Audrey gets in the swim to make business splash

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AUDrey Power, who lives in Midlem, has turned her passion for fitness in general and swimming in particular into a successful business which is set to expland its services this summer.

She began the Whitmuir Hall Swim School at the well-known leisure complex just outside Selkirk in 2002 and has seen it steadily grow in popularity.

Indeed, it now has 125 children a week coming for swimming lessons. The youngsters are taught in small groups by Audrey – a fully-qualified swimming teacher – while Whitmuir Hall also offers individual lessons.

Audrey’s pupils work towards Levels 1-8 of the Scottish Swimming Awards Scheme.

Whitmuir Hall is just off the A699 road between Selkirk and Midlem and, according to Audrey, the pool there is the perfect environment for learners with only one group taught at a time which is less distracting and noisy.

“I’m very passionate about teaching, watching the kids progress through the term and seeing the joy on the parents’ faces when their little ones swim for the first time,” she told us. “It’s just amazing.”

Audrey has taught her own three children with some success. Her 10-year-old Zoe is currently aged group champion at Galashiels Amateur Swimming Club; 12-year-old daughter Billie swam the 2km Musselburgh to Portobello charity sea swim last autumn with her mum by her side for safety. And young McKenzie, who is five, is currently working towards SSAS Level 4 and absolutely loves the water.

Audrey revealed that Whitmuir Hall Swim School, which also provides lessons for adults, will expand this summer with the arrival of Lorna Jamieson, one of the most enthusiastic qualified teachers, who was formerly at the Laidlaw Memorial Pool in Jedburgh.

“Lorna is going to start in the summer holidays doing crash courses then she will be teaching a Friday and a Sunday from August,” explained Audrey. Lorna has years of experience teaching all ages from parent-and-baby to adults. Over the years Audrey has taught hundreds of Borders children to swim.

“It’s a credit to all the parents who bring their children to their lesson every week, especially at this time of year when the weather has been quite challenging,” said Audrey, who explains her regime, saying: “At Whitmuir Hall Swim School the children have a 30-minute lesson and they work the whole time. The strokes are broken down so different parts are worked on each week and by the end of term the strokes come together. The children do not get to sit on poolside, they are in the water learning the whole lesson.”

Audrey is also offering lessons in open water swimming – one of the fastest growing sports in the UK – in spring time, and has started teaching individual lessons at Dryburgh Abbey Hotel which has a small pool ideal for learners and beginners, with daytime spaces available for pre-school children and adults. It usually only takes a few lessons from Audrey for them to achieve their goal.

“I wish more adults would come for swimming lessons,” said Audrey. “There are so many out there who wish they could swim front crawl, but never get round to it. The biggest step is actually getting into the pool – the learning to swim bit is easy.

“Both Whitmuir Hall and Dryburgh are perfect for adults as they are quiet and more private.”

Whitmuirhall itself is available for swimming paraties, with an hour in the pool followed by a one-hour disco. The cost is £80 for up to 15 children.

After a break of six years, Audrey is back teaching aerobics. She currently teaches at Ettrickbridge, but would be interested to hear from any group of friends looking to start up a new class.

On top of this, Audrey is in the process of setting up a new company Borders Little Adventurers, retailing quality outdoor gear for kids. She is a stockist for Little Life carriers and day sacks, Smart wool base layers and socks.

As Whitmuir Hall Swim School continues to grow, Audrey is also looking for another teacher to teach a Tuesday and Thursday term time.

The Whitmuir website – www.whswimshool.co.uk – is up and running, while Audrey Power can be contact on audrey.power@btinternet.com or by calling 01835 870644 or 07974 344063.