Shane McBurney from Wollongbar Primary School.
Shane McBurney from Wollongbar Primary School. David Nielsen

Shane gets in and 'has a go'

SHANE McBurney yesterday embodied the true spirit of Wollongbar Primary School's swimming carnival - he 'had a go'.

The 11-year-old has cerebral palsy, but that didn't stop him from competing in as many events as possible.

“I swam in the freestyle and the breaststroke, and I will probably do the backstroke as well,” he said.

“I like swimming. But I don't start up on the block, I just go from the side.”

More than 150 children participated in the carnival, which was held at the Alstonville pool yesterday.

Teacher Gail Ormond said the three houses - Bradman (red), Cuthbert (yellow) and Newcombe (green) - were competitive, but only in a friendly way.

“We've had all the age events,” she said.

“We also had some novelty events for children who can't go into the big pool.

“Parents can get involved with those events to make sure their kids are safe.

“It's friendly, everyone's really encouraging and it's all about having a go. Our carnival is inclusive.”

Ms Ormond said the school encouraged its students to learn to swim, with intensive swimming lessons held every year.

“We have classes for Years 2 to 4 for 10 weeks. Our last program was held in December,” she said.

“It's so important for children to know how to swim in this region.

“We've got the beach close by and a lot of families have pools at home these days.”

At yesterday's carnival, parents and teachers patrolled the sides of the pool with 'pool noodles' to make sure any students who were having trouble in the water could get out easily.

Ms Ormond said the children were good at recognising their level of swimming ability.

“The kids who know that they're not strong swimmers stay in the outside lanes,” she said.

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