Colin with son Austin.

“I want to be a dad who can swim with my son.”

Two-year-old Austin is the motivation for Colin Qin getting in the water every week. Having tried a handful of times to commit to swimming, Colin has found being a father has given him the extra push he needed. “I tried other private lessons a few years ago, but I gave up after a couple of months,” he tells. “This time, when I made the decision, I knew I would have to make time no matter how busy I was. I can’t give up again, because of Austin.”

Colin has a weekly lesson with former New Zealand representative swimmer Jacob Garrod, and aims to jump in the pool to practice at least once in between. It hasn’t always been easy, especially in such a disruptive year with the pools being closed. Colin has had to learn the fundamentals of swimming, such as body position, kicking and breathing. “It’s definitely harder learning as an adult, my body was stiff, not relaxed. I wasn’t confident and I was struggling,” he recalls.

In order to understand how to progress, Colin compared swimming to one of his hobbies. “I play golf, and your whole body is stiff initially. After you’ve played a while, your body is relaxed and you hit the ball better. Swimming is the same, it’s not one or two months and you get what you want. You need a longer plan.”

Colin and Jacob ready for a lesson.

Jacob’s impressed by Colin’s determination. “I’ve seen his confidence grow significantly and he is now comfortable in the water,” Jacob says. “He now has a great understanding of what he should be doing. I can see he’s determined to learn to swim, and I know that will encourage him. Persistence is key!”

“Jacob makes me feel very confident in the water,” Colin says of his coach. “I trust him, so I follow his instructions. He always reminds me to relax, to take things slowly to build up my confidence. Jacob is very patient!” he laughs. He’s noticed his improvement in the water, being much more relaxed and comfortable, and achieving milestones like swimming a lap non-stop.

Having never learned to swim, and only played in the water as a child, Colin wants his son to have a different experience. He plans to enrol Austin for lessons when he turns three in November. “I want to be there when Austin learns to swim,” says Colin. “I see my friends taking their kids to swimming lessons, or to the pool, and jumping in with them. I wasn’t that confident getting in the water, but I am now. I will teach Austin everything Jacob taught me,” he laughs. “I may compete with him – we’ll probably be learning together!”

Colin is looking forward to the coming summer now his water confidence has increased. “We take Austin to the beach, but not in the water. We just can’t take the risk. But this summer, I’ll be able to look after him and play with him in the water.”

It’s that quality time which is the point for Colin. “Children grow very fast, and you can lose that time. I want to be able to take Austin swimming and build those memories with him.”

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Heather is our Communications Manager here at AUT Millennium. With a BA/BCom from the University of Auckland and postgraduate qualification in communications, Heather honed her copywriting skills in the recruitment and tertiary industries. As a storyteller, she loves to share the inspirational stories of the AUT Millennium community. Her mood will greatly depend on the current (mis)fortunes of the BlackCaps and Warriors. [email protected]