We only run swimming sessions during warmer months as we mainly use outside pools. Please check travel dates for more information.
Swimming in South Africa
Swimming in South Africa tells a tale of two sides. The first sees the country as a powerful and successful nation, claiming victory and world records throughout Africa and on the international circuit. From Olympic gold medallists to world record breakers, the South African swim team is clearly a force to be reckoned with. The other side of the sport tells a different story. Over 70% of the nation has little or no swimming ability and over 1000 drownings occur each year. These shocking figures led Swimming South Africa (SSA), the national governing body for swimming, to launch the National Learn-to-Swim campaign back in 1999. The aim of the programme is to teach every South African to swim and is mainly geared towards the more disadvantaged communities. This is because about 84% of drownings involve people from historically poorer backgrounds.
This swimming coaching project gives you the chance to contribute to this scheme, helping to teach South African children how to swim. Although there are opportunities to coach provincial level swimmers, the main focus is on the government’s Learn-to-Swim campaign, teaching youngsters the techniques to stay safe in the pool and on the beach.
Your Swimming Volunteer Placement
Swim coaches visiting South Africa can get involved at different levels of the sport. However, the main focus is working with children from the township communities. The government subsidises swimming lessons for township schools so the pupils can receive lessons at local pools. However, there is still a lack of swim instructors and general assistants to help supervise the sessions.
Whether you have recognised swim coach qualifications, or simply enjoy swimming and interacting with kids, there is a place for you. The age of the swimmers ranges from 5 to 12 and there is a variety of abilities. You will therefore have the option of helping children learn to swim from the first time they have set foot in a pool, as well as coaching experienced children who swim for their provincial side. You can therefore take on as much responsibility as you feel your expertise allows.
Swimming usually runs 4 days a week from 9:00 to 13:00 each day. You’ll work with a different group each hour and normally work with 5 to 8 kids in a session, along with support from our staff.
Your Swimming Coaching Role
You will work alongside qualified swimming instructors. This will enable you to develop your own confidence and build relationships with the children. From here, you will continue to assist the swimming instructors but also have the opportunity to take your own swimming coaching sessions. As you determine the abilities and potential of individual swimmers, you can introduce your own swimming coaching ideas and even offer some one-to-one coaching tuition. However, the qualified local staff will always be in attendance to oversee the coaching sessions. Whether you end up coaching provincial swimmers or taking newcomers to the beach for the first time, your contribution to South African swimming will live on long after you return home.
Please note that swimming coaching takes place in outdoor pools and is therefore affected by occasional bad weather, on average one day every 1-2 weeks. If a swimming coaching session is cancelled, we will try and find an indoor pool or you are welcome to join other sports coaching placements in the area or simply use the free time for personal relaxation.
CRB/DBS (Criminal Records Bureau) Check
It is advised that participants complete a CRB/DBS (Criminal Records Bureau) check in order to take part in this project. We can provide this service for you at an additional cost because some people may already have one that is valid (please get in touch for more details).
Gap Year or Career Break Swimming in South Africa
A gap year or career break teaching swimming to township children in South Africa not only gives you a unique sports experience opportunity, it gives you the chance to help children stay safe in the swimming pool and on the beach. Working as a gap year or career break sports coach on our community swimming project really is a fantastic gap year and career break experience.