RAPs supports the Sri Lanka Women’s Swimming Project

I can swim

RAPs is delighted to be supporting the Sri Lanka Women’s Swimming Project, and welcome their staff on board as RAPs members.

Founded by Christina Fonfe after the 2004 tsunami, The Sri Lanka Women’s Swimming Project uniquely overcomes social and cultural issues to address the global drowning problem by giving free swimming lessons to women and teenage girls in complete privacy, on the premise that if they can swim, they will teach their children also.

The Project also gives free training to women swimmers to qualify them as Swimming Teachers to internationally recognised standards and helps them to find careers in teaching swimming as well as giving free lessons to those learning to swim with the project.

So how can this be achieved?

Their approach is to begin swimming training based on maximising survival. The project’s initial objective is to make the ability to float-and-breathe in a back-float for long periods the instinctive, default, zero-energy-expenditure, resting swim position for all our swimmers. In this way, they can guarantee themselves a clear airway immediately after any awkward entry and total submersion and can maintain this balanced and relaxed position effortlessly.

Unlike in the UK, the teachers involved in the project avoid calling their students swimmers and certificate them in stages as ‘Survivors’ for set lengths of time and distance until they can float for 10 minutes and swim 100 metres. At this point they get the ‘I can swim, Can you?‘ certificate, which effectively is a ‘Passport’ to safe swimming in any pool.

With the awareness that swimming in anything other than a clean, clear pool can bring on a rush of frightening new experiences which can overwhelm their limited skills, this project has invented a ‘Visa’ to cover swimming in the sea, which requires a 15 minute float and a 400m sea swim, plus exposure to waves, rocks and currents.

The overall aim is to make people feel safe in water so they can freely and safely enjoy the same benefits of swimming, which is currently enjoyed by most tourists.

“We believe making people safe in water calls for just as much professionalism as is it required to teach competitive swimming” said Christina Fonfe, Founder of The Sri Lanka Women’s Swimming Project.

Greg Small, Head of Memberships for RAPs had this to say about the project;

“We are delighted to be supporting such a worthy cause. It’s fantastic see to that this project is making a real impact to the lives of women and children in Sri Lanka, with over 2,000 women now being able to swim and we hope for this work to continue.

He continued to say, “RAPs is 100% behind the Sri Lanka Women’s Swimming Project  by ensuring that their staff are supported throughout their careers with on-going professional development through RAPs”.

The Project is the only non-state member of the International Federation of Swimming Teachers Associations, who’s UK Swimming Teacher Certificates are recognised internationally. The Project also gives training in Pool Maintenance, Pool Rescue, Resuscitation (CPR) and First-Aid.

The following women are now all part of the Register of Aquatic Professionals, and despite all the odds have managed impact the lives of others through swimming.

sumudu and induSumudu (right) and Indu (left)

Sumudu taught herself to swim in a crocodile infested lagoon and qualified with Indu, her cousin, who just won a severely contested state scholarship to read law and came to the project as a complete non-swimmer, within six months she too had qualified as a swimming teacher. Finally there is Sanduni who, with no school qualifications to speak of, was saved from a life in the garment factory by learning to swim with Christina at age 16 and went on at age 21 to become a Head of Juniors Swim Coach at an academy run by Sri Lanka’s only swimming Olympian, she is now in Abu Dhabi working at an all-female swim academy teaching Muslim women to swim.

To find out more about the project and the work Christina and her team are doing please visit http://www.icanswimcanyou.com/

Steve Parry introduces RAPs

IMG_3737 Edited

What a busy few months it’s been here it at RAPs HQ!

First of all we’d like to start off by saying a big thank you to all for joining the Register. Our progress would not be possible without your support!

Last month we had our official launch, hosted by Olympic medallist Steve Parry. Which took place at the Greenwich Leisure Ltd owned Oasis Sports Centre swimming pool. The launch was attended by both aquatic industry leaders and sport stars alike.

The event also included a Q&A panel session which saw David Sparkes OBE (ASA), Roger Millward (STA), Tara Dillon (IQL, the awarding arm of the RLSS) take questions from the floor, where key aquatic issues were addressed.

Here’s what Steve Parry had to say about the Register:

“The Register of Aquatic Professionals will go a long way to strengthen the credibility of the aquatic industry. We can be assured that those on this Register are fully qualified and hold the latest, relevant qualifications.”  

Steve continued:

“Ensuring there is quality and professionalism throughout this industry is a must, and I am delighted that the Register of Aquatic Professionals is actively addressing this major issue. Employers can now easily indentify the best qualified staff and can rest easy in the knowledge that those working in this industry are up to the task”.

Stuart Wilson, Sector Lead for RAPs, added:

“The launch event was a fantastic success and RAPs will give the guidance and confidence to parents that their chosen swimming instructors meet the relevant industry standards. Looking for private instructors can seem like a minefield at times but the process can be made easier by checking RAPs and seeking out accredited professionals.” 

Below is a short film of the launch day including interviews with our partners ASA, RLSS and STA .

RAPs at LIW

liw

We’re really excited about attending Leisure Industry Week (LIW) for the first time in September.

The event, taking place at the NEC in Birmingham, is a fantastic chance for us to share the progress of the Register of Aquatic Professionals (RAPs), and let you all know about the future plans for the Register.

As well as manning a stand, we will also be running a unique, educational session at the three-day exhibition.

When: 11:30 – 12:15, Thursday 26th September

Where: Keynote Theatre, Birmingham NEC

Single Qualification Framework (SQF) and Traineeships in the Leisure Industry

Led by SkillsActive’s Head of Standards and Qualifications, Stuart Turner, this session offers a unique opportunity for those in the industry to discuss and address some key issues concerning RAPs, including the SQF structure, along with traineeships and career pathways in the industry.

Places for the session are limited, and you must inform RAPs of your attendance in advance. Just email RSVP@skillsactive.com to confirm you would like to attend. Just make sure you mention the date and event in your email.

LIW is the UK’s leading exhibition for the leisure industry. This annual trade show connects you the with the latest products, services, brands, and innovations the industry has to offer and with the attendance of leading companies and industry experts you will be able to see what’s new on the market, and be inspired to develop fresh ideas and experiences for your members and customers.

What’s even better is that if you register in advance it is free for you to attend! However, non-registered visitors will have to pay a £30 entry fee on the door. So why not register your attendance today by visiting the LIW website. We hope to see you all there!

RAPsRegister_Button