Swim on the spot
The increasing number of school pools being closed was the impetus for refurbishing the Discovery School pool for learn to swim classes, says swim coach Ally Todd.
‘‘ Without school pools the opportunity to learn to swim for many school children is just not there,’’ she says. ‘‘Swimming is a basic life skill for New Zealanders.
‘‘ With a professional swim school on-board, schools can enjoy the luxury of up-to-date facilities and experts in aquatic education on site.’’
She says Ally Todd Swimming has developed a strong, longterm public-private partnership with the Whitby school which has been endorsed by the Ministry of Education.
Swim classes are now available for all ages and stages – from six-month-old babies in the specialist Early Childhood Aquatics programme through to primary school children and adults.
Discovery School principal Conrad Kelly says the pool had been closed since 1991 – when it was likely to have been shut down because of running costs.
The lease arrangement is definitely a ‘‘win-win’’, he says, with students being able to attend swimming classes on-site instead of travelling to pools in Cannons Creek and Naenae. However, he said, some senior students would probably continue to use the Naenae pool as its swimming programme better suited their needs.
Ms Todd is a trained teacher, former national education manager at Swimming New Zealand and has coached swimmers to many national teams, records and titles.
She says her approach to swimming teaching is a natural science approach which allows the laws of nature to assist and support ‘‘easy speed’’ through the water, while ensuring individuals maximise their own anatomy and capacities.
‘‘Developing an understanding of the water not only develops safe habits but enhances awareness and self-confidence,’’ she says. ‘‘It is never too early or too late to make a start towards the enjoyment of swimming.’’
Water work: Ally Todd offering some swim tips in the newly refurbished Discovery School pool.