Vanuatu gets mamas and youth moving

ALREADY 2017 has been jam packed for the Vanuatu Aquatics Federation (VAF), with new and exciting aquatic programs and milestones.

VAF has continued its work in Learn to Swim throughout the communities, with numbers of youth engaged continuing to grow. Vanuatu Aquatics has been in contact with some programs in Australia which have helped it expand its programs to include water polo and aqua aerobics.

“Vanuatu Aquatics has been using the free Let’s Swim resources for the past two years and continues to grow and develop as an aquatic federation,” said a spokesman.

“We currently have eight qualified instructors that go into communities around the main island of Efate to deliver the Let’s Swim curriculum.

“VAF are currently involved with five different communities with around 400 kids participating. VAF’s main goal for the year is to host our inaugural National Swimming Championships. We have begun establishing official times at smaller swim meets to create qualifying times for the National Championships. It will be the first step towards developing an elite squad in that we can eventually send to International meets.”

VAF has started an aqua aerobics program for all the mamas currently working at Wan Smolbag Youth centre. It has been assisted by Swimming 365, a program based out of Perth, which combines aquatic fitness with nutrition to educate about healthy lifestyles and adapting it to the needs of the women in Vanuatu.

“With a greater than expected interest from mamas in our pilot program we measured and recorded all of their height, weight, blood pressure and waist circumference,” the spokesman said.

“After the completion of the 10-week program we will re-measure and compare the results to the beginning of the program. Currently the mamas meet once a week and run a 45minute aqua aerobics session including a variety of exercises performed to Zumba music. The music creates a fun and upbeat environment which is enthusiastically loved by all.”

But the mamas aren’t the only ones making a splash. For the first time in Vanuatu VAF has introduced water polo as another way to engage the youth and keep up their excitement at being in the water.

“Thanks to Central Coast Water Polo and Water Polo Australia we now have an extensive supply of donated balls, caps and equipment to kick-start our latest water based sport.”

“The water polo program runs once a week down at the beach in front of our largest village. We initially have 12 youths involved in the pilot program learning basic skills such as treading water, passing and catching one handed and swimming with the ball. We use basic inflatable goals for the time being and the youth have found other creative ways to incorporate shooting and to make it into a game.”

As a part of the FINA World Aquatics day the club are planning a demonstration game of water polo exhibition game in Port Vila harbour. This will provide a VAF a big opportunity to spread the news about the water polo program along with the Learn to Swim program.

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