A THORNLANDS woman is part of a crack team of swimming instructors helping people overseas to learn how to swim.
She said watching the rescue efforts to help Thai boys trapped in a cave last year on television made her realise how important swimming lessons were.
They had become trapped after walking into the cave which later become flooded, blocking their exit.
“In Australia, we are so lucky that most children learn to swim at school and have lessons, but this is not the case in other countries, despite being surrounded by waterways,” she said.
Ms Maloney said she and other Queensland swimming instructors had since begun to help overseas teachers and volunteers improve their competence in swim teaching.
She said the group was formed by Oz Swim Aquatics instructor Eve Fraser, who started the Global Aquatic Project to help reduce overseas drowning statistics.
Ms Fraser started the project after the dramatic rescue of the trapped Thai boys last year, connecting with those involved with Chang Mai International Rotary Club and its children's water safety project.
The Queensland team, including Ms Maloney, flew to Thailand for two weeks late last year, helping to train and qualify 18 swim teachers and 34 volunteers at Chiang Mai.
The training program was repeated at the British International School at Phuket.
Ms Maloney said the group had paid for trip expenses out of their pockets, with sponsors needed to help their continued efforts.
“This trip was on a volunteer basis, where each team member paid their own airfares and some accommodation with the support of Swim Australia, ASCTA, Swimming Queensland, Royal Life Saving Queensland and VICI Swimwear,” Ms Maloney said.
“This mission has opened our eyes to the need for swimming and water safety.
“The people involved, trainees, student and teachers, were so enthusiastic to learn and were like sponges.”
Ms Maloney said the group were planning to visit India, Thailand and Cambodia this year as part of the program.
“The team all very passionate about encouraging learning to swim and water safety,” she said.
For more information about the Global Aquatic Project or to help, visit ozswim.com.au/parties.php.
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