The Swim United Initiative

Most South Africans who live in coastal or riverside communities are privy to the devastating news of losing a loved one due to drowning. With fewer than 15% of the population knowing how to swim, South Africa has one of the highest incidences of fatal drownings in the world. The reality is that there are many individuals who access water as part of their daily routine, whether it’s fetching water, crossing a river, or for recreational purposes. 


In light of this, the National Sea Rescue Institute recognised the desperate need for drowning prevention and water safety. Speedo’s international water safety initiative, Swim United, has teamed up with the NSRI by getting involved in their ground-breaking Survival Swimming Centres. The Survival Swimming Centre is a 12-metre shipping container that has been converted into a portable swimming pool. The centre will be placed in areas where there is no access to swimming pool facilities in which to give swimming lessons. An instructor will then teach the children of that community the basic survival swimming skills giving these kids an advantage that they otherwise would never have had. 

NSRI Swim United Survival Centre - Sponsored by Speedo


The crux of the problem is that most kids and adults from disadvantaged communities don’t have the critical skill to discern what to do when in peril while swimming. This enables the NSRI to teach survival swimming lessons to under-serviced communities in the country through a means that is safe and accessible. Speedo has decided to partner with NSRI on the latest survival swimming centre that was placed in the Tombo village, 20 km from Port St. Johns in the Eastern Cape. This community has been marked with the highest number of drowning incidents within the province.


A few of the fundamental lessons that are covered during the swimming lessons include how to hold your breath underwater, open your eyes whilst underwater, how to float and how to safely propel yourself for at least 5 meters in water. This initiative safeguards the lives of people in South Africa through effective methods that are easy to learn. 

NSRI Survival Swimming Centre


Features of the NSRI Survival Centre:

  • 6-meter-long swimming pool.
  • The swimming pool is 1 meter deep.
  • Office space for the full-time instructor that the NSRI trains and deploys with the centre.
  • Changing room that can accommodate one child at a time.
  • The camera is monitored by the NSRI Emergency Operations Centre 24/7.
  • Being a shipping container enables the pool to be completely locked up when not in use to ensure there is no danger of anyone entering the pool while instructors are not on duty.
  • The NSRI is able to monitor the water temperature, air temperature, humidity, and water quality as well as adjust the temperature and chemicals needed for water quality - all remotely.


Swim United Survival Swimming Centre Features


NSRI hopes to have the opportunity to teach interested school teachers in hopes that they become the swimming instructors that the community needs. This way, they can make sure that the initiative lives on and keeps providing a helping hand to the community. 


NSRI wouldn’t have been able to cover the ground they have if it wasn’t for the generosity of local donors. If you feel that you want to help out through a donation, you can follow this link to learn more or use the Snapscan QR code below. 


NSRI - Speedo Swim United - Snapscan QR Code


Find out more about the initiative here


Help us amplify the message and drive change by using the tag #swimunited on Instagram.


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