New swim coach for Jindabyne

Michelle Thomas of Michelle's Swim School will operate swim coaching lessons at Jindabyne Swimming Pool. Michelle has been successfully running swimming schools in the Cooma region for many years.

Michelle will begin this service from Monday and will continue for the duration of school term 4. Continuation of the programs will be reassessed after that time.

If you are interested in lessons please contact Michelle on 02 6452 4289 for details and bookings. Further lessons will be scheduled according to demand.

Council's general manager Joe Vescio said, "I am happy to see this service reinstated for the community and understand there was confusion about the services provided, and who should be providing them. Council looks forward to moving into term 4 with Michelle's Swim School providing swimming coaching at Jindabyne pool".

A proud history for swim school

Michelle's Swim School was first established in November 1992 as Mary and Michelle's Swim School. Michelle and her mother Mary saw the need for swimming lessons on an ongoing basis in the community. Sherry and Cobber Seears had just built the Kinross Inn in Cooma with an indoor heated pool and they were happy to have Michelle and Mary hold the lessons there. They started with a handful of students and grew bigger week by week. After about round five years, they eventually out grew the small motel pool, and when Sherry and Cobber sold up, it was time too for the Swim School to move on. They were lucky enough to negotiate the use of Hospital Hydrotherapy Pool, where they were happy to have the pool utilised around their pysiotherapy hours.

Mary and Mike retired to Tathra around this time, leaving Michelle to carry on the lessons on her own.

Once settled into the Hydro Pool the lessons grew and grew. It soon became apparent that help was needed so new teachers were recruited and trained. Michelle's Swim School has always only employed Austswim Qualified Instructors and over the years has trained and assessed dozens of new Austswim teachers, many of whom have gone on to work within the swim school.

After teaching the Alford boys to swim for several years, Michelle developed a rapport with their mum Lorraine, and asked her to do her Austswim course. Lorraine did this and began work with the Swim School in around 2004. Since then they have not looked back, always looking for new ways of involving more children in swimming lessons. Both Michelle and Lorraine hold all Austswim teaching qualifications and are also Royal Lifesaving Society Bronze Medallion Trainers and Assessors. They both have a passion for teaching children with disabilities and over the years have accessed grants on several occasions to do this. At present, thanks to the YMCA around 15 children are receiving on going lessons, including four special needs students from the Cooma Public School.

Michelle took on the coaching at the Cooma Pool in 2008 and also expanded the Learn to Swim Programs over the summer to this pool.

Seeing a need for schools to have more consistent swimming and water safety lessons, involving the whole school Michelle approached all the schools in the local area with proposals. All Cooma primary schools along with the Snowy Mountains Christian School now have regular lessons at the Cooma Swim Centre either in term 1 or 4. Along with most of the smaller schools who travel in from Adaminaby, Jerangle, Nimmitabel and Numeralla. It is fantastic to see so many children who had never previously had lessons now able to swim proficiently. These schools also participate in the Bronze Star and Bronze Medallion Awards for the older children.

In 2008 and 2010 Michelle was awarded NSW Teacher of Swimming and Water Safety of the year, at the NSW Austswim Awards of Excellence, and in the same years Michelle's Swim School was also awarded a High Commendation. For a small regional Swim School and teacher this is no mean feat.

The current team at Michelle's Swim School are all so passionate about teaching Swimming and Water Safety. They have to be a special breed to work in the conditions they do. One of the first school lessons this season it was nearly snowing.

This is just the beginning of what is to come for the Swim School.

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