Read here the stories of some of our teachers who entered the classroom post the age of 60 to become Teachers of Swimming & Water Safety!
Arun Merchant, Gopinath MM and Noshir Bulsara joined the AUSTSWIM Teacher of Swimming and Water Safety course only after the age of 60. They have in common the strong passion, dedication and a strong will needed to unlearn and learn. Each one of them is unique and contribute to swim teaching in very different ways. This Teachers Day the spotlight is our senior swim teachers as they prove that ‘It’s never too late’.
ARUN MERCHANT, 67, Baroda
Arun grew up in Girgaon, Mumbai and learnt swimming at a young age more out of a necessity than hobby. The
swimming pool soon became a second home with swimming being a community activity with his 12 brothers and sister. He regularly participated in Open Water Swimming and was a professional water polo athlete, where he was a National Champion and represented the Indian Team and Indian Railways.
Arun got his first job as a swim teacher at the age of 24 at the newly built Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai and has subsequently taught at various pools in Mumbai, Baroda and Nagothane. Teaching beginners and ensuring they learn the basics of swimming correctly are his forte. Arun says that Swim Teaching is an art and requires patience and hard work. Children should enjoy the water safely & correctly and no force should be used while teaching them swimming.
After more than 30 years of swim teaching experience, Arun entered the classroom at 63 to unlearn and learn how to be a great swim teacher. He has done the AUSTSWIM Teacher of Swimming and Water Safety as well as the advanced courses of AUSTSWIM Teacher towards Competitive Strokes and AUSTSWIM Teacher towards adults. Arun says, ‘These trainings have helped him adopt a systematic approach to swim teaching and equipped him with better understanding on how to make children, adults and seniors comfortable in, on and around water.’
Arun’s passion for swim teaching comes from a strong feeling to give back to society. He wants to pass on his knowledge to the next generation. He has visited Australia several times and has first hand experienced their methodologies which he has tried to incorporate in his classes. He is dedicated to improve the state of swimming and believes swim teaching can make a huge difference to get more people to enjoy this vital life skill.
Arun currently teaches swimming at the Sardar Baug Swimming Pool in Vadodara, Gujarat.
GOPINATH M M, 68, Puttur
Gopinath grew up in Kerala and is a retired professional based out of Puttur. An engineer by profession, he has completed his masters in USA. Through his professional life he has always taken regular breaks to upgrade his knowledge and understanding in his domain. So, entering the classroom at the age of 63 to become a swim teacher was no big deal for him.
Gopinath loves swimming and is determined to teach this important life skill. He is aware of the high drowning rates in the country and does not want future generations to be affected by it. Correct and safe swimming skills are vital to keep oneself and others safe in, on and around water.
Gopinath is an AUSTSWIM Teacher of Swimming & Water Safety licensed teacher and feels that the certification has helped teachers utilize more effective methods to teach. The training has ensured that swim teachers focus on water familiarization, which helps learners to relieve their fear and anxiety during the early stages of learning. Being an engineer, Gopinath regularly uses math & science to help kids learn various skills in the water. He strongly believes that swimming is a fundamental life skill and goes a long way in the development of a child.
Gopinath firmly believes that there is always something to learn and that’s how he spontaneously enrolled for the AUSTSWIM program (with a gentle nudge from Partha Varanashi). One can never know everything and that’s what keeps him going to continue teaching and improving himself as a swim teacher. He recently received his license for the AUSTSWIM Teacher towards Competitive Strokes (TCS).
He teaches swimming to school children and older adults at the Balavana Swimming Pool in Puttur, Karnataka.
NOSHIR BULSARA, 68, Mumbai
Noshir Bulsara grew up in Mumbai and has studied in Mayo College, Ajmer where he began his journey as a competitive swimmer. He has been a national champion many times representing Maharashtra.
Noshir finds swim teaching thrilling and an activity that involves swim teachers to give a part of themselves to their students. This experience he believes is truly enriching and a source of immense happiness. Noshir follows a very spiritual path and also teaches Vedanta. He teaches swimming to children aged 6-14 pro-bono. Swimming for him does invoke a spiritual feel and by learning to swim, children are able to negate a lot of bad stimuli that they are exposed to. Swimming helps release good endorphins and children develop good vibes through fun and enjoyment in the water.
Through his experience with swim teaching and AUSTSWIM, Noshir says that more focus must be given to the technique of swimming rather than results. Swimming with a proper technique will allow a swimmer to be safe and efficient in, on or around water.
Noshir entered the classroom earlier this year to further build his skills so that he can teach his students the strokes more efficiently. He strongly believes that when someone takes on the responsibility of being a swim teacher the least that they can do is to keep themselves updated and abreast with newer methodologies.
Noshir like Arun draws his passion to be a swim teacher from a keen sense to give back to society. He believes that he is always in debt to god and society at large and through swim teaching he is doing his best to repay it.
He conducts his lessons for children at Vasai, in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Swimming Maters is striving to empower swim teachers and give them their due credit for the work they are doing. The stories of these teachers have shown us that age is truly just a number, it is only their will that pushes them to continue doing what they love.