Camden Haven swimming instructor Caitlin Selmes writes that swimming lessons teach you more than strokes

Caitlin Slemes

Caitlin Slemes

“I don’t know if it was my subconscious or God but the voice in my head said, Stop Fighting!”

It may have been God, it may have been her subconscious but “stop fighting” had become a conscious thought to Samantha Morley and it proved to be her saviour. It opened the gate to information which she had learnt previously that would save her life.

This was the moment that saved a mother of two in a rescue at South Beach recently.  

A family is alive today thanks to skills and knowledge. Being able to think in a crisis comes with having skills and knowledge to over-ride the panic that so often results in the death of a person in difficulty in the water.

Swimming on a patrolled beach, swim fitness, survival skills and surf education are all so important when living in a coastal environment. According to Royal Life Saving, the most drownings in 2015/16 occurred at beaches closely followed by inland waters.

Using survival skills to increase your chances in an aquatic environment can be learnt. There is more to swimming than just swimming strokes.  

Living on land, breathing and movement come naturally to most of us. Some of us are less agile, however, we don’t normally think about the next breath we are going to take. Breathing and movement in water efficiently, requires training not only your body but your brain. You have to learn to breath in water and use it’s buoyancy to an advantage. It doesn’t usually come naturally unless you’re a fish.    

As a swim teacher and a mum, this story is close to my heart. So quickly life can be taken and yet with a little education what was nearly a tragedy was turned into a triumph.  

So, I encourage anyone who is thinking about learning to swim to get in and learn. It does get more difficult as you get older. Take the opportunity to book in to swimming lessons provided at your local pools, become involved in your local surf club. The education department together with Royal Life Saving provide fantastic programs to schools that are taught using qualified swim instructors together with lots of great information on their websites.

Don’t be embarrassed to admit you can’t swim.  

Learn to Swim and Survive today!

Caitlin Selmes is a swimming instructor and was prompted to write an article after reading Samantha Morley's story of survival in the May 8 edition of the newspaper.