Little life-savers: Rookie lifeguards dive into water safety programme

Splash instructor Ryan Swift with Rookie Lifeguard course members. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Splash instructor Ryan Swift with Rookie Lifeguard course members. Photo: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

Sheringham leisure centre Splash is appealing to eight-12-year-olds to brush up on their water safety skills, by signing up for its Rookie lifeguard programme.

14-year-old Jacob Zeilig demonstrates an extended arm tow on Jack Watts, 10. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

14-year-old Jacob Zeilig demonstrates an extended arm tow on Jack Watts, 10. Photo: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

The scheme, which is part of the Amateur Swimming Association Learn to Swim Pathway, aims to equip children with survival and rescue skills through a series of fun activities.

Following a syllabus developed by the Royal Life Saving Society, youngsters work their way through bronze, silver and gold awards, gaining badges as they go.

The course, which is suitable for all abilities, from beginners, to confident swimmers, covers topics ranging from treading water and carrying out rescues using torpedo buoys, to preserving energy by swimming using only the hands – known as 'skulling' – and working on 'dry' skills including assessment and resuscitation of a casualty.

Eleven-year-old Mia Clarke demonstrates an extended arm tow on fellow Rookie Lifeguard course member

Eleven-year-old Mia Clarke demonstrates an extended arm tow on fellow Rookie Lifeguard course member April Haywood, 13. Photo: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

Course instructor Ryan Swift, 21, runs classes with Splash duty manager and training assessor Ash Allen, who organised a Rookie information day at the centre last week.


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Mr Swift, who, with Mr Allen, is also running Save a Life resuscitation classes for youngsters at Sheringham Primary School, said the programme aimed to promote water safety, help youngsters develop team-building and peer support skills and equip them with basic life-saving skills.

'Particularly living by the seaside, I think that swimming is a fundamental skill that all children should learn,' he added. 'And not only does the course show them the importance of being careful around water, it also gives them the chance to learn how to potentially save someone's life.'

Rookie Lifeguard classes are being held at Sheringham leisure centre Splash to mark Drowning Prevent

Rookie Lifeguard classes are being held at Sheringham leisure centre Splash to mark Drowning Prevention Week. Picture: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

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Eleven-year-old Sheringham Primary School pupil Margot Banks, who was been attending Rookie Lifeguard classes for nearly a year, said the sessions were a great way of having fun and making friends, at the same time as learning useful skills.

'It is great having a go at swimming in your clothes,' she added. 'And it is a good thing to learn how to save lives knowing that you could be there to help someone in trouble in the water.'

Rookie Lifeguard classes run at Splash Leisure and Fitness Centre, Sheringham, on Mondays from 6-7pm. For more information, or to book, phone Splash on 01263 825675.

Rookie Lifeguard course members Ronnie Mills, 12 and Rudy Haywood, 13. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Rookie Lifeguard course members Ronnie Mills, 12 and Rudy Haywood, 13. Photo: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

Fourteen-year-old Jacob Zeilig using a torpedo buoy to tow Rudy Haywood, 13, to safety. Photo: KAREN

Fourteen-year-old Jacob Zeilig using a torpedo buoy to tow Rudy Haywood, 13, to safety. Photo: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

Splash Sheringham Rookie Lifeguard course members in action. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Splash Sheringham Rookie Lifeguard course members in action. Photo: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

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