Swimmers dive in with Grace

Published 2:00pm 13 June 2023

Swimmers dive in with Grace
Words by Kylie Knight
Photos by Josh Duyzer

Grace Swimming offers swimmers, from babies through to adults, the opportunity to develop good technique and skills that could save their lives.

The swim centre at Rothwell, which was named Swim Australia’s Swim School of the Year in 2022, runs the full gamut of programs from infants and learn-to-swim (children and adults) to squads.

“We go from babies all the way through to our national level squad. That’s what differentiates us from a lot of the swim schools around here. We have the pathways from our infants program to our learn-to-swim program, our stroke development program to our squad program,” Aquatics Co-ordinator Andrew Bow explains.

“Everything’s connected. Everything we do in the initial stages with babies is all connected to what we do in the squad program.”

There are two separate entities that work together at the swim complex – Grace Swimming, which is run and managed by Grace College, and Grace Swimming Club which provides access for swimmers to swim competitively and to attend club nights.

|“Probably the biggest misconception we have is that people think that we’re not open to anyone else other than Grace Lutheran College students,” Andrew says.|

Anyone can sign up for any of the programs, with more than 1000 students enrolled in Grace Swimming programs from a broad catchment.

“Our catchment’s all of Redcliffe, all of North Lakes, Narangba and Burpengary,” he says.

Swimmers dive in with Grace

What’s on offer

The centre has three pools. There are two learn-to-swim pools, both kept at 32°C, and a 25m outdoor heated pool for its squad programs and the last level of the learn-to-swim program.

Programs are run by qualified and experienced staff all year.

Grace Swimming has been going for more than 25 years and has Manager and Platinum Licensed Head Coach Chris Phillips at the helm, supported by a team with decades of experience.

As an athlete, Chris held numerous Queensland and Australian swimming champion titles, and went on to represent Australia.

He has been a Queensland and Australian Swimming Team Coach and was previously a Queensland Academy of Sport Coach. He has coached on the Australian Team on many occasions and has coached numerous national and international world record holders.

Senior Squad Coach Josh Duyzer has been swimming at Grace since he was nine years old.

“I’ve grown up here, pretty much,” he says before explaining what has kept him there for so many years.

“I think it’s that community type of feel that you get here … that positive and encouraging kind of feel. The people are approachable. I think it’s that community feel that brings everyone in.”

Swimmers dive in with Grace

Learning for life

For Andrew, learning to swim is a vital skill for children.

“It’s the most important life skill anyone’s ever going to learn, especially in Australia. Unfortunately, it’s not participated in enough because it’s not free,” he says.

Those who choose to pursue it as a sport learn much about dedication and commitment.

National-level swimmers are offered 10 sessions a week, two hours each, equating to about 20 hours of training.

“For the kids who come into the squad system, I think it instils commitment good routine, self-discipline skills that they can carry through life. Everyone thinks it’s an individual sport but it’s not really – it’s a big team effort,” Andrew says.

Aquatics Supervisor Jaime Tulau says Grace Swimming supports swimmers every step of the way.

“Our philosophy is technique, distance, speed. We have a very technique-focused program and we believe that every swimmer should be given the skills so they can have the opportunity to be a competitive swimmer if they choose to,” she says.

“It’s really important to set them up with good technique and good skills from the get-go.”

To find out more about Grace Swimming, visit the website graceswim.org.au

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