Sixty-five swimmers from two teams passed their Level 1 Certification for the revolutionary LTS-Brunei (Learn to Swim Brunei) programme yesterday.
The swimmers were from Dolphin Swimming Club, coached by Harjimmey Zainal, and the Department of Youth and Sports Swimming Scheme, coached by Salleh Hj Tahir.
The newly designed programme by national swim coach Eric Landa (pic) is based on a combination of the Australian, American and European LTS programmes and supported by the Brunei Amateur Swimming Association and the Department of Youth and Sports.
Landa stressed the importance of such a programme in the Sultanate, stating that his system is tailor-made to suit the needs of swimmers in the country.
"Brunei's location calls for the ability to swim (but) learning to swim properly on your own is not that easy," said the veteran coach in a statement sent to the Press yesterday.
"The goal is to offer a system that improves and promotes safety for people aged four to 80 in and around the water.
"I strongly believe in a nationwide approach with the LTS-Brunei system. There are many successful systems out there and I've worked with most of them.
"One is not better than the other, but I think it is important to decide on one approach and to do that for a long time at least five years.
"That's why I designed the LTS-Brunei system, it takes the best of all those other international programmes and combines them into one. A programme for Brunei!" said Landa, who has a proven track record in developing swimmers for more than 15 years.
The Dutchman said it is his goal to see anyone walk into any pool in the country and receive instructions from a swimming school or a class.
But for this to happen, the schools, clubs, private coaches and the Department of Youth and Sports' schemes in the Brunei-Muara and Tutong districts and soon in Belait and Temburong have to help out.
Landa said that LTS-Brunei is designed around seven different levels where Level 1 is the beginners level where a minimum time investment of two, 30-minute sessions of swimming per week over a span of three to four months will be required to past the test.
Level 7, which Landa calls the "Mini-Squad", is basically the first stage of competitive swimming.
Swimmers will have to put in three, one-hour sessions a week to pass the test and receive the certificate.
Though he called yesterday's Level 1 certification a "great achievement for these young swimmers", Landa was quick to point out it will take time for the talent to develop.
Relatively new, the system only got off the ground in January, and for now, not all the schools, clubs and coaches have adopted the programme yet.
But the system is bound to bear fruit, and in Landa who has played a part in producing 10 Olympic medallists, the most notable triple Olympic champion Pieter van den Hoogenband and four-time Olympic gold medallist Ingrid de Bruijn the budding swimmers are in capable hands.
"I believe this programme is a great opportunity to put a benchmark on the quality of the swimmers, coaches and clubs out there," said Landa.
"Achieving the next level of competency, that's what it's all about.
"We will offer the swimmers different levels during the next centralised LTS-Brunei certification event.
"You can try to achieve level 1 but also the Levels 2 to 7. If you are up for it, we will provide you the opportunity to test yourself and achieve your certification.
"I'm sure not all of these kids and adults want to achieve the full seven certificates, for some of them it'll stop at Level 3 or maybe Level 6 and that's alright.
"But having achieved one of the certificate guarantees that you are able to perform the tasks of that level and that you are a confident swimmer in performing those tasks," he noted.
The next Centralised Certificate swimming event for LTS-Brunei will be organised after Hari Raya and will contain a variety of different levels, so swimmers and coaches will be able to challenge themselves to achieve the level they think they can handle.
Members of the public can test themselves free of charge during these events.
Courtesy from Brunei Times