Remote Lifeguards in Brisbane to watch Olympic Swimming Trials

Jun 13, 2024

Remote Aboriginal Community Lifeguards Belinda Andrew and Ishmael Windy are 2000kms away from home to watch the Australian Olympic Swimming Trials in Brisbane this week.

They are a long way from their hometown of Utju and the community pool where they work as pool lifeguards (and in Belinda’s case, also as a team leader) as part of the Y’s Remote Pools Project in partnership with the MacDonnell Regional Council and The Phillips Foundation.

Belinda, Ishmael and Remote Pools Manager Kurt Herzog have teamed up with some of the biggest names in swimming to raise awareness of the Remote Pools Project, with support shown from Kyle Chalmers, Matt Temple and Emma McKeon.

As a former elite swimmer and Remote Pools Project Manager, Kurt knows how important safe access to water is.

“Pools are the best place to learn swimming, yet in many remote communities, pools are open irregularly or not at all.

“In 2023 Australia was labelled the fastest swimming nation in the world, yet there are pools shutting down in remote Aboriginal Communities that need them most for improving short- and long-term health, reducing high rates of drowning and increasing local employment opportunities to name a few.

“The statistics show that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are up to 3 and half times more likely to drown than other Australians, particularly if they live in remote areas,” Kurt said.

The Remote Pools team are at the Australian Swimming Trials because they want the pool to be a place all Australians can access, benefit from, and feel proud of.

Drawing on the Y’s long history of safely operating pools, the Remote Pools Project works with seven communities across the NT to keep their pools open.

The Y’s not-for-profit model aims to maximise the health, economic and social benefits for communities. The program focuses on local training and employment, with a growing team of 50 local Aboriginal staff.

The Y recruits volunteer swim teachers to work alongside local staff to run swimming programs, including mentoring local trainee swim teachers.


To support the Remote Pools Project, people can connect on Instagram and Facebook, support with a donation, or sign up to volunteer.