2 Apr 2012

Free swim classes for thousands of Auckland children

9:02 am on 2 April 2012

A $500,000 grant from Water Safety New Zealand is expected to benefit 37,000 Auckland children.

The money will be spent on free swimming lessons for children participating in the Greater Auckland Aquatic Action Plan which was trialled in 40 schools last year.

Water Safety New Zealand says the plan is to extend the initiative to more than 200 Auckland schools.

Chief executive Matthew Claridge says the money will pay for ten lessons per student each year over four years.

He told Morning Report it is hoped that will reverse a trend that has seen a decline in children's swimming skills.

He says officials will track what the children can do at the start of the first lesson and end of the last one.

"The benchmark to compare against is the 2008 AC Neilson survey info which tells us that only a quarter of New Zealand kids could swim 50 metres.