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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - On your mark, get set, swim!

On your mark, get set, swim!

SIEM Reap’s second annual Swimming Gala is scheduled for January 30, and organisers say there has already been strong interest in the competition, which will feature races for groups between the ages of five and 15.

The venue will be the 25-metre pool at Lotus Resort & Spa on National Road 6.

According to gala organiser and International School of Siem Reap swim instructor Jon Sykes, rosettes and medals will be given to those winning first, second and third places, as well as to those who complete the race.

Last June was the first time the gala had been held and about 50 children took part.

“We would like an improvement in numbers [this year] and are hoping for 60,” said Sykes, adding that last year’s event was a lot of fun and even featured a race for parents.

The aim of the gala is to promote sport and competition swimming in Siem Reap, and to build upon the talent the school has already developed. “Some of the students we have are only three to four seconds off the competitors at the ASEAN games,” a proud Sykes said. He said too that these children had huge potential while only being 13 to 14 years old. He hopes their achievements inspire others to get involved and further promote swimming in Temple Town.

The gala is only open to children who can swim well, but there is also a 12.5-metre swim for beginners.

According to the SwimSafe website, an organisation that teaches survival swimming to children, in Cambodia alone, six children die from drowning every day.

The statistics also show that 95 percent of the children who drowned could not swim.

Competitions such as the swimming gala will hopefully encourage more children to learn to swim and to understand water safety, reducing the number of fatalities in the future.

Registration closes January 20. Details from Gail Anderson on 012 773 542 or Jon Sykes on 089 664 266.

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