In 2002, a five-year-old Nick Weir jumped into the pool at Pioneer for one of the first ever Swimsmart lessons.
Now marking the 20 years of the Christchurch City Council programme, Nick has gone from pupil to teacher as the Swim Education Team Leader at Te Pou Toetoe: Linwood Pool.
“I remember it was such a fun environment when I was a kid. The mix of learning a valuable skill but not really realising it because it was so much fun,” he said.
From five to 14 years old, Nick was part of the Swimsmart programme and two years later he got his first job as an instructor.
“I’ve navigated my way through the ocean that is swim education, first and foremost being a swimmer, becoming an instructor, supervisor and then most recently becoming the Team Leader at Te Pou Toetoe,” Nick said.
“I was definitely inspired by my years taking part in lessons. The more kids enjoy swimming lessons, the more they learn and that was the case for me.”
In his current role he loves having the opportunity to teach and pass on the knowledge that I’ve acquired to new instructors.
“Giving them the necessary skills to continue to teach our rangatahi and to continue give back to the community an essential life skill. My passion is helping people and if I can do so by continuing to help keep our tamariki safe in the water that to me is a job well done,” he said.
“The Swimsmart programme has a focus on learning how to be safe in and around the water. If we can help kids become confident and help prevent drownings that is what’s most important.”
But even now he never misses an opportunity to pop his togs on and jump in the pool to help teach the odd lesson.
“This job is something that I absolutely love and have loved watching children and adults grow in their confidence and ability over the years,” Nick said.
“There’s a real sense of feeling like what we do has a positive impact on the community. Te Pou Toetoe and our work is making people’s lives better.”
Christchurch Recreation and Sports Centres are marking the 20 years of Swimsmart by profiling 20 people who have been involved in the programme.
Check them out on Facebook here.