Former Olympic Gold Medallist and swimming safety advocate, Dr Shane Gould, is in Fiji to prepare to conduct a ‘Training the Trainers” program in Suva in March for swim trainers and coaches in collaboration with the Fiji Sports Council (FSC).

Dr
Gould, a former Nadi Resident, arrived in the country on the 10th of
February, saying that the program would not only encompass competitive swim
training, but water safety and drowning prevention as well.

She
and her husband, world-renowned swim coach and aquatics programming expert
Milton Nelms, have been visiting Fiji since 2005, and were concerned to hear of the
many drowning cases that occurred here.

 “We did some investigations all over Fiji and
have since developed and delivered programs to try and reduce the incidences of
drowning and uplift swimming skills,” she said. ‘There is a shortage of
teachers but a high demand of learners. We plan to build on recent community
programs to train more teachers and upskill the leaders.”

FSC Chief
Executive and member of the Water Safety Council, Litiana Loabuka, said that
she was thrilled that the Australian duo have agreed to make time to upskill
the FSC staff and other interested trainers – with more trainings anticipated
for May as well.

“As an advocate
for water safety, I do believe that the benefits of this partnership will be
immense for us, and we are fortunate that Dr Gould and Milton Nelms have
confirmed that they may be available to conduct this for FSC this year” the CEO
said.

The Olympic
legend’s current 10-day visit will also provide time for preliminary research
into the “Culture of Swimming in Fiji”, which Dr Gould believes, would be
useful in designing water safety policy, specific to our local demographic.

“The training of
trainer’s program is a short-term solution; we are also looking at conducting
in-depth investigations into the cultural aspects of how Fijians behave around
and interact with water systems – with consideration for modern behaviours and
historical knowledge,” she said.

Dr Gould
reiterated that possessing good swimming skills is not only beneficial to a
person’s health and lifestyle, but that it could also create practical
employment opportunities.

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