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Sundre residents issued Swim to Survive challenge

Participants must tread water for one minute before swimming 50-metres to safety

SUNDRE — Would you be able to survive unexpectedly falling from a boat into deep water?

The Sundre & District Aquatic Society is urging residents to find out for themselves and to be prepared for an unplanned and potentially life-threatening plunge.

“We would like to challenge the entire Sundre community to attempt the Swim to Survive standard,” the not-for-profit organization that oversees the operation of the Sundre Aquaplex said recently in a written statement.

In March, River Valley School students were once again welcomed back at the indoor pool for the first time since March 2020 when pandemic protocols shut down the facility, with Grade 4 and 5 classes now being introduced to the Lifesaving Society’s Swim to Survive program.

The program also sets a baseline standard that defines the basic ability to swim as the three skills needed to survive an unexpected fall into deep water: roll entry into deep water; treading water for one minute; and then swimming 50-metres to safety.  

“These skills make up one of the content streams in the Swim for Life program, which will be replacing the Red Cross swim lesson program nationwide by January 2023,” reads a portion of the society’s statement.  

Only about half of Canadian children are enrolled in organized swimming lessons as a result of any number of factors such as financial, cultural, or social concerns. With the help of organizations like the aquatic society, the Lifesaving Society, and schools like River Valley working together, the goal is to increase the number of participants in programs like Swim to Survive.   

So, it is hoped that programs like Swim to Survive will play an important part in helping to reduce the number of fatal and non-fatal water-related accidents and drownings.

More than half a dozen aquafit participants had attempted and successfully completed the challenge as of the time the society issued its statement late in April.  

Pool staff also received feedback from a parent who had a child that was crying and initially refused to take part in school swim lessons.

But every effort is made to level the playing field and be inclusive to ensure people of all ages and skill levels are comfortable as they progress.

“This program begins with everyone in a lifejacket and progresses from there,” the aquatic society said, adding the aforementioned student ended up discovering before long a keen affinity for lessons and now craves even more.

“With this newfound confidence, these participants can then achieve more skills — with or without a lifejacket or flotation devices — and progress to more advanced skills, with a focus on their own personal safety and the safety of their peers.”  

Visit the Aquaplex’s social media pages or website,, for more information about the society and all of the programs available at Sundre’s indoor pool.

Alternatively, check out and click on 'Swim to Survive' under the homepage's 'Water Smart Education' tab to learn more about the program.

•    RELATED: Red Cross pulls out of swimming programs

Simon Ducatel

About the Author: Simon Ducatel

Simon Ducatel joined Mountain View Publishing in 2015 after working for the Vulcan Advocate since 2007, and graduated among the top of his class from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology's journalism program in 2006.
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