Schools in Victoria, Australia, to Mandate Swimming Education

All schoolchildren in the Australian province of Victoria will be required to swim 50 meters straight and show in-pool survival skills beginning in 2017, according to a report from the Herald Sun.

Swimming programs have become somewhat common already in Victoria, but many of these curricula did not result in student showing any swimming aptitude at their conclusion, according to Education and Emergency Services Minister James Merlino, who called for these new program to be “intensive.”

Each student must earn the Victoria Water Safety Certificate, which shows proof of swimming ability, water safety knowledge and rescue skills. According to the Herald Sun, students being held back because they failed to meet these criteria, but schools with failing students will be pushed harder to help students pass.

Merlino has called for schools to seek out local pools and swimming instructors to help students reach the requirements. No additional funding towards the effort will be provided, although grants will be available via application.

The Herald Sun had been pushing for these learn-to-swim programs in schools as a result of 43 drowning deaths in Victoria this year and a 40 percent rise in fatal drownings. Research from Life Saving Victoria found that three out of five students could not swim by the time they finished primary school

Read more from the Herald Sun (subscription only) here.



  1. Kim Wonder

    This should so be done in Fla!!

  2. Dick Beaver

    Wow. Guess it is about time the world is catching up with CLOVIS, CA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT. I instituted a program there in 1980, that required ALL elementary school students to pass a “beginners” swimming test before passing up to middle school.

  3. avatar

    With no funding it won’t happen.

  4. David Hill

    It has always amazed me, that its not required in the US.

    • Beth Dixon

      It was at my high school. You didn’t graduate if you couldn’t pass the swim test and it wasn’t just swimming the length of the pool.

    • Beth Dixon

      I went to school in Northern California.

Author: David Rieder

David Rieder is a staff writer for Swimming World. He has contributed to the magazine and website since 2009, and he has covered the NCAA Championships, U.S. Nationals, Olympic Trials as well as the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. He is a native of Charleston, S.C., and a 2016 graduate of Duke University.

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