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Club and Community | 10 March 2023

Swimming off the blocks to create a BNE32 Olympic and Paralympic legacy for all Australians

Peak governing body Swimming Australia is off the blocks and powering through the water to deliver an impactful legacy for the sport in every aspect and across the nation out of the home Olympic and Paralympic Games in Brisbane 2032.

Click here to give us your feedback as part of the BNE32 Legacy Survey.

Swimming Australia CEO Eugenie Buckley has announced the commencement of a far-reaching consultation process with swimming’s diverse stakeholders to ensure our home Games makes a real and positive difference to all Australians, from their safety in the water to their health and wellbeing, through to high performance and legacy infrastructure for swimming.

Swimming for Australia is the power sport of the Olympics and Paralympics, and expectations will be high for our Dolphins to bring home the gold in 2032. It is critical in the lead up to BNE32 and beyond, we deliver a positive legacy for all Australians, from our elite athletes through to the 5.6 million Australians who are part of our growing community,” Ms Buckley said.

This is our decade of opportunity, to lead the Australian sporting landscape. We swim before we walk, and we swim when we can’t walk. Swimming could deliver our greatest Olympic and Paralympic legacy out of Brisbane 2032.

The Legacy Strategy will consider social impacts including First Nations, health and wellbeing, inclusion, participation growth and access to swimming spots. And it will consider the drivers for high performance pathway and success.

Australian Olympian and one of the greatest long-distance swimmers in history, Grant Hackett, will Chair the Legacy Impact Strategy Advisory Committee that will provide input, along with considerable community contribution.

It’s imperative that we take every opportunity to leverage once in a lifetime events such as the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Having a dedicated and passionate committee focused on maximising the outcomes from hosting the Games ensures its everlasting impact on our sport and community.

Developing a strong and inspiring legacy unequivocally helps support the dreams and aspirations of future generations in swimming.” Grant Hackett said.

Given swimming is the greatest participation sport by far in Australia, the Legacy Strategy consultation process will consider the need for legacy infrastructure from the home Olympics and Paralympics to support future high performance and participation outcomes. Other questions include how swimming can improve access to qualified coaching and facilities.

Access to learn to swim lessons to address the concerning drowning statistics is a priority for the Legacy Strategy. They particularly want to target remote communities, migrants, First Nations communities and all young children, including those who were unable to access learn to swim lessons during the pandemic.

The statistics are alarming. Overseas born residents average 73 drownings per year, and Australia averages 500 non-fatal drowning incidents a year, with children aged 0-14 representing more than half of these incidents. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make up 5% of all drowning fatalities, while only accounting for 3% of the population. Every Australian should have the opportunity to learn to swim, and as an island nation it is vital that those services are adequately provided.

For Afghanistan refugee Zarin Hakimi, swimming has opened a new career and an opportunity to help hundreds of other refugee women learn to swim for safety and for enjoyment.

Youngest of five, the 22-year-old fled Afghanistan with her family in 2021 as her country fell under control of the Taliban. Introduced to The Aqua English swimming program by her teacher at TAFE adult English classes, Zarin went from student to swim teacher in three months.

I feel very good, you bring a lot of smiles to a lot of people,” Zarin said, “they do a starfish float and are calling out look I can do it!,” Zarin said, “it’s everything to me,”

And it’s so important in Australia. We have a lot of pools in this country, so learn to swim is more than a hobby, it’s lifesaving.

Zarin is one of several learn to swim teachers across a number of pools in Logan City, where 80 to 100 refugee women mostly young mums aged between twenty to thirty years of age, attend lessons every Saturday.

For Zarin, one of the areas she would like swimming to explore is childcare, to ensure her students can always attend, even when dad is working.

Stakeholders from across the swimming community will attend a series of roundtables in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and online. And everyone with an interest in the sport is invited to contribute to an online survey that has gone live today.

Swimming Australia plans to deliver the BNE32 Legacy Impact Strategy in July 2023.

To visit the BNE32 Legacy page click here.

To participate in the survey click here.