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Australian Swim Schools national award winners announced

April 5th, 2023

More than 250 attendees from swim schools across the country gathered at Glenelg’s Stamford Grand to celebrate the Australian Swim Schools national excellence awards.

Hosted by the Australian Swim Schools Association (ASSA), the awards recognise the outstanding achievements of ASSA member swim schools across nine categories including inclusivity, sustainability, growth and talent.

The awards also saw four recipients inducted into the ASSA Hall of Fame for outstanding lifelong contribution to the industry. John and Barbara Carew were inducted into the Hall of Fame with a Pioneer award for their work in grassroots through to high performance swimming in Queensland. Barbara continues to teach at the age of 81 and has not missed a single swim term in 50 years, while their son David has taken over the running of John Carew Swim School in Indooroopilly, Queensland.

Upon accepting the award on behalf of herself and late husband John, Barbara admitted to being “utterly shocked” and left “speechless” for the first time in her life.

Geoff and Debbie Gill were also inducted into ASSA’s Hall of Fame with an award for outstanding contribution to the industry in recognition of their role in launching Geelong’s most prominent swim school.

Other notable award winners for the night included Rebecca Ross who received the Emerging Talent Award in recognition of her “lead from behind” approach which has seen the swim school achieve a record number of enrolments.

Parafield Gardens Swim School (SA) received the Inclusive Swimming Award for its Angelfish program - designed to teach children with physical, developmental or behavioural difficulties; and its Women’s Afghan swimming program - one of South Australia’s only Muslim Women’s learn to swim programs, dedicated to teaching vital swimming skills to the growing refugee community.

“The strength of this year's nominations is a testament to the amazing work of our member schools across all categories, and is indicative of the continual improvement and maturity of our industry,” said ASSA general manager, Emily McNeill.

The full list of award recipients is as follows:

Inclusive Swimming Award - Parafield Gardens Swim School (SA)

SAFER Swimming Award - Berrydale Swim School (VIC)

Community Service Award - Blue Dolphin Swim School (SA)

Outstanding Growth Award - Little Snappers Swim School (QLD)

Emerging Talent Award - Rebecca Ross (WA)

International Swim School Award - D Swim Academy (Malaysia)

Sustainability Award - SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre AND Paul Sadler Carrum Downs & Paul Sadler Swimland Westgate (SA & VIC)

Swim School Award - Swim ARCademy (WA)

The awards ceremony coincided with ASSA’s annual national conference which had more than 350 delegates from across the nation coming together to discuss strategy, innovation and sustainability.

IMAGE: SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre award recipients

By Chris Maher
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