Austswim’s Making Aquatics a Terrific Experience (MATE) workshop program has quadrupled its course numbers and is now offering them nationally.
Olympic swimmer Brooke Hanson – an Austswim Ambassador and the SPLASH! 2022 keynote speaker – helped launch the MATE program 10 years ago. She says the aim remains the same: to make access to aquatics easier for people living with a disability, medical condition or injury.
“With one in six people in Australia now living with a disability, the need for the program is greater than ever,” she says.
“The workshops give people the information, skills and confidence to allow a person under their care to enjoy the water. There are so many developmental, physical, psychological, and emotional impacts swimming provides. Being in the water is a very levelling experience and this program promotes accessibility and encourages people to participate more in the aquatic industry.
“There will be close to 60 courses available across the country in 2022, adding to the hundreds and hundreds of people Austswim has already helped foster their love of the water since the program was created in 2012.”
Kids Alive managing director, Emma Lawrence, says the MATE program had been instrumental in helping more Australians enjoy the water and ensure families were safer in the water.
“We fully endorse Austswim’s MATE program as we personally know family members, carers, disability leaders, team leaders and early childcare educators who have completed the program, and it has enabled them to help young people they support discover a sense of freedom by being in the water more often,” Lawrence says.
“This program helps fulfill the cycle of water safety and education that is imperative to making people more confident and safer in the water, and thus impacting drowning statistics.”