There are almost 3,000 Swim Schoolers at AUT Millennium.
From three month old babies to teenagers and adults, every class is dedicated to teaching the life-skill of swimming and improving the health and wellbeing of an entire community.
Jenna Blom is a relatively new member of AUT Millennium Swim School.
Just over six weeks ago, Jenna and her mother, Trace, joined after recommendations by teachers at Upper Harbour School.
The bubbly ten year old can now be heard giggling between activities during her swimming lesson in The National Aquatic Centre every Friday afternoon.
Her teacher, Jenna Caine, has made a significant impact in the young girls’ life.
At only ten years old, Jenna’s life has been tougher than most.
Born with Down syndrome and dual Cataracts, Jenna had her first operation at just six weeks old. Nine months later, the little girl was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. As a one year old, she underwent major heart surgery and begun losing her hair as a result of alopecia.
You’d never guess how much Jenna has had to overcome while watching her swimming lessons however.
For half an hour there’s laughter, games and challenges. Jenna Caine’s compassionate and patient teaching style has helped to form a special connection with the young girl.
Trace, Jenna’s mother, explains how significant the lessons have been for her daughter.
“Jenna (Caine) is so encouraging and enthusiastic. We’ve been overwhelmed by her willingness to support.” Says Trace
Watching from poolside, there’s an obvious blend of fun and education during the sessions. The pair hunt for submerged toys, practice blowing bubbles and kicking.
Jenna’s wide smile and laughter is a consistent feature of the class.
Since starting lessons with Jenna Caine, the young girls’ skill has improved immensely, testament to the trust between teacher and pupil.
As Jenna tilts her head back to begin another back float, Trace’s reaction to the skills is heart-warming.
“I can see how much she trusts Jenna. Her body is so relaxed when she’s floating. Before these classes she would tense up and refuse to let go of her teacher.”
“Jenna’s confidence has improved so much. Watching her float without assistance and submerge is just amazing.” Says Trace.
“The environment at AUT Millennium is like nothing else we have ever experienced.”
Standing poolside during the private lessons, the Swim School’s commitment to building a community of strong swimmers and confident kids is unmistakeable.
“Jenna has improved more in six weeks than she has in five years, it blows me away.” Says Trace
“At the end of each session, it’s actually pretty hard to get Jenna out of the pool, she adores swimming and her teacher so much.”