Teaching generations to swim
Sandy Allan has been teaching Logan kids to swim for 38 years – and says she still learns something new every day.
‘Every half hour lesson is different because every child is different, so I am always learning even after all this time,’ she says.
Starting at the Laurie Lawrence Swim School in 1985 and then moving to Logan North Aquatic Centre when it adopted the program in 2012, she says her years of teaching safety in the water has left her with one important, resounding message: always have fun.
‘I have fun with the kids, I make sure they have fun with me, and that’s the key to it, really,’ she says.
‘If they are having fun they will learn more quickly, become more confident and keep coming back.
‘I love being around kids and try to make sure every lesson is like a performance for them; you have to keep their attention.
‘Parents need to have fun, too – if they are enjoying it so will the kids; if parents are stressed out they sense it – and parents often underestimate what very young kids are capable of in the water.’
Not only has Sandy taught the children of past students – she’s taught the grandchildren of past students, too.
‘It’s lovely when that happens, and that the families have wanted to continue to do the Laurie Lawrence program is really great,’ she says.
‘I’ve also seen little kids come through the program, onto squad, and then sometimes to Nationals or even the Olympics.’
Sandy says her job is key to ‘feeling young and energetic’, but it’s a demanding one too.
‘You have to make every class feel special – you might be on your fifth class of the day and not feel as energetic as you did for your first, but the people in that class paid the same money so you need to give them the same as everyone else – that’s really important,’ she says.
Sandy says starting swimming lessons early is important for children, as well as learning to swim without goggles.
‘It’s a safety thing. For example, if you fall into a pool and you are used to wearing goggles you might panic, whereas if you are used to swimming without goggles you will be calmer,’ she says.
‘It’s the same as starting really young – babies aren’t scared of the water, it’s when you start lessons at an older age you might have learned to be scared.
‘But at any age, we learn by using these building blocks, from putting your face in the water, to swimming – and when you get any child achieving these goals and feeling proud, that is great.’
For more information about the Aqualogan Lawrie Laurence Swim Program, head here.
You can also take advantage of 5 free Kids Alive Do The Five lessons – find out more here.