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Aussie woman's 'traumatic' swimming ordeal as nation's surprising stats revealed

Thu Fampidi, 42, has been scared of the ocean for years but recently decided to learn how to swim.

Despite the ocean being synonymous with the Australian lifestyle, a surprisingly many people admit to having a lack of confidence in the water.

New research conducted by Allianz revealed an alarming number of respondents, almost 60 per cent, said they either can't swim or don't feel confident in the water, with one in five not getting lessons as a child.

This couldn't be more true for Thu Fampidi, 42, who spent most of her life avoiding the water after several "traumatic" experiences during her childhood.

"Looking at the ocean it always felt like this big expanse... like it would swallow me whole. I was always afraid of it," the Melbourne woman told Yahoo News Australia. "I fully respect the water because it gives life, but it also takes it."

Left, Thu Fampidi smiles at the side of the pool with a pair of goggles round her neck wearing a swimming costume. Right, she overcomes her fear or water breathing deeply in the pool.
Thu Fampidi is one of thousands of Aussies who have overcome their fear of the water. Source: Thu Fampidi

Born on a refugee boat in Indonesian waters, Fampidi moved to Australia when she was months old with her family. And at aged 10 what started as an innocent game between her older twin sisters in the swimming pool had a lasting impact.

"I did have a bit of a traumatic experience where my sisters, as a joke, tried to pull me down under the water in the deep end. And I think ever since then, I just have this fear," she admitted.

Aussie reclaims love for the ocean

After spending years idly watching on the sidelines at local swimming pools, or on the sand as friends and family splashed and enjoyed themselves, Fampidi decided she would face her fear and learn how to swim.

She joined a free swimming program ran by Allianz Swim Club and became one of thousands of Aussies eager to regain their confidence in the water.

"I've learned the right techniques on how to stay afloat and tread water," Fampidi explained. "I realised that water can actually keep you up and hold your body, it can actually lift you."

Left, Thu Fampidi swims while wearing her swimming costume. Right, she takes a large stroke in the pool.
The Aussie feels much happier now she is a confident swimmer. Source: Thu Fampidi

There has been 281 deaths from drowning recorded in the last year occurring according to the Royal Life Saving Society, it's never been more important for Aussies to reclaim their love for the ocean and strengthen their swimming skills, with Fampidi planning to visit her place of birth and swim in the ocean at the start of next year.

"I would highly encourage everyone who can, to learn how to swim... I'm enjoying it," she said.

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