Brunei children participating in the
Sultanate's 1st swim talent day in
March, 2012. National swim coach
Eric Landa said the best age to
learn to swim would be from 6 to
12 years old.Picture: BT file
Sports, in general, has a lot going for it.
It's fun, it's great for social interaction and you get fit and healthy.
It can also prevent certain heart diseases, limit the chance of Type 2 diabetes, build a sense of national pride and so on and so fourth.
But how great would it be when a sport could save your life?
Yes, you guessed it, I mean swimming.
Being able to swim means that you will be able to save yourself from drowning and it is a skill you can use for the rest of your life.
On numerous occasions I have been promoting the importance of learning to swim at a young age.
And as Brunei's national aquatics head coach, you wouldn't expect anything else of me.
Of course, learning to swim can take place at any age.
However, as with many other things in life, learning these life-saving skills at a young age will simplify and speed up the process.
Ideally, the best age to learn to swim would be from 6 to 12 years old, or primary school children.
Therefore, the ideal situation would be if swimming became part of the curriculum at all schools in all countries.
With many Bruneians living close to the water, and some even living on top of it, it would make perfect sense to do this.
I also believe that from a cultural and religious point of view, there won't be any objections for children to learn how to swim and be safe in the water.
But don't just take my word for it.
On Monday, HRH Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, pleaded to make school swimming more accessible for primary school children in the United Kingdom.
His video message can be viewed here, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22750472
HRH Prince William explained why he believes it is important for primary school children to learn how to swim.
Swimming is part of the national curriculum in the UK, and he talks about the transformative effect learning to swim has had on human lives.
Swimming is unique as it is the only sport that can save lives, and at the end of his statement, he says that he shares his belief that every child has the right to learn to swim.
What a great message!
I haven't had the privilege to meet HRH Prince William, but I like him already.
Like most of us, I've watched part of his wedding last year, and I've heard about the news that HRH Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their first child soon.
How many children between the age of 6 to 12 are able to swim at least 25m in Brunei? Who knows?
I'd like to propose a Primary School National Swimming Consensus, to be conducted by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Education and the Brunei Amateur Swimming Association, to find out what are the numbers we are looking at.
Based on collection and analyses of this information, we can propose and execute a plan that will transform the current Learn-to-Swim Brunei (LTS-Brunei) programme (designed in 2011 for Brunei and based on the best swimming programs in the world from Australia, USA and Europe) into a nation-wide swim programme.
The systems and coaches are currently in place to have huge numbers of swimmers take up the challenge to learn to swim.
It will be free of charge at all four districts under the supervision of qualified coaches.
After three to six months, a centralised certificate swimming event will take place, where swimmers' skills will be tested and they will be awarded with any of the 7-level certification.
From my point of view, we really need to look into school swimming as the most effective way to deliver LTS-Brunei program to as many children as possible in Brunei.
Simply because every child has the right to learn to swim!
For more information go to bruneiswimming.com, the website of BASA (Brunei Amateur Swimming Association)