Overcoming Uncertainty

We introduced the swimming program to CTYD out of a uniquely Capetonian need: our close proximity to the ocean. Many South African adults never learned to swim in their youth. As a result, they have grown fearful of the water and often pass this anxiety onto their children. We want to change this. 

With the right mindset, the ocean is calming, healing, and rich with possible experiences; it is not something to be feared. From Spring to Autumn, we swim every Wednesday afternoon in the Glencairn tidal pool. This training area allows the kids to get used to being in the ocean without having to worry about large waves and strong currents; offering a safe environment in which they can practice different strokes. 

Our sessions are led by Coach Thomas and Justin Bailey, both of whom hold International STA Swim Teaching qualifications. The course that Coach Thomas and Justin undertook was kindly arranged and paid for by our friend Tanya Baird Steward, and this generosity was fundamental to the setting up of our swimming program. 

Our kids know that before they can join our surfing program, they must first be strong swimmers. As such, the young learners show impressive dedication and motivation in each of our sessions, hoping to soon follow in the footsteps of their older siblings and friends who are mastering the South African waves. 

Increasing Accessibility

The addition of our swimming and hiking programs to CTYD increases our organisation’s accessibility to all genders. In South Africa, there continues to be a prevalent mindset that girls should stay at home rather than participate in sports, and this is something we are working hard to rectify in our local community. Our organisation is committed to giving all children the opportunity to participate in our activities. As such, we are persistent in encouraging parents to allow their daughters to join the programs alongside their brothers and friends, and we are gradually seeing a positive change in response. 

Indeed, swimming is seen by many as a life-skill more so than a sport, so parents are eager to have their sons and daughters alike to participate in our swimming program. We therefore have a high participation rate from girls in this program and this is hugely encouraging to see. However, we are striving for equal participation rates across each and every one of our programs; there is more work to be done.