Water Safety Squad

Introducing Our Water Safety Squad

Meet our Water Safety Squad, who are on the mission to encourage young people around the nation and across the world to learn to swim and all things water safety!

7 Years Old
Ipswich, Suffolk

Kyren Williams

In just 18 months, Kyren transformed from a child who was terrified of going into the pool without his arm bands as well as a rubber ring and woggle, to a keen, passionate swimmer and a member of Ipswich triathlon club.

Through his dedication and determination, he positively shows all the exciting options that are available to youngsters once they’ve overcome their fear—how learning to swim opens up new exciting possibilities; from club swimming, sailing, scuba diving, canoeing and in Kyren’s case, Triathlon.

Learn More About Kyren

What are your hobbies and interests?
Swimming and Triathlon
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Funny, sporty, and friendly.
What do you want to be when you’re older?
An Olympic triathlete or swimmer.
What is your biggest achievement?
Becoming an STA water safety ambassador, and learning to swim.
Who is your role model?
Usain Bolt, as he is the best at what he does and always continued to do better than his last try.
Why and when did you decide to learn how to swim?
On a family holiday when I was 5. I was terrified to get in the water and only ever got in with arm bands, a rubber ring and a woggle. After this my mum decided that I needed to have lessons to gain some confidence so I can enjoy future holidays instead of watching everyone else have fun.
What were your first experiences with swimming?
I was always scared of water when I was younger. I began lessons at a local swim school who helped to build my confidence week by week, I began to really enjoy the lessons and now I can’t get enough. I can really enjoy going on holidays and playing on water slides and my mum has the confidence that I am safe in the water.
Why do you think it’s important to learn how to swim?
Learning to swim is an important survival skill as you never know when you might need to help others or yourself. Swimming is also such an enjoyable activity and great exercise too.
As a role model for other young people, what water safety advice would you give to others?
Think before you act and make sure you have fun!
What’s your favourite swimming stroke?
Breast stroke and swimming under water!
What makes you a good water safety ambassador?
I am really passionate about swimming and believe everyone should have the opportunity to learn to swim and become confident and happy in the water.
What advice would you give to those who may be thinking about learning to swim?
Go for it, don’t let fear get in the way of you having fun. You’re never too old to learn new skills—and who knows, you could be the next Michael Phelps!
What would you say to parents to get their children swimming?
Swimming is such an important life skill, teaching your child to swim can help give you confidence that they know what to do if they or someone else gets into trouble in water.
Do you have any ideas on what you’d like to improve in your local area to increase water safety knowledge?
Help educate young people within Beavers, Cubs and Scouts around water safety and teaching important lifesaving skills. Look at organising an activity day at Alton Water in Suffolk to teach and educate young people.

Over the Easter holidays I am going to complete the Olympic distance of a triathlon to raise money, over two weeks I’ll be swimming 1 mile, running 6 miles and cycling 26 miles.

I am also looking to do a non-uniform day at my school on the day of an STA assembly, along with a design a water safety poster completion, I have already got donations from local swimming pools for family swim vouchers as prizes.

8 Years Old
Halifax, West Yorkshire

Cori McNamara

Cori is a cheeky chappie who has been through a lot in his short life, namely major heart surgery.

But he is not fazed, he simply gets up and gets on with it—he has such a positive energy and bubbly personality. He loves swimming too, and more importantly it helps him with his pain and muscles from hypo mobility.

Learn More About Cori

What are your hobbies and interests?
Skiing, rugby, swimming and football.
What’s a fun fact about yourself?
I am funny and cheeky and love to have fun, from dancing to singing and making jokes.
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Funny, kind, and loveable.
What do you want to be when you’re older?
I would like to be an electrician.
What is your biggest achievement?
Having my heart fixed. I’ve had a lot of operations including major heart surgery. It was a hard time, but I feel so much better now.
Who is your role model?
My mummy.
Why and when did you decide to learn how to swim?
My mum decided to take me swimming as I had a huge fear of water when I was younger. It’s important to know how to swim in case you fall into water and don’t know what to do. Water can be dangerous if you don’t know how to swim or how to help yourself in difficulty. It also helped me with my hypo mobility and muscles.
What were your first experiences with swimming?
Clinging on to the lady in the pool as I was very scared, but she was really nice and helped me to learn to swim. I love the water now and can’t wait to go swimming again!
Why do you think it’s important to learn how to swim?
Everybody should learn to swim so that you don’t drown. If everyone learned to swim, they can help people that might get into danger.
As a role model for other young people, what water safety advice would you give to others?
Please learn to swim—it’s important and helps you to stay healthy!
What’s your favourite swimming stroke?
Front crawl.
What makes you a good water safety ambassador?
I love swimming and helping others!
What advice would you give to those who may be thinking about learning to swim?
Never give up if—you don’t like, it just keep trying.
What would you say to parents to get their children swimming?
It’s very important to teach your children about the safety of water and it’s a very important life skill that we will all need at some point in life. My mum put me into swimming lessons so I could have a skill for life; all children like me should have this chance.
Do you have any ideas on what you’d like to improve in your local area to increase water safety knowledge?
Maybe an outward bound water expedition.

