatic facilities managed by the Y throughout NSW and ACT which will significantly increase opportunities for young people who are living with disability to access social swimming lessons in a fun and safe environment.

Simon Mullard, Aquatics Specialist at the Y NSW, explained that this increase in access to swimming lessons comes at a particularly important time.

“We are so pleased to be able to launch this partnership now, at a time when we are seeing demand for learn to swim lessons exceed supply due to factors such as COVID-19 and staff shortages.

Catriona Barry, CEO of Rainbow Club is delighted with the partnership and sees the cooperation between the two organisations as helping to meet the high demand for children with a disability to get the individual attention they need to help them learn to swim.

“Both organisations are always on the lookout for new ways to better serve our communities and this partnership between Rainbow Club and the Y will do just that. It will build capacity for specialised swimming lessons for children with disability in areas where the Y is already providing services for a local community,” explained Ms Barry.

The new partnership will see Rainbow Club run two popular swimming programs at many of the Y NSW aquatic facilities. Swim the Rainbow is a program specifically designed to teach children with a disability using structure, reward and progress in a fun and supportive environment where swimming goals are aligned to colours of the rainbow. Rainbow Squads Participants enjoy a weekly, one hour session led by a qualified Competitive Strokes teacher in a 20-25 metre pool. The squad sessions are age appropriate and for members of similar ability.

“Some participants focus on personal bests, some like competition and others like to improve their endurance and strength. Rainbow Squads have a social element every term and introduce participants to events in their local community,” added Ms Barry.

These Rainbow Club programs will complement the Y NSW’s existing SwimAbility program which teaches vital water safety and survival skills to children living with disability at select aquatic facilities.

“In Australia we are blessed with a lifestyle that is full of opportunities to enjoy the water – whether it be at the beach, a lake, or in a swimming pool,” said the Y NSW CEO, Susannah Le Bron.

“We’re pleased to be able to partner with Rainbow Club and create more opportunities for young people, no matter their ability, to enjoy the water and learn valuable water safety skills in fun and social settings,” she concluded.

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