Syrian-American Olympic Swimmer Joined Young People on the beach for learning and lifesaving

January 12, 2018

Eleven participants, of Iraqi, Syrian and Ethiopian backgrounds, from CMY's Youth Transitions Support Pilot Program enjoyed a day of surf, sand, sea and lifesaving skills at Altona Beach yesterday.

The day started with a water and beach safety presentation from Life Saving Victoria lifeguards, as well as, an inspiring speech by Azad Al Barazi.

Azad is a dual Syrian and American national and is a lifeguard on Venice Beach, California with LA County.  He represented Syria in swimming at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. In Melbourne as part of the California Surf Lifesaving Team competing against Victoria in the biannual Wieland Shield, Azad and teammate Jeff Hart very kindly came along to spend the day with the young people, sharing his story as well as hearing many of theirs.

“The guys from Lifesaving Vic were so good – really fun activities but most important was some really valuable information about swimming in the ocean that I didn’t know much about,” said one of the participants, David Kbara.

In the water, the group then learned basic lifesaving techniques, as well as, bodyboarding and snorkeling while back on the beach, soccer and the classic lifesaving game ‘flags’ were big hits. 

The 11 participants have all been regular attendees of CMY's weekly swimming lessons at Broadmeadows Aquatic and Leisure Centre.

LSV LSV LSV Youth Transitions Support Prog

 Youth transitions support program altona beach  

Altona beach youth transitions support program Youth Transitions Support Program Youth transitions support program

Youth transitions support program

The Youth Transitions Support Pilot is supporting 15-25-year-old newly-arrived young people with education, employment and training pathways. LSV have been extremely supportive in providing mentoring and further swimming instruction for individuals interested in the lifeguarding pathway. For these latest participants, we hope days like these will be great springboards any aspiring lifesavers.

For more information on the Youth Transitions Support Pilot Program, contact Ed Alexander on 0431 580 341 or