John Wallace has coached generations of families at the Caloundra Aquatic Lifestyle Centre.
John Wallace has coached generations of families at the Caloundra Aquatic Lifestyle Centre. Warren Lynam

Veteran swim teacher celebrates 40,000 student milestone

TEACHING more than 40,000 Sunshine Coast students to swim sounds like a tall order, but for one legendary Caloundra swim instructor it was a privilege.

Responsible for the swimming capability of thousands, founder of John Wallace Swim School, John Wallace still remembers the nerves of his first class and equally nervous students.

More than 40 years on, a successful business and an equally-passionate swim family, Mr Wallace brimmed with pride at his milestone made from humble beginnings.

Mr Wallace, a plumber by trade, was eager for a career change in 1976 when a friend suggested he get involved in swim safety.

 

John Wallace has coached generations of families at the Caloundra Aquatic Lifestyle Centre.
John Wallace has coached generations of families at the Caloundra Aquatic Lifestyle Centre. Warren Lynam

Looking back on those days, Mr Wallace chuckled at the generational normalities he would never get away with in this era.

"I was just a one man show then and had 30 kids swimming strongly up and down the pool," he said.

The swim school was based in multiple locations but has made its home at the Caloundra Aquatic Lifestyle Centre.

With a widely-respected reputation, the school employs several swim instructors and teaches swimming to all ages

 

John Wallace has coached generations of families at the Caloundra Aquatic Lifestyle Centre. John is pictured with Isobel Anderson,7.
John Wallace has coached generations of families at the Caloundra Aquatic Lifestyle Centre. John is pictured with Isobel Anderson,7. Warren Lynam

"It was always a family affair," Mr Wallace said.

"We lived at the pool then and everyone helped clean it out each morning.

"We ate, slept and breathed the swimming lifestyle."

Mr Wallace credited a lot of hard work to the success of his small business as former students now brought their own children in to learn to swim.

 

John Wallace has coached generations of families at the Caloundra Aquatic Lifestyle Centre.
John Wallace has coached generations of families at the Caloundra Aquatic Lifestyle Centre. Warren Lynam

"I am very proud and I think it's something we worked hard in developing," he said.

"Having a daughter so passionate about it as well is amazing."

John's daughter, Kristy Perkins recently took over some of the her dad's leadership roles as he took a step back from the business.

 

Kristy Perkins (with Zander Perkins) is passionate and serious about people learning how to swim.
Kristy Perkins (with Zander Perkins) is passionate and serious about people learning how to swim. John McCutcheon

Despite lightening the load, Mr Wallace was still as passionate as ever about swim safety.

"No matter where people live, the number one gift to give children is the gift of swimming," he said.

"It is priceless."



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