WATER almost killed Samuel Morris but put him in a pool and he's content as can be.
Samuel, 8, has a severe hypoxic brain injury sustained in 2006 as the result of a near-drowning in a backyard pool.
His enjoyment was clear to see at Ripples Leisure Centre last week.
"It helps Samuel to relax and stops his muscles from contracting," his mum Jo-Ann said.
"You can tell he's enjoying it because he's not crying.
"For him, it's like being in a big bath tub."
The demonstration was part of Austswim's launch of its Making Aquatics a Terrific Experience (MATE) program.
Devised in partnership with Water Exercise Training Service director Jenny Schembri-Portelli, MATE seminars promote the benefits of aquatics for people with medical conditions and disabilities.
The four-hour seminars provide carers with the information and skills to get their loved ones involved in interactive and enjoyable pool activities.
"For us, it's about giving people the confidence and competence to take the people they care for to a pool and feel as comfortable as they would be taking them to the shops," Austswim chief executive Gordon Mallett said.
"If we can assist one carer, we've done our job.
"They become happier, more skilled carers."
Guests at the launch heard from blind marathon swimmer James Pittar and Mount Druitt's own Jason Hooper about how swimming has helped them.
Mrs Morris and husband Michael learned about the MATE program at a water safety conference last year and were keen to recommend it to others who care for someone with a disability.
With Austswim a partner of the Samuel Morris Foundation, the couple and Mr Mallett met with federal Lindsay MP David Bradbury six months ago.
Mr Bradbury was so inspired by the MATE program he insisted it be launched locally.
The program has been unveiled at six sites across NSW with plans to roll it out statewide.
It's hoped the first MATE seminar at Ripples Leisure Centre will be held later this year.
"I've had service providers come up to me today to ask when it will be on," Mr Mallett said.
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