Royal Life Saving Society - Australia, in collaboration with Sport Australia has developed the Athlete Participation Framework (APF).
The APF is our ‘waterway of development’ and the purpose is to:
describe RLSSA athlete and coach pathway;
detail athlete characteristics and how they develop through each stage;
outline the developmental needs for athletes and coaches, environment and the aligned support services; and
to confirm how the sport is led and managed.
The APF is based on the AIS framework - Foundations, Talent, Elite and Mastery (FTEM), the National Swimming and Water Safety Framework the SportAus Draft Physical Literacy Standard to align the pathway stages.
The model consists of the four-major development and performance levels which are further broken down into the following ten microphases.
The Athlete Participation Framework integrates three key outcomes of Pool Lifesaving participation:
active participation in swimming and water safety
swimming and lifesaving skills development and;
By categorising the key features of a sportsperson or athlete within each of these pathways, we can encapsulate the relevant research and expectations of athletes throughout their Lifesaving journey.
It also provides practical methods to assist sport stakeholders managing an athlete's career and those who work in developing sport systems.
This enhanced understanding of lifesaving sport pathways will help us to improve the experiences of more people, at more levels of the pathway, more often.