The Australian Swim Schools Association (ASSA) held their second annual Conference recently in Darwin. With more than 200 participants, expectations were well exceeded, a fact CEO Ross Gage puts down to the high calibre of presenters including five from overseas.
The speakers included Glen Heidke (Virgin Active, UK), Karen Clay (SwimWEST Swim Schools, USA), Sharron Crowley (Smartmoves Swim, Canada), Mark Saunders (Northern Arena, NZ) and Frank Sahlein (3rd Level Consulting, USA).
Gage says that nationally recognised professional speakers, Bruce Sullivan and Mary Linnell, further enhanced the experience. Swim School business and management topics were addressed – particularly staffing and customer acquisition and retention.
“The event prides itself on wonderful networking and social opportunities,” says Gage. “The Top End location enabled this to be taken to another level; with the Vorgee Welcome Drinks at the Darwin Ski Club, the Conference Reception hosted by the NT Government at Parliament House and the Awards Dinner lead by the local Larrikia people.”
He says that professional, engaging, motivational and informative were just some of the comments they received about the conference.
ASSA Hall of Fame
Also at the conference, Paul Sadler, founder and leader of the Paul Sadler Swimland group, was inducted as Legend 03 in the Australian Swim Schools Hall of Fame, being presented with a Forbes Award by co-Legend 01, Ursula Carlile.
Sadler, whose Swimland swim schools are benchmarks across many areas of the industry, has been involved in the teaching of swimming and water safety for more than 50 years.
Others inducted into the Australian Swim Schools Hall of Fame were: Pat Taylor, Pioneer; Dave DuBois, Outstanding Contribution; AWSOM Project, Humanitarian.
The Australian Swim Schools National Awards of Excellence were also presented with recipients being: Beatty Park Swim School, Inclusive Swimming; Paul Sadler Swimland, Safer Swimming; Peter McMahon Swim Factory, Outstanding Growth.
International Swimming Hall of Fame
Meanwhile in Florida, Laurie Lawrence and Julie Zancanaro were inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) at a ceremony in August at Fort Lauderdale. ISHOF is recognised by FINA, the international governing body for the Olympic aquatic sports as its official Hall of Fame.
Both Lawrence and Zancanaro were inducted into the Australian Swim School’s Hall of Fame last year, during ASSA’s inaugural awards dinner.
Lawrence, a legendary swimming coach, entrepreneur and internationally renowned water safety advocate, received the organisation’s Gold Medallion Award to providing a positive role model for today’s youth. The Virginia Hunt Newman International Award was presented to Zancanaro for her her expertise in infant swimming and her passion for non-forceful methods.