Swim teacher still making a splash

Enjoyable work . . . Leaping Frogs Swim School teacher Chris Karena helps granddaughter Ayla Muir (right) and Cuda Bryan (both 5) perfect floating like starfish on their backs. Last week Gore Aquatic Centre staff presented Mrs Karena with a cake to celebrate the 20 years she has been teaching at the pool since it opened. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Chris Karena has two jobs but one of them does not count as work, she says.

Early in the morning she starts work at the Alliance meat processing plant at Mataura and then she is a Gore Aquatic Centre Leaping Frogs Swim School teacher after school three days a week.

She really enjoyed teaching children how to swim, Mrs Karena said.

“It’s not even like a job.

“It’s just something I enjoy and I get paid for it.”

She enjoyed watching the progress children made.

“I just like seeing kids improving and seeing them go from not being able to swim to being in squads.”

Even after a shift at the plant, teaching swimming was never a chore.

“Getting in the water, walking up and down with the kids is probably good relaxing as well.

“Then you have a spa and go home.”

Last week swim school co-ordinator Fee Bottcher and the aquatic centre staff celebrated the 20 years Mrs Karena has worked at the pool, which opened in 2002.

They presented her with a cake to celebrate the milestone.

She appreciated Ms Bottcher acknowledging her time at the pool.

‘‘They’re a good bunch to work for.’’

After she left school she worked at the former swimming pool in Mersey St.

She did not teaching swimming but helped the former Gore Borough Council pool manager Crosbie Grieve with the running of the pool.

When the pool was closed during the winter she worked at the council office.

After she married and had children, she worked night shift at the meat processing plant.

In those days swim lessons were held at the Mataura pool and she started teaching there.

She taught her lessons and then would go to work at 6pm.

“It used to be from 6 to 2 and you were home early enough.”

The hours she worked at the two positions made it possible for her to do both.

“They’re always needing swim teachers.”