Farewell to one of our fantastic grass roots teachers.

I could see the passion dancing behind Gracie’s eyes as I sat down to chat about her AUT Millennium Swim School journey.

It takes a certain type of person to be a successful swim instructor. An assorted blend of passion, perseverance, kindness and knowledge.

As our conversation gained some momentum, I could tell Gracie had them all.

She started her journey as a toddler. Lessons on water confidence turned to skills like kicking, rolling to breathe and full lengths of swimming. Gracie progressed through each level, eventually qualifying for Development 2 (Dev 2).

“I had to make it to Dev 2 so that mum was confident my brother and I would be safe in the water when we visited the bach. There was no way I could leave swimming before I reached that level, I’m glad I kept going!”

At just 15, Gracie chose to pass on what she’d learned as a swim schooler and begun training to be a qualified teacher. At 16, she started taking classes.

The result was more than just teaching children the life-skill of swimming.

“I learned to communicate well and I became more confident. Watching the children I taught progress through each level was awesome”

Gracie enjoys the genuine connection she gets with the children she teaches.

“Their faces light up when they do something new. Watching them build confidence and go on to swim full laps is why I enjoy what I do.”

I wanted to know a little more about how Gracie taught. What techniques she’d assembled after years of instructing.

Gracie’s favoured techniques include:

  1. Being straightforward.

Discipline is an important aspect of the learning process and when expressed thoughtfully, children respond well.

  1. Creative competitions.

This lights a fire of motivation for the boys especially, Gracie uses creative competitions to aid kick tempo and body position.

  1. Build role-models.

Having children lead by example inspires others to aspire, while simultaneously boosting the confidence of the role-model.

  1. Push boundaries.

Persevering through skills or finally learning to float, Gracie likes to see her classes extend themselves as far as possible.

Above all, Gracie enjoys helping children and has undoubtedly made a positive impact on AUT Millennium Swim School.

We wish you all the best for the future!

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