TOP OF THE CLASS: Rockhampton's Joy Symons has received a national swimming industry award. Photo Darryn Nufer.
TOP OF THE CLASS: Rockhampton's Joy Symons has received a national swimming industry award. Photo Darryn Nufer.

Joy collects national swimming accolade

IT’S time for popular Rockhampton swimmer and English Channel conquerer Val Kalmikovs to share the limelight - and he couldn’t be happier.

His wife, Joy Symons, has just been named the best educator of swim teachers in Australia by Austswim - the national organisation for swimming education and safety.

Speaking about the honour on Tuesday, Joy said she was proud to be selected from a pool of state Austswim “presenter of the year” winners to claim the country’s top gong.

“It’s quite exciting,” she said.

The industry recognition is just reward for Joy who, along with Val, manages Rockhampton’s Northside Pool facility through their business, Aqualification & Fitness.

“Back in 2011, Val and I moved to Rockhampton to take on a swim school and what we found was that trying to find qualified swimming teachers was really hard,” Joy said.

“And that’s when it came to light that there was actually a national shortage of qualified swimming teachers in Australia.

“So I contacted Austswim and said I’d like to be a presenter in this region so the swim schools here are getting people trained up so that they can teach.

“Unfortunately it’s a bit of a revolving door in the industry with swimming teachers only staying for about three years, so you’ve got to keep training people up all of the time.”

Val Kalmikovs, who competed at two Olympics for his homeland Latvia, made headlines recently when he successfully swam the English Channel - a 33km stretch between England and France.

Rockhampton's Val Kalmikovs successfully swam the English Channel last month.
Rockhampton's Val Kalmikovs successfully swam the English Channel last month.

Joy also has an impressive CV having represented Australia at the 2000 World Short Course Swimming Championships in Athens when she was 19.

She has also written a book for swimming teachers and recently started a podcast specifically for them.

“I’ve got listeners from Ireland and America,” Joy said.

“I went to America in March to help swimming teachers over there, so along with the work I do regionally, it all helps to spread the Austswim name and the Austswim way of teaching swimming.”



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