In early summer of 2017 and 2018 almost 200 children participated in a program facilitated by Downs Little Lifeguards (http://www.tr.qld.gov.au/facilities-recreation/sport-recreation/swimming-pools-gyms/13096-downs-little-lifeguards-program), a regional community initiative developed specifically to ensure that children in regional and rural Australia are able to survive or save themselves in inland waterway settings in Australia. Downs Little Lifeguards (DLL) is an entity borne out of community concerns for the risk to children in rural areas recreating at inland waterways as was originally identified in 2014 through research by the Royal Life Saving Society Australia (RLSSA). This paper provides details on the assessment of the water competency of this cohort of swimmers from a pool environment through to open water aquatic environment with reference to the water competency framework developed by Stallman, Moran, Quan, & Langendorfer (2017). The work provides a primer for further investigation into what defines water competency in drowning prevention and water safety.

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