Kyneton swimming and water safety teacher Joan Foote-Jackson was awarded the 2017 Swim Teacher for Infants, Toddlers and Preschool Award by Aquatics and Recreation Victoria. She speaks with Serena Seyfort.


What’s your connection with the Macedon Ranges?

I live in Kyneton – I’ve lived in the Macedon Ranges for the last 13 years. My sons go to school at Sacred Heart College in Kyneton. I’ve worked for the Macedon Ranges council for 11 years. I started off at Gisborne Aquatic Centre for five years and now I’ve been at Kyneton Toyota Sports & Aquatic Centre for six years.

I also teach ballet at Steps Studios in Kyneton.


What is the best thing about the area?

The diversity of the entertainment for all ages. There are pools and sporting clubs for younger people through to arts for the oldies. And location, location, location. I used to travel to Melbourne for work when I moved up here and it was a manageable distance.


What do you like doing around the Macedon Ranges?

My family loves visiting the mineral springs, particularly Kyneton springs and Daylesford springs, and we like to do a lot of local camping. We were up looking at Warburtons Bridge recently and we’re looking forward to heading there to camp soon.


Have you noticed much change in the 13 years that you have been in the area?

A lot more people from the city are moving to this area and realising how amazing it is. I think it’s great – it’s only increasing the number of activities around and making the area stronger.


Tell us a little bit about your career in the pool.

I teach swimming to all ages and I’m a lifeguard and duty manager at the pool. I really teach everything in the water – I’ve even taught a bit of self-defence.


How were you nominated for this award?

I was nominated by Kyneton Toyota Sports & Aquatic Centre and a family wrote my beautiful reference letter. The father of a family I taught to swim wrote about how his family were caught in a flash flood in a river. He said in that frightening situation he heard my voice in his head. He’d had his kids in arm’s reach as I’d told him, and got them to the right side, as I’d told him. I was in his brain. I teach water safety and it worked. He said it could have gone very differently otherwise.


What does it mean to you?

I’m very humbled because I just love what I do. If I can save one child’s life, I’ve done my job.