A dive into the success of Alite Edvantage Swim School, Sunshine Coast
Three years ago, husband and wife team Nathan Greig and Tamara Scutts embarked on a remarkable journey. Their vision was to establish a family-owned swim school on the Sunshine Coast, where children could build a strong foundation for a lifetime of water adventures. Winning the pool lease at Mountain Creek Aquatic Complex in 2020 and not perturbed by the obstacles of COVID, today Alite Edvantage Swim School is not only up and running but is already one of the most innovative and successful swim schools on the Sunshine Coast.
But what is it about their approach that is having such success with the kids in the water?
Where it all began for this Sunshine Coast swim school
Growing up on the Sunshine Coast, Nathan Greig has been immersed in the world of swimming since his early years. Moving through competitive swimming, competitive nippers, lifeguarding and coaching, he brings a wealth of experience and understanding to his coaching style.
Unlike traditional methods that focus solely on rigid instruction, Nathan believes in empowering children to explore and discover their own interests within the broad world of aquatics.
“We have a unique approach to coaching where I’m not force-feeding kids what I want them to do,” says Nathan. “Instead, we work with what they want to do, find out what they enjoy, and go down that path.”
With such a deep understanding of all aspects of learning to swim, Nathan can talk to parents with a deeper understanding—from both the swimmer’s side in knowing the motivation required, and the coaching side in what needs to be done to get there.
It’s the perfect combo of surf and swim
Due to Nathan’s lifelong nippers and lifeguarding connection, the Alite Edvantage program has the unique advantage of offering that critical connection between the ocean and the pool.
“We’ve got a solid connection with the surf lifesaving community. Many of our kids are in nippers, and many swim competitive pool and surf. Surfing Australia comes in and works out at our pool at times, and we’ve also got a young guy who’s a world-class triathlete,” says Nathan.
Most of the learn-to-swim teachers at Alite Edvantage also come from a lifesaving ocean or competitive swimming background. Many Nathan has coached.
“Our teachers are all exposed to lifesaving and the ocean, some are current patrolling members. So we have a real practical take on swimming for recreation, safety, and plenty of first-hand experience to pass to children,” says Nathan.
Why its important for Sunshine Coast kids to learn beach skills AND pool skills
This connection between ocean and pool is critical for water safety and awareness in our everyday coastal lives.
“Some families will start nippers and realise very quickly that their swimming isn’t at the level it needs to be. And that’s not necessarily about reaching competition level; that’s just a safety level,” says Nathan. “It isn’t until you get to the beach that you realise the importance of good swimming.”
“I’ve watched Olympics swimmers in the water at the beach on a big day, and they struggled to get in; they just haven’t grown up in it.”
Living on the Coast, it’s inevitable that at some stage every child is going to go to the beach or the river, so it’s critical to educate the whole family on water safety from the get-go. Even in the waterways, the swim school’s focus is always on the progression and experience of its students.
“We understand that they will grow into teenagers, and then one day, they will want to swim and surf with their mates. They may get their boat license and drive a little tinny on the river. Maybe they want to go fishing or wakeboarding. So it is that long-term safety and knowledge—making sure they understand, teaching them how to assess their own risk at a younger age, being aware of their current skills and knowledge, and seeking skills and knowledge if they need to,” says Tamara.
How to keep kids swimming through the tweens and the teens
Parents with tweens and teens all know the challenge of keeping this age group swimming. The learn-to-swim lessons aren’t fun anymore, but not every kid wants to progress into squad or competitive swimming.
“We strive to support the ongoing growth of our students,” explains Tamara. “As they enter their early teenage years, we often notice a natural inclination for them to explore specific areas of interest such as pool lifesaving, triathlon, or surf lifesaving, which helps to maintain their enthusiasm and engagement. And these are all things that they can pursue within our club.”
The swim school also focuses heavily on cultivating a sense of pride and fulfilment in personal development.
“We instil in children the understanding that consistency yields improvement. If progress slows, we help them to take a step back and identify areas for improvement while acknowledging effort and success. By guiding students to engage in self-reflection and master smaller tasks, we pave the way for tackling larger challenges. These are life skills that go far beyond the pool.”
The Alite Edvantage Philosophy
Valuing consistency: Turn up even if you don’t want to.
Teaching resilience: You haven’t got there YET.
Learning patience: We will get there soon.
Mastering self-reflection: What small tasks can we do to get to the bigger task?
A learn-to-swim school that is also a community
Another thing that Alite does well is building a sense of community.
“We are focused on giving that personal touch and a sense of belonging to our little community and trying to make it the best possible experience we can for everyone,” says Nathan.
Central to this is the Clubhouse, where children can go before and after swimming to do activation exercises and meet up.
“Being part of a club keeps them more connected to each other; they’re swimming for a purpose, and they’ve got a sense of direction. They belong together; they’re going through the trenches together.”
It all comes back to those early learn-to-swim lessons
Of course, the most important element of water safety is attending regular swim lessons. And at Alite Edvantage, this starts at three months old with its free baby aquatic sessions.
“It’s essential for baby to bond with Mum and Dad in that aquatic environment. It gives them something different from their average week; they’re bonding and learning,” says Nathan.
“They’re learning to feel the water and to move their arms and legs in a non-weight-bearing environment, and they’re having fun! It also teaches parents the basics of pool safety early on.”
Having fantastic teachers is also a huge part of Alite’s success in the learn-to-swim pool.
Alite Edvantage has an incredibly diverse team of teachers with a fabulous mixture of youth and experience.
“Our learn-to-swim manager has worked in England and Australia and knows how to structure a program. Our senior learn-to-swim teachers are so loved—they’ve done it for a long time and know how to bond with the kids and parents. And then we’ve got these younger ones coming through that are ex-athletes. They’re just full of personality and life, absorbing everything they’re learning in this environment with these senior teachers and giving a different perspective to young kids,” says Tamara.
And all teachers at Alite bring that additional knowledge of having either come from a background in the surf or the pool or they’ve grown up on the beach.
“They understand what’s needed, and you can’t beat practical experience,” adds Nathan.
Address: Mountain Creek Aquatic Complex, 100 Lady Musgrave Drive, Mountain Creek