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NSW AUSTSWIM awards honour Swim instructor and leading centre
The recently presented NSW AUSTSWIM Awards have seen Ripples Leisure Centre win the coveted 2016 NSW Recognised Swim Centre of the Year award and Blacktown City Council Aqua Learn-to-Swim instructor, Sharon Falkner, presented with the 2016 AUSTSWIM Teacher of Adults award.
Ripples Leisure Centre’s win comes off the back of it having won the Swim Schools National Award for Swim Australia’s 2016 Best Swim School Marketing and the 2015 NSW Water Safety Awards Local Community Initiative of the Year for its Free Water Safety Road Show.
Ripples Leisure Centre
Located in the western Sydney suburb of St Marys, Ripples Leisure Centre’s award recognises the dedication and commitment of the Ripples Leisure Centre staff in providing new opportunities to access and utilise the facility, as well as continually educating the community on the importance of water safety and supervision.
Among the many the initiatives, Ripples Leisure Centre was acknowledged for their work and achievements with:
• The delivery of the free Water Safety Road Show to local preschools and schools.
Ripples educated over 9,000 students from over 80 local preschools and schools in 2015/2016, with goals of this program being to raise general water safety awareness in children ages 0 to 14 years, the dangers present in various waterways and practical ways for all ages to stay safe and enjoy all water environments. The program also encourages participation in learn to swim and other water safety programs and in turn reduce drowning statistics.
• Learn to Swim Mini Carnival events run in March and July.
These are free and exclusive to learn-to-swim students at St Marys and Penrith. The purpose of the Mini Carnival is to encourage participation for those students not confident yet to take part in a swimming carnival or new to swimming competitively, to introduce them to the carnival atmosphere and to promote the sport of swimming but most of all to have some fun away from the lesson environment.
• Participation in industry and affiliated partner initiatives
These included Swim Safer Week, Kids Alive ‘Learn to Swim Week’ and creation of its own encouragement program - the ‘Ripplets Swimmer of the Week’ award. This “Ripplets” award is based off instructor nominations for students that behave well, consistently try their best or achieve important milestones.
• The Maniah Betham Squad Scholarship.
Maniah Betham was a talented and beloved national swimmer of the Ripples Squad who tragically lost his life in July 2014 at the age of 15. Ripples developed this annual scholarship in honour of his memory and his amazing achievements in and out of the water.
Ripples Swim School is a comprehensive and established learn to swim program catering for all ages and abilities from four months to adults and special needs. Its lessons are skills based with an emphasis on progressive learning experiences from building water confidence, correct stroke technique to survival skills.
Its instructors are AUSTSWIM/Swim Australia/ASCTA accredited and have been screened according to legislative requirements. Combining technical knowledge and the ability to communicate to all ages, our instructors have a caring, emphatic and inclusive approach to teaching.
Ripples Swim School is based at three facilities St Marys, St Marys Hydrotherapy Centre and Penrith (Penrith summer season only) and is partnered with many industry leaders to ensure we are delivering the highest quality swimming lessons to our students.
The recipient of the 2016 AUSTSWIM Teacher of Adults award, Sharon Falkner has worked with Blacktown City Council as a learn-to-swim Instructor for eight years, starting out at Emerton Leisure Centre where she won the 2011 AUSTSWIM Teacher of Infants award.
Commenting on her award, Mayor of Blacktown City, Councillor Stephen Bali stated “Sharon is a passionate instructor and a credit to the Aqua Learn to Swim program.
“Her dedication to aquatic education not only sees her passing on valuable knowledge and skills to the students and their parents, but she also mentors her fellow learn to swim instructors.
“Having instructors who are qualified to teach adults how to swim and also educate them on water safety is a valuable thing for the Aqua Learn to Swim program.
“No matter what your age is, it’s never too late to learn how to swim. It’s just as important for adults as it is for children. Our specialised adult program through Aqua Learn to Swim offers classes for all ages and ability levels,” added Mayor Bali.
In addition to her qualification as a Teacher of Adults, Falkner’s other qualifications include Teacher of Swimming and Water Safety, Teacher of Infants and Preschool Aquatics, Teacher of Aquatics Access and Inclusion and Teacher of Competitive Strokes.
The Aqua Learn to Swim program runs at Blacktown City Council’s five Leisure & Aquatic Centres – Blacktown, Emerton, Mount Druitt, Riverstone and Stanhope.
Images: Members of the Ripples Leisure Centre team receive their AUSTSWIM award (top and middle) and Blacktown Aqua Learn-to-Swim Instructor Sharon Falkner with some of her students; Amanpreet Kaur, Swetha Devabakthini and Ellen Cranfield.
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