We are the Swim Sisters, an inclusive group that inspires adult women from multicultural backgrounds, walks of life, fitness levels, shapes and size to go out from a swim, from pool to ocean to surf lifesaving.The group was created in response to the anecdotal evidence indicating that Muslim women wearing the Hijab face challenges in accessing swimming pools due to the media attention on the Burkini garment, particularly in the aftermath of the short-lived Burkini Ban in France which gained international attention.
We are seeking to give some of our members the chance to attain a pool supported Surf Bronze Medallion qualification in surf lifesaving so they can better support water safety in culturally and linguistically diverse communities and families in Western Sydney who visit the beach in summer. Swim Sisters are founding committee members of the Garie Vanguard program to support individuals in Western Sydney train as surf lifesavers and contribute to their community. These participants become community ambassadors for change, leadership, well-being and body positivity. This unconventional approach dismantles stereotypes and empowers individuals to adopt Surf Lifesaving’s ethos of one cap truly fits all.
Studies have shown that almost 30% of people who drown in Sydney’s beachers were born overseas. We want to directly address drowning in multicultural communities by empowering ambassadors from CaLD communities in Western Sydney, especially women to become lifesavers of the future.
Our Swim Sisters Garie Vanguard cohort require additional structured training to support stringent fitness and water competence for the program. This need is particularly acute due to the widespread beach, pool and gym closures during the COVID-19 public health restrictions.
Funded by Sydney (October 2020)