Returning to the pool

After almost eight months out of action, aquatic facilities – including both indoor and outdoor swimming pools – are back, and providing a safe place to return to swimming and plenty of opportunities for local employment this summer.

“Victorian pools are open across the state, but we’ve seen unprecedented changes in how prepared the community is to return to aquatic environments,” said RJ Houston, LSV’s Manager – Pool Safety.  

Factors such as reduced swimming ability (particularly in children who missed swimming lessons during lockdown), lack of overall physical activity, and time away from the water are all contributing to lower levels of skill and fitness related preparedness. 

Returning swimmers who think they can swim the same number of laps in the same time as they did previously, without easing back into swimming, could end up in trouble,” said Mr Houston. “This summer, it will be about being aware of your own skills and limitations.”  

“Extra care should also be taken bringing infants to the pool for the first time and we remind parents to actively supervise children,” said Mr Houston 

“It’s great to see children getting back into swimming lessons and it’s anticipated that intensive holiday programs will be particularly popular. We encourage people to consider giving the gift of swimming lessons this Christmas.” 

Aquatic environments are widely regarded for their social, health and wellbeing benefits, and the implementation of enhanced COVID-Safe measures (written by LSV for the aquatic industry) will help to keep patrons and staff safe, while not detracting from existing water safety measures and messages. 

Current restrictions have opened up indoor pools, including swimming lessons, with a cap of 150 patrons, subject to density requirements and no group size limits. Outdoor pools, including swimming lessons, can open with a cap of 300 patrons, subject to density requirements, with no group size limit.  

While staffing challenges, in both aquatic management and service staff level, have presented issues for this hard-hit industry, there’s an exciting opportunity for new and returning staff to get qualified and take up employment opportunities that are available in many centres, in an industry with a total statewide workforce of 40,000 people. 

“Now is a great time to become a pool lifeguard, swim teacher or customer service representative and it’s always a great time to learn to save a life or teach a life skill,” said Mr Houston 

“It’s a very important industry employing 74% females and many parents who enjoy the part-time or casual nature of aquatic employment, as well as young people wanting their first job to fit around training or education commitments.” 

The aquatic industry supports flexibility and diversity and is a great industry to support because money goes directly back into the local community and each visit to an aquatic centre has been shown to generate $26 in economic benefit. 

“As an industry, we’re more engaged and connected than ever with lifesaving and community safety,” said Mr Houston “We’re all very committed to getting people back into pools.” 

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