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Home News Swim to Survive program benefits both students and student instructors

Swim to Survive program benefits both students and student instructors

Swim to Survive program benefits both students and student instructors
Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Carlton Comprehensive High School student Jenna Pshebnicki worked with Grade 5 students from John Diefenbaker School as part of the Swim to Survive program at Frank Dunn Pool on Wednesday.

Since 2009 the Swim to Survive program has operated at the Frank Dunn Pool.

The program teaches Grade 4 and Grade 5 students in the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division some basic skills to survive if they fall in deep water.

On Wednesday morning at Frank Dunn a Grade 5 class from John Diefenbaker School was in attendance for the program. Lauren Haubrich,Recreation Coordinator – Aquatics for the City of Prince Albert, said the Swim to Survive program outlines the minimum level of swimming skill every Canadian should have to survive an unexpected fall into deep water.

“It includes a roll into deep water, treading water for one minute and then swimming (for) 15 metres,” she explained. “The swimming lessons that we have here focus on the Swim to Survive standard because that’s more important than how your swimming strokes are and all of that other stuff.”

Swim to Survive not only teaches younger students how to swim, it also gives older students a chance to teach. High school students from Carlton Comprehensive High School teach the program as part of a work credit experience.

“Then the students that come are Grade 4 and 5,” Haubrich explained. “Today it’s John Diefenbaker. Tomorrow these kids come again but we have had John Diefenbaker, Riverside, Queen Mary and Westview.”

Grade 4 and 5 students registered through the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division are given the opportunity to participate.

The Lifesaving Society believes that Swim to Survive is an important step to being safe around water. Although the program is aimed primarily at children, people of all ages should be able to perform the Swim to Survive standard. Research shows that most Canadian drownings occur within 15 meters of safety.

Rayne Cyr, a Grade 12 student in her second year in Swim to Survive, acted as Lifeguard on duty on Wednesday. The experience of learning Swim to Survive has taught Cyr the importance of lessons.

“I have really learnt that swimming lessons are so important and it is so crazy how many kids around our community never got to take lessons and just how beneficial that they can be in their lives,” Cyr said.

Instructors like Cyr evaluate each student on whether they are able to complete the full Swim to Survive standard.

Although the program is operated by Saskatchewan Rivers, City of Prince Albert staff supervise the program. The six high school students rotate through the roles in the Swim to Survive.

On Wednesday morning, Cyr was acting as Lifeguard. She did not do the program herself as a student but learned it as part of the training to become an instructor.

“Our Swim to Survive standard is actually included in Swimmer 3, so if you took lessons you would have taken it, so I did take it through lessons,” she explained.

The program lasts between 9:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. with in-water lessons first, followed by free time. Students then travel to the designated gym and do a dry land Water Smart activity. Students are then picked up by a bus and return to their school.

Cyr thinks the program is beneficial as a whole.

“I just think it’s a really great program,” she said. “I think it’s awesome for all of these kids to learn to swim, whether they have taken lessons before or not, it’s different.”

According to the 2021-2022 final report, 174 students attended the program.

michael.oleksyn@paherald.sk.ca