400m swim time update

Friday, 16 October 2015

Surf Life Saving New Zealand is currently seeking further feedback from clubs, Local Life Saving Committee members and Chief Examiners on the proposed 400m swim time change.

Following an initial consultation process in 2013, there was support for the concept of changing the 400m swim time component of the Surf Lifeguard Award from nine minutes to eight minutes.

With that initial support, the National Lifeguard Committee felt it was appropriate to continue the investigation and subsequently a discussion paper was released to the general membership for feedback.

Having received feedback from various sources, the National Lifesaving Committee has recently made three linked recommendations.

• To progressively reduce the 400m pool swim time from nine minutes to eight minutes over a period of four years for the initial qualification standard for a lifeguard;
• The adoption of a "grandfather clause" that means all lifeguards that qualified prior to the adoption of the new swim time will still be refreshed at the time they qualified at; and
• To formalise the arrangements around the existing Patrol Support role.

The Patrol Support role gives clubs the ability to provide a pathway for existing members who can't, or don't wish to be, active frontline lifeguards and for new members (such as parents) who want to be involved with the club but don't think they can meet the swimming proficiency standards. Making the decisions on the Patrol Support role helped the Committee in making the recommendation to progressively reduce the swim time.

The updates to the Patrol Support policy will be implemented for the 2015/16 season. To assist clubs with a uniform for members in Patrol Support roles, SLSNZ is looking to design, produce and stock a blue uniform alongside the existing yellow lifeguard uniform for clubs to purchase. There will be no changes to the 400m swim time for 2015/16.

The next stage in the process is the feedback currently being sought from clubs on the 400m swim time recommendations. To facilitate the feedback, clubs have been sent a survey form to be completed and returned to the SLSNZ CEO Paul Dalton before Friday November 20, to ensure their views are noted.

This topic will be on the agenda of the December SLSNZ Board meeting for a decision.

For more information, please contact:

Lisa Honeybone, Media & Communications Specialist, SLSNZ
Phone 09 303 9335 or 0276 488 823