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Swimmers are India-bound

Youngsters will teach Indian locals basic swimming techniques during a two-week working holiday.

LUKE MCMANUS June 27, 2014 3:25am

Jack Steel is are off to India with coach Russell Parsons for two weeks to teach local kids how to swim.


Two district swimmers are about to embark on a trip of a lifetime.

Echuca’s Jack Steel, 12, and Rochester’s James Bolitho, 15, will travel to India tomorrow for a two-week working holiday in the city of Kottayam, in the south west province of Kerala.

The aim of the program, guided by North West Athletics coach Russell Parsons, will be to help with teaching local students at Pallikoodam School, a private secondary college, basic swimming techniques in the school’s 25m pool.

The trio, who will be joined by Wangaratta-based teacher Bree Spasojevic, will work with about 150 students from a range of age groups and diverse backgrounds.

It is an extensive program, with Steel and Bolitho spending six to eight hours in the pool for 12 days, with the two days off involving some sightseeing.

‘‘I’m really looking forward to the trip, it will be a great experience,’’ Steel said.

‘‘I’m looking forward to giving them a better understanding of how to swim.’’

The program has been operating since 2000, with this year’s trip marking the 12th time Russell has ventured to the country.

In 2012, St Joseph’s College’s Laura Angove and Rochester High School’s Sam Bolitho were among more than 25 athletes to help Parson since the program’s inception.

Steel said the trip would offer more than just an activity to pass the school holidays away.

‘‘Seeing how they live, compared to how we live here in Australia will be an experience in itself,’’ he said.

‘‘I never thought I’d ever visit India. I knew of the trip but it wasn’t until Russell mentioned it to me that I thought I’d ever have the opportunity to go.’’

Steel’s proud, but anxious mum, Kim, believes her son will take the opportunity in his stride, with the fourth-year North West Athletics talent among the youngest to embark on the trip.

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