11 Years Old
Henllys, Torfaen

Meghan Willis

Meghan has an amazing passion and enthusiasm for swimming and safety in the water.

She was born with no right hand and a partial right forearm—as a result her parents enrolled her into swimming lessons for the sole purpose of ensuring she was safe. Little did her parents know that this was the start of an amazing journey for Meghan.

Meghan joined Torfaen Dolphins Performance Squad and since June 2017 has been classified as an S9 paraswimmer. She also attended 3 Para national events, winning gold, silver and bronze medals in the 10–13 year age group.

She has also been selected by the Welsh Para Skills Academy squad, and in September of last year became the youngest person selected for the British Para Academy squad 2018. In December at the National Para Swimming Championships, Meghan won two gold and 2 silver medals.

Learn More About Meghan

What are your hobbies and interests?
Swimming, reading, and dance.
What’s a fun fact about yourself?
I love Harry Potter and have watched all of the films, but never been to the studios—yet!
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Funny, caring, and resilient.
What do you want to be when you’re older?
A Paralympic swimmer.
What is your biggest achievement?
Being the youngest person selected for the British Para Academy squad 2018/19.
Who is your role model?
Claire Cashmore and Hollie Arnold.
Why and when did you decide to learn how to swim?
My parents have taken me swimming since I was a baby and enrolled me in swimming lessons as soon as I was old enough.
What were your first experiences with swimming?
As a baby with my parents.
Why do you think it’s important to learn how to swim?
Because it enables you to be safe around water and gives you the opportunity to go to the beach or pool with your friends and know that you are safe and to take care around water.
As a role model for other young people, what water safety advice would you give to others?
  • Learn how to swim
  • Always be safe around any water—especially outdoor open water
  • Be careful at the beach—look out for flags and only swim when there’s a lifeguard or when you’re with an adult.
What’s your favourite swimming stroke?
Front crawl.
What makes you a good water safety ambassador?
I know a lot about swimming and how to be safe in and around water. Also, I think it’s important that people like me with a disability know that they can achieve in swimming too and be like any other kid. I want to represent the fact that anyone can achieve anything, no matter their condition.
What advice would you give to those who may be thinking about learning to swim?
Go for it! You can do so much when you know how to swim.
What would you say to parents to get their children swimming?
Please get them to learn to swim as it’s such an important life skill that can keep them safe. My parents have supported me and put me into swimming lessons since I can remember and now, I am competing in national competitions and have won 2 gold and 2 silver medals. You don’t know how swimming can benefit children like me until we’re put in the water to learn a life skill and to just have fun.
Do you have any ideas on what you’d like to improve in your local area to increase water safety knowledge?
I have a couple of ideas about the river walk and the boating lake!

I’m also hoping to organise a sponsored swim event with my swimming club, another local club and our local Leisure Trust. I am going to organise this all by myself to continue showing everyone that I can achieve anything I put my mind to.

12 Years Old
Chorley, Lancashire

Annie Ramsay

After losing her brother to drowning in 2011, Annie is naturally very passionate about water safety.

Annie has watched, learned and participated in events to raise awareness surrounding water safety for Doing it for Dylan. Last year she walked Pen y Fan in Wales and raised around £300 towards emergency combination locked throw line stations.

Annie struggled to get into the water after losing her brother but she pushed herself at school and in her own time, learned to swim and overcome her fear of water.

Learn More About Annie

What are your hobbies and interests?
Trampolining, free running, swimming, football, listening to music, and watching films.
What’s a fun fact about yourself?
I can do a back flip.
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Loud, funny, and amazing.
What do you want to be when you’re older?
I would like to make a difference by educating more people my age on water safety as it’s something I’m passionate about. I would love to help my mum on her water safety campaign Doing it for Dylan and to follow in her footsteps.

I would also like to be a police dog handler (I guess I face my fears head on!).

