23 February, 2023

Making a splash to save lives

Swimming laps of the Toogoolawah pool throughout March is the focus for a group of Somerset-based swimmers and non-swimmers, in aid of youth suicide prevention.

Jayne McKenzie (back row, third from left) with a group of youngsters in preparation for the Laps for Life fundraiser in March.
Jayne McKenzie (back row, third from left) with a group of youngsters in preparation for the Laps for Life fundraiser in March.

Participants can swim any number of laps of the 25m pool for this nationwide initiative named Laps for Life, which runs on every day of the third month of the year.

Toogoolawah Community Gym staff Jayne McKenzie and Jesi Smith organised the event for the Somerset region, with anyone welcome to join the Toogoolawah Pool & Gym team.

Jayne was keen for Somerset to come on board and be part of this year’s statistics, after Laps for Life raised almost $2 million last year from 6090 swimmers who chalked up a little over 60,000km.

The issue of youth suicide remains close to Jayne’s heart after she used to be a suicide prevention officer in the area.

“Suicide is the leading cause of young deaths in Australia,” Jayne said.

“More youths die of suicide than car accidents or cancer.”

Jayne said more than 20 people had registered for the Toogoolawah event so far, with one participant vowing to swim 40km – equating to 1600 lengths of the 25m pool!

“Some are swimming just one lap, others have put in for 40km,” Jayne said.

“(It can be) any stroke, and you can use a noodle or other swimming device.

“Kids can use water wings or floaties.”

Jayne said those who preferred not to swim had the option of walking the width of the pool, with a swimming teacher nearby.

Another feature will be twilight swimming from 6pm to 7pm each Wednesday, and on the final day of the month.

“It will be swimming under the stars,” Jayne said.

“All lanes will be set up, and there will be extra lifeguards.”

With the goal of raising $1,000 already having been surpassed by the Somerset group, Jayne said the revised goal was $2,000.

Participants are asked to register by the end of February, although they can join during March.

Registrations can be done online at, or at the Toogoolawah pool. People are asked to select ‘join a team’ and then choose ‘Toogoolawah Pool & Gym’.

When registering, people also have the choice of nominating their number of laps.

Vouchers and gift prizes will be on offer for the best senior, best learn-to-swim youngster, and best family.


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