Baby swimming tutor up for an award

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A SWIMMING tutor from Kirklington has been announced as a finalist for the 2012 What’s On 4 Junior Awards.

Marie Smith teaches Water Babies in the hydrotherapy pools at Kings Mill hospital and Portland College, and has been nominated for ‘Most Outstanding Activity Leader for the Under 5s’ while Water Babies, the company, is up for ‘Best National Baby and Toddler Development Activity (newborn to two years)’.

The award ceremony, now in its sixth year, will take place in West Sussex, on 15th June.

The awards recognise companies, organisations and individuals who provide the best activities for children across the UK and the finalists are all voted for by parents and carers nationwide.

Marie said: “Being nominated by local parents for this award is an amazing feeling, but being shortlisted for the final three nationally is awesome! I love teaching my classes so much because it’s so rewarding to see a child who you have taught from a few weeks old develop into a confidently swimming three-year-old.

“I think that I was nominated because I try very hard to teach the parents to teach their children to swim in a way that is fun, enthusiastic and engaging whilst being structured and professional.”

Marie’s award nomination is timely as it coincides with a report last week by the ASA (Amateur Swimming Association) which highlighted that, worryingly, a third of children cannot swim properly when they leave primary school.

“Tragically, drowning is the third highest cause of accidental death among children in the UK”, Marie explained.

“In most cases it’s the shock of sudden submersion that causes children to panic. I passionately believe that by introducing babies to the water from as early as possible, they’ll be less likely to experience fear if they do fall in.”

Marie worked in a management role in the pet food division at Mars before deciding to move to Kirklington to set up her own Water Babies business.

She first discovered baby swimming with daughter Isabelle and it was while on maternity leave with her second child, Matthew that Marie first thought about joining the Water Babies network.

Marie adds: “I can honestly say I haven’t looked back once.”