WIRAC awarded top gong from Swim Australia

THE dedication of swimming instructors at WIRAC hasn’t gone unnoticed, with the centre receiving an “outstanding commun-ity service” award from Swim Australia.

The award recognises the community engagement of swim schools across the country, with WIRAC selected in the “small swim school” category, teaching fewer than 500 lessons a week.

Centre manager Karen Peters was surprised to hear the news, after submitting the nomination on a whim.

“I nominated us on the off chance because we’re only a small swim school compared to some others,” she said.

“It was really lovely to get this award.”

In peak months, Peters said the centre could see up to 450 students complete lessons, while the cooler months only saw a few hundred. For a smaller swim school, Peters said the variety of ­classes available was a testament to the hard work of instructors.

“Even though we’re a small swim school, we offer a lot of free services as well,” she said.

“We do water safety talks with mothers and babies; water safety with our learn-to-swim program each term; mini carnivals and race nights.

“We even offered free pool access to the community for our showers during the drought.”

While most services are offered within the facility, the educational water safety talks with schoolchildren was where Peters was most proud.

“Being in a rural community, it’s a little tougher here in getting WIRAC’s exposure on water safety,” she said.

“I have a couple of incredible staff, who do a water safety road show and perform skits in front of parades to prepare kids for water safety.

“(Our staff) try and change people’s attitudes and increase their awareness on how important it is to teach children to swim.”

The centre caters for swimmers as young as six months old right through to 90-year-olds, from rehabilitation programs to competitive training sessions.

Despite WIRAC having to remain closed due to coronavirus restrictions, Peters said the award highlighted the often unseen work of staff.

“Anyone that works at WIRAC has to be able to go above and beyond, and most of them are those types of people,” she said.

“I think a lot of people don’t realise what we do here. I nominated us because I believe we have a really strong team who are willing to go above and beyond.

“And they need recognition for the work they put in.”

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