Kowhai school swimmingly good
You won’t catch Kowhai Intermediate School students cowering in the shallow end of the swimming pool.
A new $2 million pool built on the school grounds means students will get lessons all-year round.
“Every student who leaves our school will leave as a really competent swimmer,” says principal Paul Douglas.
“Hopefully it will set some kids off on a path of recreational or competitive swimming they might otherwise not have taken.”
The pool is a joint venture between the school and the Trent Bray Swim School, run by the former Olympic swimmer and his brother Davin.
While the pool opened in August, Mr Douglas says it has been three years in the planning.
“The unique thing about it is that the school hasn’t paid for it. All we did was give up some of our land.”
The school had an old outdoor pool which had a crack in the bottom and was going to have to be repaired or removed.
He approached Trent and Davin, who have been running their swim school from the Mt Albert Primary School pool for the past six years and were looking to build a purposebuilt venue.
“They put up the building and the pool and we get to use it during the week.”
Now the students can swim all year, whereas the outdoor pool could only be used for a few months in summer before it got too cold, he says.
The swim school operates outside school hours so the pool is always in use.
“It’s a unique way of solving the problem. Schools all over the place are closing their pools because they are too expensive to run.”
The 25 metre, sixlane pool is the same size as those used for short course swimming championships. There is also a smaller pool for young children.
The swim school is able to hold baby swimming classes during the day and other classes outside school hours.
Trent Bray says the project is a result of Mr Douglas’s forward thinking.
“It works really well. It’s purpose-built specially for learning to swim.
“Everything there is designed to be able to cater for different levels.”
Instructors also spend time with the school teachers, showing them how to teach the children to swim.
For more information on the swim school, go to www.tbss.co.nz.
Swim skills: Former Olympic swimmer Trent Bray, left, and Kowhai Intermediate principal Paul Douglas at their new joint venture swimming pool.