WINNER: Airlie Beach Swim School by Danielle has won a national award at a recent conference in Brisbane.
WINNER: Airlie Beach Swim School by Danielle has won a national award at a recent conference in Brisbane. Contributed

WINNER: Whitsunday swim school takes out national award

A LOCAL swim school has been thrust into the national spotlight, after winning an award at a recent conference in Brisbane.

Nestled in leafy green Mandalay, Airlie Beach Swim School by Danielle won the Australian Swimming Coaches Teaching and Association Swim Australia national award for best swim school marketing, promotions and customer service.

Swimming has been a major feature throughout owner Danielle Shea's life and said it was the first time her business had won such a prestigious accolade.

The win was so unexpected that the humble Ms Shea almost didn't attend the conference.

"It was a surprise, but a welcome one,” she said.

The school is near Shute Harbour Airport, and Ms Shea said there was no better setting for people wanting to glide through the water to perfect their strokes. "It's tropical, with lush greenery everywhere and the pool is heated, it's beautiful,” she said.

Ms Shea has been operating her swim school for eight years, with 400 students enrolled, ranging in age from three months to adults.

"I love kids, and I love working with children, but I also think it's important to have that rapport with the parents as well. I think all my staff do a wonderful job of being personable,” she said.

Along with swimming lessons and squad training her school offers aqua fit classes, as well as hydrotherapy, where people undertake injury rehabilitation exercises entirely in the water.

The event, considered ASCTA's "night of nights”, was held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. Coaches, teachers and swim schools from around the country came together for a night of celebration and networking.

The four-day conference was attended by industry heavy hitters, and Ms Shea swapper her usual pool side office and togs for a gown, as she rubbed shoulders with swimming royalty including Dawn Fraser, Laurie Lawrence, Brooke Hansen and other Olympians.

Workshops and guest speakers were scattered throughout the conference, and although Ms Shea flew solo at the event, she said she couldn't wait to take her whole team next year.

She said the win wouldn't have been possible without the support of her passionate and dedicated team; Rianna Read, Lynda Wendt, her mum Lynda Shea-Davis, Melanie Muntz and her marketing magician Caz Hanks.