‘They’ve grown in confidence’

For a group of young Wanaka people with learning disabilities, such as  Louis Wilson (10), ...
For a group of young Wanaka people with learning disabilities, such as Louis Wilson (10), swimming lessons provided by Becky Bannister over the past month have given them confidence in their abilities and seen them progress to new heights. Photo: Sean Nugent
An initiative at the Wanaka Pool is helping a group of people with learning disabilities brim with confidence.

Having seen there was nothing on offer to help those with varying disabilities learn how to swim, Wanaka Pool swim teacher Becky Bannister decided to start a two-month course  specifically designed to improve the skills and confidence of people with learning disabilities.

Yesterday marked a month into the course, held once a week on Sunday mornings, and Ms Bannister said her 10 students, mainly children, had already made "massive improvements".

"They’ve grown in confidence in everything. They’re swimming independently and they’ve been proud of themselves as well. It’s been awesome to see."

Some of the group had progressed enough to be able to swim 50m in the main lap pool.

One of the children’s parents, Leanne Little, said the lessons allowed for more one-on-one time between teacher and student, which was very beneficial and something that was harder to get in normal learn-to-swim classes.

"They do need a bit more one-on-one attention and with this there’s more time available for each person.

"The skills they learn are going to transfer, not just the swimming but also muscle development, which is important," she said.

A group of the older children would also be taking part in the Ruby Island swim race in late January, which was a "great step", she said.


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