TORONTO — To raise awareness about the importance of swimming as a lifelong skill, Swimming Canada and RBC Insurance announced a new multi-year partnership Tuesday. RBC Insurance will now become the presenting sponsor of Canada’s Swim Team, the movement to teach every Canadian child how to swim.
With this initiative, RBC Insurance and Swimming Canada aim to reach an estimated 700,000 Canadian children and their families over the next three years.
“We know that teaching kids to swim 25 metres can help save lives. As part of our continued commitment to kids, RBC Insurance is thrilled to support Swimming Canada in this important initiative,” noted Rino D’Onofrio, Head, Canadian Insurance Business, RBC Insurance. “When a child learns how to swim they become more water-safe, healthier and more confident. Learning to swim also opens up lifelong recreational opportunities for children. By supporting Canada’s Swim Team, we want to ensure that all children have the opportunity and encouragement they need to participate and learn how to swim at an early age.”
Canadian swimming icon and gold medallist, Mark Tewksbury, along with RBC Olympian and 2012 Olympic finallist Martha McCabe and 2012 Olympic finallist Brittany MacLean were on hand for the announcement at the University of Toronto varsity pool, where a group of local children became the first of 700,000 young Canadians to receive their official “Canada’s Swim Team” membership cards.
“We are extremely grateful to RBC Insurance for their support of Canada’s Swim Team, which underlines the importance of keeping Canadian kids safe in and around the water,” says Ahmed El-Awadi, Chief Executive Officer for Swimming Canada. “When a child can swim 25 metres, they become an official member of Canada’s Swim Team. More importantly, they are developing a valuable life skill that helps them be safer around water. “
Canada’s Swim Team is a partnership between RBC Insurance and Canada’s leading swimming and safety bodies: Swimming Canada, the Canadian Red Cross, the Lifesaving Society and the Canadian Medical Association. The sponsorship is a part of RBC’s Learn to Play Project that is committed to donating $750,000 to community-based organizations across the country to ensure children become happy, healthy and active for life. Canada’s Swim Team will be offered by pools that deliver Red Cross or Lifesaving programs.
During the event, the RBC Foundation announced a $10,000 donation to the Junior Blues Adapted Aquatic Program at the University of Toronto for children with physical, mental and developmental disabilities as part of the RBC Learn to Play Project. This program will help ensure all Canadian kids have an equal opportunity to learn to swim and enjoy the water.
“The Adapted Aquatic Program at the university is designed to break down barriers to fitness, and in this case, water safety among children,” says Ira Jacobs, Dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto. “The university is committed to fostering broad-based physical activity across age groups and to ensuring that children are encouraged to develop skills early on to be healthy and active throughout their lives. The donation from RBC is an important step in helping us achieve that goal.”