Coach wants to see ev­ery­one swim­ming

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Scott Wil­son wants the Dash Swim School to be the best in the re­gion and says Can­nons Creek Pool is tai­lor-made for his lofty goal.

The pro­gramme man­ager has more than 28 years in the in­dus­try to back his aim. He started out work­ing at a new swim school in Can­berra in 1980, soak­ing up the suc­cess and con­fi­dence bred into Aus­tralian sport, be­fore bring­ing what he learnt back home to New Zealand in 1993.

‘‘What I learnt in Aus­tralia was im­por­tant for my own devel­op­ment. I was able to get to that elite level of coach­ing. My phi­los­o­phy is around un­der­stand­ing why par­ents want their kids to swim and re­al­is­ing the great safety and so­cial as­pects there are to swim­ming. It’s a life­time skill. You can do it at school and when you’re 70 – what we need to do is pro­vide a struc­tured en­vi­ron­ment to learn.’’

Mr Wil­son ran the first ‘ learn to swim’ school in Welling­ton, out of the Boys and Girls In­sti­tute pool in Welling­ton, be­fore Food­stuffs bought the site and de­mol­ished it in 2008. The dis­ap­point­ment over this – some kids were giv­ing up swim­ming as a re­sult – led him to take time out from the in­dus­try. But when the op­por­tu­nity in Can­nons Creek arose last year, ‘‘it was too good not to con­sider’’.

The pool is now geared to­wards school groups and the Dash Swim pro­gramme, with ex­tra in­struc­tors em­ployed to cope with swelling num­bers through the door.

Few schools still re­tain their own pools due to costs and the strict health and safety reg­u­la­tions, which has in­creased the im­por­tance of coun­cil-run pools.

‘‘This is a great fa­cil­ity, a fan­tas­tic re­source for Porirua. The size is per­fect to cater for in­fants putting their faces into the wa­ter for the first time, through to your com­peti- tive swim­mers we are cre­at­ing path­ways for. I’m con­fi­dent in say­ing this will be the best swim school in the re­gion.’’

Top of his wish­list would be for ev­ery man, woman and child in Porirua to be able to swim.

He de­spairs at the high num­bers of Ki­wis that don’t know how, point­ing out that be­ing as­sured in the wa­ter, whether it’s a pool or in the sea, can have pos­i­tive off-shoots for self-con­fi­dence, self-es­teem and health.

‘‘I’m pas­sion­ate about peo­ple get­ting in the wa­ter, hav­ing fun and be­ing safe. We’re sur­rounded by wa­ter in this coun­try, af­ter all.’’

Driv­ing Dash: The in­struc­tors at Can­nons Creek Pool-based Dash Swim School will be re­ceiv­ing the ben­e­fits of Scott Wil­son’s ex­pe­ri­ence. He be­lieves he has the pas­sion to make the pro­gramme one of the re­gion’s best.

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