Swimming Stories


When you come to Swim For Your Life at Billinudgel you will see 10 paintings adorning the walls of the swim school. They tell the stories of my own swimming and all that I have done with it, when I learnt to SWIM WELL.

While my first foray into water is not hanging on the wall, it perhaps helped shape my long affiliation with water. My mum would lovingly tell the story that would happen every time the phone rang. While mum answered the phone, I would sneak into the bathroom, turn the bath taps on and get in clothes and all. I was 3! I remember burning my big toe as I had not worked out the cold tap that day.

So each month I will share the stories of the paintings and in so doing, hope to inspire our little swimmers to do something wonderful with their new skill of swimming. While this first story may not seem ‘wonderful’ it is a story worthy of hanging on the wall.

And so my love of water began early. I started training in the local swimming pool when I was 6 which, in those days, was 33 yards long. I still do not understand why it was only 33 yards but eventually it was lengthened to 50 meters.

As I am the youngest of 4 children, money was tight sometimes. The 4 of us swam and the training fees mounted up. As I got older it became my job to vacuum the swimming pool in lieu of my training fees. Mind you a 50 mtr pool takes a while to clean!!! Now I think about it, I don’t remember my siblings working their training fees off! Luckily for me, the pool was outdoor and therefore only open for 6 months of the year…..this meant only 25 vacuums!!! I got Christmas week off. I also got to keep any coins which lay on the bottom of the pool!

The job did not deter me from my swimming and perhaps it could be seen these days as ‘cross training’.


painting of pool at swimming lessons byron bay

Painting of  Ruth Smith in a diving bell vacuuming the pool.

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