About 15 years ago, public servant turned Queanbeyan swim school owner Pete Coleborne was working at the Department of Defence and he “wasn’t loving it”.
Fast forward to 2023 and Pete and partner Lisa’s “big dream” of opening a purpose-built swim school in Queanbeyan has finally come true.
“It’s a great feeling,” Pete says. “I actually find myself still wandering around staring at things and just soaking it in that we finally got there.
“It did feel like a massive thing when we finally got in there for our first swim and it was all working. It was very exciting and it felt great.”
The indoor heated pool is now running swimming lessons for everyone from three-month-olds through to adults.
But Pete reveals getting to the stage of opening a dedicated swim school was a long and sometimes gruelling process comprising lots of hard work, red tape and more than a few setbacks.
The journey began in 2016 when Pete used his long service leave to transform what had been a part-time passion project operating out of his home pool into a fully fledged career.
“At the end of your day, you feel like you’ve achieved something. You’ve given kids some skills, their parents are happy and it’s rewarding,” Pete explains.
“As soon as I realised I wanted to do it as a career, the idea was that we really wanted to expand the business out of the home and build a more commercial version.”
Four years later Pete netted two big swimming industry awards, winning the AUSTSWIM Teacher of Swimming and Water Safety category at both a state and national level.
But despite bringing home national accolades, Pete was still operating out of his family pool and no closer to finding a permanent home in Queanbeyan for his swim school.
“We looked at buildings for lease around Queanbeyan. You’ve got to find the right building that’s got a big empty open space where you can build the pool,” Pete explains.
“We went through three buildings in Queanbeyan we just couldn’t make work for various reasons and then one in Fyshwick and it just sort of petered out.”
It wasn’t until 2022 that Pete finally found the perfect space for Pete’s Swim School in Queanbeyan and began the process of getting council approval.
His proposal was given the green light the following year and by July Pete was having his very first swim in his new pool with partner Lisa and their two sets of twins.
While opening a new pool in the middle of a Queanbeyan winter may seem an odd choice, Pete says he’s managed to scoop up quite a few new clients already.
“There’s been waitlists on every other swim school,” he says. “There’s too many kids and not enough pools, so it’s great we could help give them a spot.
“We’ve been training our teachers well in advance so that we were ready to to meet any demand, so we’ve got spaces across the board.”
Aqua aerobics to cater for an adult audience is the next frontier, according to Pete, pending him finding an aqua aerobics teacher.
To book lessons or submit an expression of interest for aqua aerobics teacher, please contact [email protected].
Original Article published by Travis Radford on Riotact.