OUR CITY OUR FUTURE - Karen Peters
KAREN Peters believes learning to swim is as important as learning to read and write.
The Warwick Indoor Recreation and Aquatic Centre's second-in-charge said everybody should learn to swim, at a young age.
"My dad made sure we all learnt to swim," she said.
"I remember having lesson every week from about the age of five.
"I started my kids in swimming lessons at six weeks old."
Mrs Peters was born in London and moved to Australia with her family at the age of four.
"We were 'ten-pound Poms'," she said.
"Mum and Dad settled in Dapto, near Wollongong, so water was just a part of life growing up.
"There was fishing and swimming, surfing and scuba diving."
Mrs Peters said she grew up with three brothers and a sister and they all enjoyed active childhoods.
"We all had two sports; swimming and something else of our choice. I chose hockey" she said. "But if we started something, we had to finish it, or finish out the season at least.
"Dad was pretty strict like that but it was probably due to his 17 years in the army.
"Although that's the philosophy I took with my kids too. Kids sports can be a pretty expensive exercise."
After finishing school Mrs Peters worked in bank for 15 years and then got a job as an instructor at a private swim school.
Around this time, her husband Noel started to grow tired of living in the Wollongong area.
"It started to get really busy and touristy," she said.
"It took him two years to convince me to move, but eventually I came round and we headed north.
"We'd also bought our daughter a horse but had no land to keep it on, so a move to Warwick and a couple of acres with some chooks and horses sounded pretty good.
"That was 12 years ago, and I still have that horse."
Mrs Peters said she rang WIRAC before moving to Warwick and landed a casual job.
"Then I went part time and about eight years ago I became the aquatic co-ordinator, the role I still hold today," she said.
Mrs Peters said she'd really like to see more parents bring their kids to the pool.
"I don't think the standard of swimming in Warwick is close to where it should be," she said.
"Aside from that, I want to cycle and horse-ride more, do more quilting and keep working here as long as I can."