SWIM STARS: John "JR” Rogers with his charges Nick Sloman and Kareena Lee at Noosa Aquatic Centre. Alan Lander

Basic learning not enough: Rogers

NOOSA swimming coach legend John "JR” Rogers said learning basic swimming was not enough if drownings and other trag- edies were to be avoided.

Rogers is currently training World Cup and Olympic hopefuls Nick Sloman and Kareena Lee, and knows a thing or two about working with the water in his 50-plus years of training.

"It's not so much the early swimming lessons, it's not to stop when they have learned to swim,” Rogers said.

"You have to take them that one step further.

"Even if they do a season or two in a little squad, it makes them stronger, because a lot of people give them the basic training, then say 'my child can swim' but then they stop.

"When they come back, the kid can't swim again, so they can't learn properly to swim.

"To survive, come up to visit [swim school teacher] Laurie Lawrence - see what he can do.

"It's so important to go that step further than just learn to swim, so they're really confident.

"Join the nippers, be in the pool, join a swimming club, like Little Athletics - all these take you a step further than being just able to do it. I think it's so important.”

Swimming is a way of life in Queensland, yet we have fallen behind the rest of the country in providing swim and safety lessons in our primary schools.

With the exception of Queensland, all states have comprehensive State Government programs in primary schools to teach students how to swim.

In Victoria for example, all primary school students have to meet a water safety benchmark as part of the curriculum.

In Queensland, swimming and water safety lessons are encouraged in state, Catholic and independent schools, but they are not compulsory and children do not have to meet a minimum certification.

News Queensland last week kicked off an S.O.S. campaign to "save our schoolkids”.

We're calling for compulsory, certified swim and water safety lessons.