Swim centre takes out top gong

Elders Swim Centre owners Penny and Marcus Elder with their dedicated staff members celebrate after winning the Queensland AUSTSWIM Swim centre of the Year award.
Elders Swim Centre owners Penny and Marcus Elder with their dedicated staff members celebrate after winning the Queensland AUSTSWIM Swim centre of the Year award. Griffith Thomas

EXPERIENCED swimming instructor Penny Elder believes quality not quantity is the key to running a successful swim school.

And after yesterday's major announcement, it would be hard to disagree with her.

Elders Swim Centre beat a strong field to be named Swim Centre of the Year during the 2013 Queensland AUSTSWIM Awards.

Penny and her husband Marcus, owners of Elders Swim Centre, were presented with the award during a surprise visit by AUSTSWIM representatives at the Hervey Bay swim facility yesterday.

"I'm in shock," Penny said.

"To be voted the best centre out of the whole of Queensland, that includes Laurie Lawrence's swim school, is a huge boost for us.

"We feel like we're doing the right thing and to be recognised for it is fantastic."

Elders Swim Centre, the only AUSTSWIM-accredited swim centre in Hervey Bay, boasts a comprehensive and progressive aquatic program catering for everyone from infants to national swimmers.

But Penny dedicated the award to her hard-working and enthusiastic staff.

"This is special recognition to my staff, who are absolutely brilliant," she said.

"I just employ them and they do all the hard work.

"They live it, breathe it and are very passionate.

"They're like family to us and without them we wouldn't have this award."

From its humble beginnings 11 years ago with less than 100 members and two staff, Elders Swim Centre has prospered to now have more than 800 swimmers and 16 teachers, including 2012 Queensland AUSTSWIM teacher of the year Leanne Lee.

Penny has more than 25 years of experience and her main focus is water safety and stroke technique.

"I've always been a firm believer in school classes, small classes and water safety so they learn quicker and develop a strong technique," she said. "We also offer free water safety talks at schools from prep to year seven because drownings are increasing, unfortunately."

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