What is your biggest achievement?
Facing my fears, such as learning to swim after losing my brother, Dylan, to open water, and trying to overcome my fear of dogs after being attacked previously.
Who is your role model?
My brother, Dylan.
Why and when did you decide to learn how to swim?
Around about the age of 2 or 3, but I lost a lot of confidence in and around water after losing my brother, so although I tried many times, I was around 9 or 10 when I learned to swim.
What were your first experiences with swimming?
I can’t really remember learning to swim when I was younger. However, when I learned to swim when I was 9 or 10, I remember feeling pretty scared but I knew I needed to overcome my fear of water, or I might never overcome my fear at all.
Why do you think it’s important to learn how to swim?
I think it’s important as it’s the only sport that could potentially save a life whether, it’s your own or someone else’s. It’s also fun way of keeping healthy.
As a role model for other young people, what water safety advice would you give to others?
No matter how scared you are or how much you don’t want to do it, I would encourage you to give learning to swim a try. If I can do it, so can you, and one day it could save your life.
What’s your favourite swimming stroke?
I like back stroke as it’s relaxing.
What makes you a good water safety ambassador?
I am confident and have a voice I’m not afraid to use. I believe very much in the cause. I know the pain of losing someone I love to water.
What advice would you give to those who may be thinking about learning to swim?
Give it a go. If you don’t like it the first time round keep trying because it’s like riding a bike and once you can do it and are confident in the water, it is a lot of fun. Swimming done at swimming pools is very safe as lifeguards are on hand if anything was to go wrong, so there’s no need to fear.
What would you say to parents to get their children swimming?
I have seen what pain my mum has gone through losing my brother, so learning to swim and learning water safety is very important. People need to know the difference between a swimming pool and open water. There’s a huge difference.
Do you have any ideas on what you’d like to improve in your local area to increase water safety knowledge?
Yes, I have a few ideas. My target is to reach and educate at least 500 people in a variety of ways such as the local radio, through school, poster competitions, and holding my own water safety event.

Maybe I can even speak to a swimming teacher or swim school and fund a set amount for children to learn to swim!

10 Years Old
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire

Laila Dore

Laila has been swimming since she was 4 and is very water confident—she loves nothing more than diving under and splashing around.

Laila understands the importance of learning to swim, but she says its also fun and helps to keep healthy and fit! Thanks to learning how to swim, she has a great time playing with her family and friends in the pool and while on holiday.

Learn More About Laila

What are your hobbies and interests?
Swimming, cheerleading, dancing, football, school and spending time with my friends.
What’s a fun fact about yourself?
I compete at dance competitions doing cheerleading and freestyle disco!
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Fun, confident, and friendly.
What do you want to be when you’re older?
A sport and dance instructor.
What is your biggest achievement?
Being picked as an STA water safety ambassador and making the freestyle disco world championship finals in Blackpool 2017 and 2018. I have over 150 trophies from competing!
Who is your role model?
I haven’t got a role model, I just want to be myself, the best I can be.
Why and when did you decide to learn how to swim?
My mum took me to lessons when I turned 4 so I could learn to swim and since then, I haven’t stopped.
What were your first experiences with swimming?
I loved swimming and splashing in the water. My mum and dad used to take me for lessons and for fun.
Why do you think it’s important to learn how to swim?
It’s an important skill to learn as it’s for safety, not just fun.
As a role model for other young people, what water safety advice would you give to others?
Whenever you’re around water, be careful and make sure you know how to be safe. Follow rules and instructions were possible, like pool safety signs at the swimming pool and don’t go in lakes or rivers. Also, a lot of people don’t know what the beach flags mean. This is important, especially on holiday as it will tell you when it’s safe to swim.
What’s your favourite swimming stroke?
Breaststroke.
What makes you a good water safety ambassador?
I’m confident talking to people and I’m not shy in front of groups. I’m also fun and friendly when talking to people and this is important when talking about water safety and for people to listen to you.
What advice would you give to those who may be thinking about learning to swim?
Don’t be scared to start learning as it’s a good thing to do, start slowly doing things you feel confident with and each week you’ll get better.
What would you say to parents to get their children swimming?
Swimming is so important as it can keep their children safe. So many parents don’t take their children swimming and I want to change this. All my friends and people my age need to learn this skill—it can change your life.
Do you have any ideas on what you’d like to improve in your local area to increase water safety knowledge?
I want to donate it to my local leisure centre where I do my swimming lessons, as it was due to be closed down many years ago. It got taken over by a charity so people could continue swimming, so I want to support them and keep my leisure centre open.

I’m also going to set up some competitions at schools to raise awareness for water safety with my friends and I want to fundraise for STA so they can continue teaching people how to save lives.

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