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Community Swim

Community Swim

Delivered by Auckland Council & Swimgym

In 2017 Water Safety New Zealand reported 92 preventable drownings has occurred of which the highest percentage of fatalities was amongst the 15 – 24 years of age group.  To prevent drownings, swimming is an essential water skill for life, requiring many hours of learning and practice in the water.

It was identified that access to swimming instruction was not uniform across Auckland South.  Since the transfer of operational budgets directly to school boards and the introduction of stricter requirements for school pool testing and operations, many schools have exited from their own pools and swimming programmes.  There has not been a school built with a pool since 1976.

Even though school groups are offered free access to pools, especially for low socio-economic schools, the cost of arranging transport to a public pool is a significant barrier.  In addition, instructor costs to support teachers who are not confident in teaching swimming also added barriers.

The Community Swim programme was developed and launched in 2008 to address these issues by providing FREE water skills for life lessons, including pool entry, transportation to and from the school and instructors at no charge to teach school children the basic yet essential skills of swimming and to be safe in and around water.

Without the ongoing support of our funders, The Lion Foundation, Auckland Council, Water Safety New Zealand, Potter Masonic Trust and others, Community Swim would not have been able to deliver it’s 1,000,000th FREE lesson in November 2017.  The programme continues to deliver approximately 160,000 FREE lessons each year to over 18,000 children in Year’s 3, 4, 5 and 6 from 91 Primary schools across Auckland South.

The programme incorporates the 27 skills from Water Skills for Life programme.

Lessons are held at Manurewa Aquatic Centre, Papatoetoe Centennial Pools, Otara Leisure Centre, Moana Nui A Kiwa Leisure Centre in Mangere, Lloyd Elsmore Park Leisure Centre Pakuranga and are also available at schools with their own pools.

Programme Benefits

  • Early intervention programme in partnership with schools to build water confidence and swimming schools.
  • Barrier free programme approach – with transport provided for schools.
  • Early start to promoting aquatics as a physical activity.
  • Partnership with Drowning Prevention Auckland in their delivery of Aquatic Education in Schools programme
  • Children’s water safety skills are recorded on Water Safety New Zealand database

Check out our pictorial history of Community Swim here

Find out more

To find out more about Community Swim, please contact

Tesema Pakileata (Tess) – Community Swim Programme Manager
Mobile: 022 043 4910

Schools interested in participating in the Community Swim programme can email: tess@swimgym.nz