Macquarie University international students learn to swim for free on campus to make the most of Sydney’s beach lifestyle and stay safe in the water.
Swimming and study is part of everyday life for many Macquarie students. On campus at the Sport and Aquatic Centre, there is a 50m swimming pool and a 25m indoor pool. Off campus, students enjoy the harbour and Sydney’s famous beaches.
To help international students be safe in the water and improve their swimming ability Macquarie runs the free SwimSafe Warriors program. It is specifically designed for international students and is funded by the Royal Lifesaving Society (RLS).
“We base it on the RLS Bronze Medallion survival skills,” explains Macquarie Swim School leader Paige Grant, who created the program. “It helps international students learn about Australian water and also it is a great way to involve students.” Separate learn to swim classes for adults and children are available at the Centre.
As well as learning to float, survival strokes and freestyle, the program covers water safety topics, including pool and beach safety warnings, and how to identify different dangers. In six weeks the students from China, UK, Nepal and Brazil had progressed from being unable to swim to doing basic freestyle, with lots of laughing and splashing along the way.
“I lived in the country so I never learnt to swim,” says Maicom Vallera Cost, who is studying a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. He is learning with fellow Brazilians, Elisa Fernandes and Pedro Coelho Torres, studying a Bachelor of Information Technology; UK Study Abroad law students, Tiksi Sribalakrishnon and Kimberley Duah, and Emily Su, who is studying a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies.
“I want to learn to swim to enjoy the beach with friends,” says Emily, from China.
Ditto for Kimberley and Tiksi, who came to Macquarie in July and are thrilled the sun is out for their last swim lesson. After the lesson they stay in the pool with Sneha Joshi, from Nepal.
“We want to go to the beach and enjoy the sun. That’s why we are in Sydney,” says Kimberley.
The Macquarie University Sport and Aquatic Centre has two pools, gyms, squash and fitness studios. There are also many social and competitive sport teams.