Nestled in the beautiful shores of Margaret River in Western Australia is Swimming Women – a haven for women from all backgrounds where they can have fun in a no-pressure environment and improve their swimming.
The program is aimed at all women – whether they can swim, used to swim, want to learn to swim or have never swum at all and runs in Margaret River, Busselton and Dunsborough.
The Swimming Women program hits the mark of an often-forgotten group – adult women who have never learnt to swim. It gives the women who participate crucial life skills and confidence, given that the coast is such a big part of their environment.
Charlotte O'Beirne is the founder and CEO of Swimming Women and started it in 2013, seeing a gap in the market aimed at teaching women to swim. Within the first week of launching they had 40 bookings for the program and have subsequently had 1200 women participate in the program.
O’Beirne said the idea came to her while thinking about opportunities for women to come together to swim.
“I began Swimming Women in 2013, I missed my tribe of early morning swimmers and realised there was nothing available specifically for women to come together, learn to swim and practice their swimming, yet there were a myriad of gym classes,” she said.
“I thought, why can’t there be a swim program on offer that removes all the barriers women place on themselves? So, I thought I had to give it a go, put it out there, and see what happens”.
In late 2019 Swimming Women were successful recipients of a Swimming Australia Community Grant. The grant has enabled Swimming Women to reach out and offer the Swimming Women program to a previously untapped group of women - who may have not ever considered learning to swim.
O’Beirne said the grant allowed her to get the program to more women in the area.
“Having the grant from Swimming Australia and Sport Australia has been the greatest opportunity to look outside our box and target people that never wanted to learn to swim and say we have this amazing program and it is just for you,” she said.
They run CALD classes on a weekly basis which have included participants from Kurdistan, Mongolia, China, Japan, Germany, Austria, Thailand, Brazil, plus many more who have since become part of this passionate family of women.
Participants in the Swimming Women program are taught to swim and so much more. Reaping the excellent physical and mental health benefits that swimming brings as well as confidence, courage, and the chance to achieve things that previously they thought was beyond them.
Program participant Andre Quintero said Swimming Women had given her so much confidence.
“Being in this program has given me more confidence of what I am and what I can do and what I can become, it shows me if I can do it, everyone can do it,” she said.
Under the Move It AUS- Participation Grants Program, Swimming Australia has committed to provide diverse community groups with funding to aid their aquatic programs. The program has invested a total of almost $600,000 into 27 community grants and 11 strategic partnerships that has reached more than 7,000 participants in 84 different locations throughout Australia.
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