Australia Legend Laurie Lawrence – 5 pool rules to stay alive

There’s a great article in the new today about water safety, in particular swimming pool safety and how it can save lives. The article is by Laurie Lawrence who is a legend in Australia swimming.I’m going to re-post it here with some bolding (mine) on the really important points.

First, some background on Laurie Lawrence. Suffering health issues as a young child Laurie took up swimming to improve his lung function. His dad became the manager of the Tobruk Pool in Townsville, which became the training venue for the Australian Olympic team during 1956 and 1960. Being surrounded by some of Australia’s greatest athletes helped Laurie develop a passion for swimming. After high school he established himself as a swimming coach and went on to have a successful career, as one of the Olympic team swimming coaches during the 1984, ’88 and ’92 Olympics.

Laurie’s coaching record boasts 10 gold medals, 11 silver and 12 bronze, from swimmers he has directly assisted with coaching. And swimmers he has coached have held 23 world records. He remained involved with later Australian swimming teams, working as a guide and mentor to the 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 Australian Olympic swimming teams.

What an impressive career and no wonder that Laurie is most famously known for being a swimming coach. His other public passion is being an advocate for pool safety. His website showcases his services that range from motivational speaking to his swim schools in Queensland and even a world wide swim school that is an online swimming education resource.  Probably Laurie’s most important social profile is behind the Kids Alive Drowning Prevention Campaign. Laurie started this campaign in 1988 and it runs nationally to educate the community about five steps to reduce the risk of children drowning.

Kids Alive - Do the Five

The 5 steps to pool safety from Kids Alive –


Here’s the article:


Pool safety should be a matter of conscience not fines.

New pool legislation becomes official in NSW on April 29 and while I applaud the government for taking a stance and making pools safer, it saddens me that we have to threaten people with $5000 fines to get them to act.

Pool fencing compliance is simply the right thing to do. It will save lives but it’s only one safety step.

Discussion of legislation, fencing laws and parent supervision rule the news but what about learning to swim?

It’s easy to lay blame and say parents need to be more vigilant with supervision but accidents can happen.

Kids often find a way into a pool area. Early learn to swim lessons can add an extra layer of protection but this does not guarantee survival in an emergency — you cannot drown proof a child.

Infant aquatics give the child a chance in an accidental submersion and provide many more benefits.

Professor Robyn Jorgenson’s longitudinal study shows lessons build children’s social, emotional, physical, and intellectual capital.

Unfortunately, research from the Healthy Pools Survey shows 50 per cent of parents are not getting lessons for their children.

Here is a gaping hole we need to plug quickly. Parents and government must know the importance and value of teaching children to swim at an early age.

Where is all the discussion about swimming lessons and how imperative they are to saving lives?

If the government must fine people this revenue should be used to fund swimming and water safety lessons.

Initiatives like Learn to Swim Week  provide a week worth of free water safety lessons, thanks to the generosity of swim schools across the country.

How many more children could benefit if this was officially supported by local councils and state and federal governments?

The Kids Alive Do the Five program has five steps: fence the pool, shut the gate, teach your kids to swim, watch your mate and learn how to resuscitate.

I believe all children should learn to swim for fun, fitness, health and safety, and all parents need to learn CPR.