BaySwim manager Matthew Strange says by the end of this year, local babies and toddlers will have collectively benefitted from about 28,000 free lessons thanks to the Aquababe classes.
He says the generous support from McLeods means that this year 700 children, aged between three months and 36 months, will get to benefit from 12 weeks of free swimming lessons (as the classes are extended into school break). The Aquababe lessons will be held during third quarter of lessons in the heated pools at Baywave and Greerton Aquatic Centre.
Matthew says Aquababes is an initiative well worth celebrating on many levels.
“It is well recognised that learning to swim comes with mental, physical, social, and cognitive benefits as well as safety ones. According to Water Safety NZ research, children aged between one and four years-of-age are 88 per cent less likely to drown if they have had formal swimming lessons,” he says.
Drowning is the second highest cause of accidental death among children in New Zealand.
Matthew is encouraging parents to enrol their would-be-Aquababes for BaySwim Quarter Two lessons (May 1-July 23) to then secure their spot through first-right-of-renewal for the free Quarter Three period (July 24 – October 15). Bookings open on March 20 to current BaySwim customers, and from March 27 to new customers. Priority will be given to those taking part in Quarter Two lessons; thereafter the free lessons will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. All 1,000 places were filled when Aquababes was introduced in 2015, and last year’s numbers were just under.
McLeod’s managing director Scott McLeod says the Aquababes programme sits nicely with the company’s safety first philosophy, and on-going support for NZ water-safety initiatives. It is also a good fit, he says, given his mother’s key involvement in the NZ swimming and water safety scene.
Anne McLeod has received many prestigious national swimming awards for her “outstanding” contribution to learning to swim and water safety programmes.
Swimming is a passion of hers, and she describes Aquababes as a programme close to her heart.
“The aim is to ensure as many children as possible have access to swimming lessons. We have been so happy with the success of Aquababes over the last two years and look forward to this year’s success stories too,” she says.
BaySwim is also the swim school that has this year launched sponsored swimming for pre-school children from families experiencing financial hardship.
All BaySwimmers also get unlimited free use of Tauranga’s four community pools - entry is also free for an accompanying adult (for under-five year olds).
Those keen to enrol their children in Aquababes, can phone Baywave on 5778550 or Greerton pools on 5778552. or email firstname.lastname@example.org