Tragedy into triumph

Mel Nelson outside her new business which should be ready to open by mid-July.

Mel Nelson outside her new business which should be ready to open by mid-July.

Last year the Nelson family lost everything in a house fire which was going to be used for Mel’s new aqua fitness business.

Twelve months on and Ms Nelson has turned her tragedy into triumph and is about to open an all accessibility pool and swimming school in Busselton’s light industrial area.

“We had to start again and this is only coming to fruition because our house burnt down,” she said.

The classes will be one-of-a-kind in the South West and include a range of aqua fitness, access, inclusion, rehabilitation, stage stroke lessons and infant skill survival classes.

“I am the only person in the South West who can do the infant aquatic survival program which I went to the USA for 10 weeks to train” she said.

The intensive six weeks program involves Ms Nelson being in the water for 10 minutes with each child, and is based on cognitive function and muscle memory.

“From six months up it is amazing what children can actually retain doing four, 10 minute lessons each week, it is phenomenal,” she said.

“By day 14, my daughter at two years old, could enter the water on her own, swim until she was out of breath, roll on her back, float to regain composure, take a breath, roll back over and swim to me.

“This is different to traditional lessons where the mum is in the water for 30 minutes, this is one-on-one with the instructor four times a week.”

Ms Nelson became interested in teaching children to swim while she was living in outback Queensland in a mining town where children travelled more than three hours for a swimming lesson.

“Some children drowned in dams on farms,” she said.

“I grew up on 3000 acres and knew what it was like, I learnt to swim in a dam.

“I organised the mining company I worked for to get a grant and flew an instructor up from Sydney to teach five mums in the region to become swimming instructors.”

Ms Nelson will also run programs which involves participants doing a full cardio program on top of a stand-up paddle board.

“It is hilarious, a lot of fun and low impact because you are on the water but it is a hard workout,” she said.

“Everything I am doing here is different to everyone else in the South West, I have enrolments from Bunbury, Margaret River and even people travelling from Boddington.” 

To find out more information visit the Facebook page Mel's Aqua Fitness & Learn to Swim or phone Ms Nelson on 0421 208 081.

The story Tragedy into triumph first appeared on Busselton-Dunsborough Mail.

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