Michael Klim is a Polish-born Australian swimmer, Olympic gold medalist, world champion, and former world record-holder. Klim was selected to represent Australia in the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada in 1994. In 1999, he set a world record in the 100 m butterfly twice. Klim was Australian Institute of Sport Athlete of the Year in 1998 & 1999 and was the only Australian to win a Gold medal at both the Sydney 2000 Olympics and the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.
Today, Michael Klim has renewed calls for the introduction of mandatory swimming lessons in all Victorian schools. “A lot of schools in the state are on the front foot with water safety and are proactive. I think (mandatory swimming lessons) are something we should definitely consider,” Mr Klim said. “I don’t think you can put a cost on a child’s life. Most parents are happy to pay for that swimming lesson,” he said.
A Life Saving Victoria report revealed more than 39,000 year six students were unable to swim 50m in 2012. And the organisation’s drowning report for the 2013-14 financial year found there were 47 drowning deaths in the state. Life Saving Victoria chief executive Nigel Taylor said mandatory swimming lessons and swim education programs would result in a reduction in the drowning toll. Mr Taylor said LSV needed $7.15 million over four years from the government to put in place school swimming lessons and education programs. Government spokesman Chris Piper said water safety was included in school curriculums. He said the government was happy to meet LSV to discuss future funding.
Waterworks Aquatics Swim School believes water safety is a year-round initiative which is to be taken seriously. This is why we recommend swim lessons to children as early as 3 months old. Drowning is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) – of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening. Be sure to take these precautions seriously and enroll your children in lessons as soon as possible.
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