Pool noodles in a basket beside a pool


Just keep swimming: winter at the Oasis

Published: 23 Jun 2022 5:17pm

The Oasis Aquatic Centre is encouraging parents and caregivers to enrol their children into swimming lessons to avoid losing their skills over the cooler months.

From 1 July 2022, Service NSW will issue new First Lap vouchers worth $100 for children aged 3–6 years who are not enrolled in school, which can be used towards the cost of swimming lessons. A new $100 Active Kids voucher will also be issued from 1 July, which can be used for children between 4–18 years old for swimming lessons.

Two young women stand together in an indoor pool
KEEP THOSE SKILLS UP: Oasis Programs Supervisor Lauren Attwood and Learn to Swim Team Leader Breanna Wendt are encouraging parents and caregivers to enrol their children in swimming lessons over the cooler months to avoid losing important skills.

Oasis Programs Supervisor Lauren Attwood said the First Lap and Active Kids vouchers gave parents and caregivers a great opportunity to get their children started in learning an important life skill.

“Everyone deserves to learn to swim,” Ms Attwood said.

“A lot of kids have missed out on swimming lessons in their younger years due to COVID shut downs, and we’re aware that swimming skills are not where they need to be for a lot of children in our community.

“We have a lot of parents and caregivers who think of swimming as life insurance for their kids. They keep their kids enrolled throughout the year because they want to know their children are going to be safe swimming by themselves.

“It only takes seconds for a child to drown and drowning is often quite silent. Ensuring your child learns to be confident in the water will give you peace of mind.”

Ms Atwood said keeping children swimming over the cooler months would ensure a continuous progression of skills.

“Not only are we working on their confidence, we’re really building their skills,” Ms Atwood said.

“These are the kids that keep moving up the levels each term because they’re practicing their skills year-round. Unfortunately, for the kids who only take lessons during the warmer months, it takes them a lot longer to progress because they’re having to rebuild their confidence and skills each time. If they’re only swimming over summer, they’re having a very stop-start learning experience, which we’d prefer to avoid. Consistency is important when learning to swim – and it’s a skill that could actually save your life.”

A young woman lifeguard operating a tile cleaning machine
SQUEAKY CLEAN: Lifeguard and Pool Deck Supervisor Jess Willis is part of the Oasis team keeping the water safe and warm, and the pool decks sparkling.

Learn to Swim Team Leader Breanna Wendt is a daily witness to the benefits of learning to swim early in life.

“We start swimming lessons from six months old,” Ms Wendt said.

“We want to get babies and children used to the water and able to swim confidently. If anything ever happened, for example if they fell into a pool, we teach children to be able to safely turn onto their back, float to the edge, and find their way to the exit.

“We want children to be confident and enjoy swimming, because it when it gets hot, everyone likes to swim, especially down at the river. If kids can’t swim, more accidents can happen. That’s why we like to get kids learning to swim as quickly as we can.”

Oasis has an intensive program – two weeks of lessons every day – which speed up swimming skills.

“We see a lot of improvements,” Ms Wendt said.

“Kids who started out scared of the water one week; by the next week they’re swimming happily and love it. It’s all about confidence and safety.”

The Oasis team were happy to reassure any parents and caregivers worried about their children getting cold when swimming during the cooler months.

“It’s so warm in here, as soon as people arrive they start shedding layers,” Ms Attwood said.

“The program pool, which the small children swim in, is normally 34 C and our 25 metre pool is heated to about 28 C. The best way to stay warm is to have a hot shower here after your lesson, dry off, then rug up before you head out.

“When you consider how many kids are running around wet on a field during winter in a t-shirt, it’s pretty nice to be in a warm, enclosed building.”

For more details, and to enrol, visit oasiswagga.com or call the Oasis team on phone: 02 6926 9390.