Meet our Swimming Instructors: the stories behind Vacswim’s dedicated teachers. Part 2.
15 April 2019
Robyn May, 53
Royal Life Saving, Cummins Pool
Robyn is a true lover of the water, and an extremely hardworking
woman who, at 53, has a schedule overflowing with swimming
commitments. "I've got a few different swimming hats on at this
moment", says Robyn, "I work in the Port Lincoln Pool with the
Department of Education, I work with special needs children on a
Wednesday and a Friday, and then I work with the Department of
Education in Port Lincoln for different schools."
She also works at the Cummins Pool, in her hometown, where she
runs Vacswim classes and is passionate about giving these regional
kids the same opportunities as their Adelaide City counterparts.
"We've started up special needs swimming in Cummings, because we do
it in Port Lincoln, it's like, 'well, hey! These kids in Cummins
with special needs are entitled to it too, so let them do it.'",
says Robyn. "So, we've organised that for probably the last four
Recalling her first swimming lesson, Robyn says she was 21 when
her friend, who was a swimming instructor, taught her proper
breathing techniques. "She taught me to breath in and then breath
out underwater, because I'd swim laps but I didn't know the
breathing, so when I'd get out, I'd be dizzy. Once she taught me
that, there was no stopping me. She was so vital in my learning.",
"When my oldest son who's now 26, went to kindy, I'd just swim
for about 2 hours, just because I loved it and it was my thing."
says Robyn, "He went to kindy four times a week, so I'd swim four
times a week, because I lived out of town." When her other son was
diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, she knew that swimming would
be good for him, "I'd take him to the pool every day.", says
Despite her passion, as a single mother, Robyn couldn't afford
the fees involved with becoming an instructor for a long time.
However, that never stopped her from helping on the sidelines, and
volunteering in her sons' classes.
All of Robyn's own children have been through Vacswim,
continuing those lessons until the age of 12, before completing
their bronze medallions. Eventually, Robyn was living comfortably
enough to get more involved herself. "I finally had the opportunity
to do it, to go to Adelaide to do the course, and I've never looked
back. I still love it, and it's not often that I don't want to go
to work. I've probably had a million jobs, but I've stuck at this.
This is just what I do, it's just my thing.", says Robyn.
From helping on the sidelines, Robyn has come a long way, and
now teaching water skills, water safety, and swim technique has
become her life. Despite Robyn's many accomplishments, what she's
most proud of is the part she's played in her students' journeys.
Speaking fondly, Robyn recalls a young girl whom she took under her
wing, "When I first met Jade through school swimming, she might
have been about nine, tucked under her mums arm crying because she
didn't want to go in the pool", says Robyn. "Now Jade has won
around six gold medals at the Paralympics!"
Known around town for always having her Vacswim book on her,
Robyn is ready to sign up the local kids whenever their parents
flag her down in the street. "It's just the country y'know? Just
walking down the street, at the post office, at the IGA, I've even
had people asking me to put their kids into Vacswim at a Christmas
party, and I had all the paperwork to enrol them in the class,
right there at the Christmas party", says Robyn. "That's how it is
"In the water I'm great, but this admin stuff does my head in",
says Robyn, "and I don't charge for any of that, that admin time,
that's my contribution". Despite the extra work load, Robyn still
encourages all parents enrolling their kids rurally, to personally
get in contact with their instructors before the program. "Online
enrolment is a good way to go, but access the instructors number,
and call them, so they can know you're enrolling before and start
planning the classes", says Robyn.
Robyn is just one of the many passionate instructors and
volunteers that bring the Vacswim program to life, to read our
first in this series click
here. For young kids living in Australia these skills are
vital, so it's easy to see why people like Robyn have made it their
life's work to help youth to become competent and confident in the
water. So what are you waiting for? Get in quick, to enrol your
little water babies in this essential learning experience.
Would you like to be involved in this program, click here.