Belgravia Leisure swim teacher awarded AUSTSWIM National Teacher of the Aquatics

Kilsyth Centenary Pool swimming and water safety teacher, Jill Heffernan, has been given national recognition for her inclusive and accessible swimming program for Yarra Ranges children in Melbourne’s outer east.

Jill was awarded the 2016 National Teacher of Aquatics - Access and Inclusion Award by Australia’s peak swimming body, AUSTSWIM.

Jill received the Victorian award in June 2016, for her work teaching water safety and swimming skills to children at Kilsyth Centenary Pool. She went on to represent Victoria at the national awards this year, where she won the overall Access and Inclusion award.

Kilsyth Centenary Pool Centre Manager James Rossiter said the swimming and water safety program focused on creating an accessible learning environment for children with learning difficulties or living with disability.

“In the program, children with intellectual disability or who are on the autism spectrum can either be in a one-on-one class, or in a class with reduced student numbers,” James said.

“We know that having a child with a disability can come with added family expenses, so we have also reduced the price of our one-on-one classes for our access and inclusion kids to make our program more accessible.

“The team here at Kilsyth and at Belgravia Leisure congratulate Jill on her award and are glad that her fantastic work is being recognised.”

Walling Ward Councillor, Len Cox said Jill’s work would help more young people gain vital swimming skills and learn how to be safe around water at Council’s aquatic facilities.

“Water safety is one of the most important things for children to learn, and gives parents peace-of-mind as their children visit pools, beaches and grow into young adults,” he said.

“Having specially-tailored accessible programs means that children who may struggle in traditional swim classes will be able to learn in a safe environment.

“Under Council's Child and Youth Strategy 2014-2024, we set a goal of making sure universal services are available to enhance wellbeing and resilience in children and young people, and this fits right into that.

“On behalf of Yarra Ranges, congratulations to Jill for a well-deserved award.”