Grey brigade’s getting back into the swim(ing) of things

March 20, 2017

Grey Medallions program participants from its trial run - Jeanette Maloney, David Morgan and Judith Morgan.

SAVE grandchildren, loved ones and look after yourself — over 55s now have access to training to play it safe by the water.

The Grey Medallion award program is being offered at the Echuca War Memorial Aquatic Centre (EWMAC) after a successful trial in 2016.

Campaspe aquatics and leisure services co-ordinator Ash Crimmins said the program, recognised through the Royal Life Saving Society, aimed to reduce drowning rates and encourage healthy, independent and active lifestyles.

“The Grey Medallion program promotes water safety and aquatic participation by older members of our community so they can enjoy water-based exercise and activities with confidence and a greater level of competence,” Mr Crimmins said.

“People who took part in the four-week trial last year gave positive feedback about the program so we are offering an eight-week course for two hours a week, starting in May.’’

EWMAC’s Shirley Milgate, accredited facilitator of the program, said five people took part in the trial and she would love to see the number jump to 10 this time.

“The program was sparked by 2015 to 2016 drowning report statistics which showed an increase in the number of deaths in the over 55s,” she said.

“There are no prerequisites for the program, you can be a non-swimmer and take part.”

Participants will receive theory and practical pool sessions with ongoing assessment across the course and on completion receive their medallion.

Water safety knowledge, resuscitation and emergency care, aquatic exercise, personal survival and lifesaving skills are the four key components of the program.

Echuca was one of the only regional facilities in Victoria to trial the program last year with participants giving it a big thumbs up.

Vietnam veteran David Morgan and wife Judy achieved their medallions in the trial and said it was something they would recommend to everyone.

“As I’m ex-navy a lot of the content was a refresher for me but it’s always good to update, especially CPR,” David said.

“We have grandchildren and we are near the river and it’s good to know what to look for to help us be more vigilant.

“It’s important to remember we’re not 20 any more and we need to keep within our abilities, having these skills means we can help our loved ones and not drown ourselves in the process.”

Registrations close on May 2. The program costs $60 per participant.

The first session starts at 9am on May 3. For more information or to register phone 5480 2994.

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