Local kids in swim benefits study

SPALSHING OUT: Bonnie Lanham with baby Ruby at Geelong Aquatic Centre. Picture: REG RYAN 94307

BABIES and pre-schoolers who learn to swim reach developmental milestones ahead of land-restricted peers, according to a study involving local children.
Griffith University researchers included swim schools at Geelong and Leopold when surveying parents of 7000 under-fives in eastern Australia over three years.
Lead researcher Professor Robyn Jorgensen said the study showed young children participating in early-years swimming achieved a wider range of skills earlier.
“Many of these skills are those that help young children into the transition into formal learning contexts such as pre-school or school.
“The research also found significant differences between the swimming cohort and non-swimmers regardless of socio-economic background.”
Geelong Aquatic Centre’s Debbie Gill believed immersing children in the “different medium” of water helped their development.
“It’s a foreign environment and we have to learn so much to be safer in it, so that it stimulates other learning development.”
Leopold Swim School’s Rebecca Andrewartha said she had noticed that children undertaking swimming lessons appeared to have better coordination and motor skills.