When Kirstie Tyerman took a group of primary students to their first swimming carnival since the Covid lockdowns put a pause on events, she was met with an unimaginable shock; only three kids across the whole school could confidently swim 25 metres. With swimming lessons halted during the height on the pandemic, many at Glenroi Heights Public School were left without access to a safe place to develop their skills in the water. So when Ms Tyerman - Glenroi Heights' current assistant principal - discovered the shockingly low number at that fateful swimming carnival, she became determined to change it. "I came back to school and I said we've got to do something, especially because our parents thought the kids could swim it and they couldn't," she recalled. "They didn't have the basic skills to swim 25 metres confidently, with any technique." She proposed that once a week through terms 2, 3 and 4, teachers would take 100 students to the Orange Aquatic Centre for swimming lessons. Ms Tyerman linked up with Leanne Wiggins from the pool who agreed it was a great idea, but that they didn't have the staff to facilitate the simultaneous teaching of 100 students. So up stepped the Glenroi teachers and SLSOs, who were trained up by pool staff so they would be able to help deliver the lessons. "We then ran into two challenges," the assistant principal added. "The first one being, it's a Monday and kids forget their stuff all the time. Cadia had a grant they were giving and they gifted us $5000, so we bought swimmers, towels and goggles so those kids who forgot, didn't have to miss out on the lessons. "We also ran into an issue with the cost of busses. I took the proposal to the council to tell them what we were doing and they helped subsidise the busses a lot. It ended up costing parents $3 a lesson." What came of these lessons was nothing short of extraordinary. By the end of 2022, 30 children in the school could swim 25 metres and by the time their 2023 carnival rolled around, that number was up into the 40s. "It was amazing," Ms Tyerman added. "We got three years worth of swimming lessons missed due to Covid, done in one year." While the knowledge they had helped dozens of children learn a skill they would remember for the rest of their lives was reward enough, being formally recognised never goes astray. So when the Orange Aquatic Centre and Glenroi Heights were nominated for - and won - a Royal Lifesaving Award under the 'excellence in diversity and inclusion' banner, Ms Tyerman was understandably delighted. "When we won it, we were beside ourselves. Everyone got a bit emotional," she said. "It's the first thing we can put in our trophy cabinet when we buy a new one." Reading this on mobile web? Download our news app. It's faster, easier to read and we'll send you alerts for breaking news as it happens. Download in the Apple Store or Google Play.