SWIMMING instructor Anna Grisancich, pictured, has been teaching children water safety skills at Kingswim Mornington for 30 years. Her journey started as a parent volunteer with Mount Martha Primary School which her two children attended. She said she “loved being with the children, especially those who were frightened of the water”.
“The outcome was so positive, I was hooked,” she said.
Having taught hundreds of students to swim – and even two generations within the same family – Ms Grisancich says too many children lack the skills required to feel safe and confident in the water.
She believes swimming should be a compulsory part of every child’s education.
Over the years she has found that some parents need as much encouragement as their children to get them in the water, she said.
“More often than not parents will tell their instructor that their child doesn’t like swimming, but I would encourage them to be patient and persist. I have three Ps for swimming: passion, patience and persistence.”
Ms Grisancich’s most satisfying moments are the small achievements and the “children’s big smiles when they learn to kick with their eyes open underwater.”
Recalling her proudest teaching moment, Ms Grisancich said her first pupils were a brother and sister in the same class.
“Over the last 10 minutes [of class] we would have a deep water session, jumping and learning to tread water and then swimming back to the wall,” she said.
“I noticed their mum would look on nervously. Later I found out that she had lost her oldest child to drowning. She was overjoyed to see her children learn to swim.”