Tracey Ayton, co-founder and CEO of Little Heroes Swim Academy for able and disabled children, is a Water Warrior and Ambassador for the Australian Swim Schools Association’s water safety campaign SAFERWater Warriors, which is aimed at children under-five years of age.
Passionate about water safety, Ayton has just released a new book, Learn to Swim, which guides parents in teaching their baby or toddler the basics of swimming and water familiarisation in the lead up to, and in conjunction with, swimming lessons.
Ayton’s swim school also runs special swim “between the flags” programs for disabled children on Bondi Beach with Bruce “Hoppo” Watkins of Bondi Rescue supporting the event.
Her next step is to open a swim centre dedicated specifically to students with a disability.
The SAFERWater Warriors campaign involves five superheroes who all have powers that align with ASSA’s SAFERswimming Layers of Protection messages: constant adult supervision, proper barriers, swimming and water safety skills, and the emergency action plan.
In order to stay true to the vital messages, a “responsible adult” superhero, Yindy, watches over the other four superheroes to educate, lead and guide them. Yindy is akin to Professor Dumbledore or Yoda.
The name has been derived from Yindyamarra, an Australian first nation’s word that is often translated as respect. However, it has multiple meanings including, to give honour, to slow, and to take responsibility.
Skye’s superpower is her vision, the ability to spot situations where supervision is needed. Because Skye is a child, she’s not the one to supervise herself, but to raise awareness, remind those adults who should be supervising, to caution other children who should be supervised, and acknowledge those supervising correctly. Skye has a badge on her belt, with her symbolic all-seeing eye maintaining a vigilant watch.
Force’s special ability is the power of protection. He’s really good at making sure fences and barriers are in place to reduce the risk, and to also make sure they are working, and being used. If that pool gate gets left open, Force will spot it and remind everyone it needs to be shut and also be the first to cheer you on when barriers are used correctly. On Force’s badge is the venerable pool fence.
Glide is really good at her swimming and water safety skills, but also knows how important those skills are and is the greatest champion at making sure those skills are learned early and practiced consistently through the year. Glide will be the one to make sure kids keep up their lessons and learn the correct behaviours in and around the water. Glide’s badge features a swimmer in the water to let everyone know that aspect of water safety can’t be forgotten.
Dash is all about emergency planning, and if something were to happen, he’s super quick to act – he knows what to do because he’s planned well. If someone goes missing, Dash will be first to remind everyone to check the pool first, and to alert an adult if anyone is in trouble. If help is needed he knows all about CPR. Dash’s badge is reminder that help needs to be close by and easy to contact, and that time is of the essence.
Learn to Swim is selling from $19.99 from book shops and www.booktopia.com.au.
Image: Tracey Ayton with a poster for Glide, part of the SAFERWater Warriors campaign