News

Swimming school forced into hiatus

By Daniel Hughes

Finley children are at risk of never learning what many consider to be one of life’s essential skills: swimming.

Despite having more than 120 families register for swimming lessons this summer, there will be no Learn to Swim or squad programs for the coming 2019/2020 season.

According to Finley Amateur Swimming Club president Nikki Wane, despite their best efforts they have not been able to secure volunteer coaches or lifeguards.

“This has not been an easy decision for the committee to make, however they will use this time to rebuild and plan for the future,” she said.

“We have plenty of kids willing to participate with over 120 families registered, but we simply don’t have the trained volunteers to meet the capacity of kids wanting to learn.

“In order for someone to be qualified they’d have to undertake the weekend AUSTSWIM instructor course.

“While it is at a cost to the volunteer, if we are able to get six people willing to learn, they will send the instructor to us.”

Mrs Wane understands the difficult position the club is in and while other sports offer a lot of flexibility with volunteer coaching, swimming does not.

“It’s the difficult position we’re in, it’s not like any parent can volunteer to coach like they could for soccer or any other sport,” she said.

“Unfortunately they have to be qualified.

“It is only a one weekend intensive course and we even have clubs in the area offering their facilities and coaches to help the volunteers get their hours needed for accreditation.

“We looked at all our options and came to the conclusion that going into hiatus and planning hard for next season would be the best course of action.”

She further explained that it’s ‘‘always fallen on the shoulders of a few qualified individuals in the last few years’’.

“For them to undertake the potential task ahead, was just unrealistic and unfair on them.”

The concerning issue at hand for Mrs Wane is the gap that could go missing out of this year’s potential swimmers, especially with a hot summer ahead.

“It will be just so hot in summer,” she added.

“To not be able to offer this sport as both an escape from the heat and as a learning tool is such a shame.

“We’re in an area where we’re surrounded by water, which makes it so disappointing.

“For us as a club, we’re trying so hard to contribute to the essential learning of our children and unfortunately we have to miss this season and ensure next year is not the same result.”

The club is seeking expressions of interest from community members who may be interested in gaining coaching qualifications for next season; contact Nikki Wane at president.finleyasc@gmail.com.