Olympic swimmer: 'We learn to run, why not swim?'
OLYMPIC swimmer Taylor McKeown is baffled as to why Queensland schoolkids are not being taught how to swim.
The young athlete is the latest public figure to get behind the push to bring in mandatory swimming lessons for primary school children in the state.
Having been around water her whole life, Ms McKeown said there wasn't a doubt in her mind that swimming lessons were a crucial part of a child's learning.
"I can't imagine why there would be a reason for kids not to learn how to swim and if it's not apart of the curriculum you have to be asking why not," she said.
"You learn to run, you learn how to be social and maths and English, so why not swimming?"
"It's definitely crucial and I think it's something that should be mandatory in the curriculum."
Ms McKeown, who is currently training at the University of the Sunshine Coast, said it was particularly important for children in the sunny state to learn how to swim.
"Especially given that kids these days, particularly those growing up in Queensland, are usually always around water. Whether that be a local creek or a backyard pool or the ocean," she said.
"There's also quite a social aspect as a lot of kids like to go to the pool and hang out.
"If the kids aren't confident swimmers then it raises all kinds of dangers and if they don't want to be left out then they're going to be wanting to jump right in."
Ms McKeown said her and her sister Kaylee, also a Coast swimmer, grew up around water, with a pool a must have at their home.
"Luckily enough we grew up in south-east Queensland so my parents were always big on having a pool in the backyard," she said.
"Kaylee and I were always in the pool and we just loved it. And from there we went on to form our careers."
Ms McKeown had a message for parents;
"Even if you think there's never going to be a situation where your child could be in danger around the pool it does happen.
"Get your kids in to swimming, give them those life skills and give them a chance."