A Tauranga swim school has picked up a national award at a conference held in Wellington.

Liz van Welie Aquatics in Pyes Pa won Swim School of the Year in the 1000 to 2000 customers category at the New Zealand Swim Coaches and Teachers Conference over the weekend.

Swim Schools from throughout New Zealand vie for the annual awards, submitting entries that discuss their overall business model and delivery of swimming lessons.

Judges then visit finalists before announcing the national winners at the annual conference dinner.


Liz van Welie Swim School, previous winners of awards in 2013 and 2014, won this year under the auspice of the new parent brand "Liz van Welie Aquatics" based in their purpose-built facility in Pyes Pa.

Head coach Matt Teokotai-White, Swim School manager Jess Ion, and assistant coach Sam Knapp. Photo / Supplied
Head coach Matt Teokotai-White, Swim School manager Jess Ion, and assistant coach Sam Knapp. Photo / Supplied

Owned by Liz van Welie and Greg Cummings, the business has three main areas of focus with learn to swim, squad swimming and general fitness swimming.

This national award gave specific focus to the swim school and the staff that work within it.

Van Welie said the award was, most importantly, recognition of their staff.

"They are responsible every day for delivering quality lessons that develop swimming skills.

"We talk about being 'on-stage' in that parents are sitting watching everything you say and do as you engage with their child. There is literally nowhere to hide – not many jobs carry this much weight of responsibility and are so open for review.

"To work in this way day after day is credit to our staff – we think they're amazing," she said.

Liz van Welie Aquatics opened at their new site in Pyes Pa during April 2017.


The purpose-built facility provided an opportunity to bring world leading water treatment and filtration to Tauranga.

Cummings said they had always had a business focus of providing the highest quality lessons in the highest quality water.

"After settling in for two years it was important to take stock once again and recognise the work of the staff – we're thrilled with the win."

Swim School Manager Jess Ion was responsible for the overall collation and submission of the entry. She attended the national conference and received the award on behalf of the team.

"It was amazing to be surrounded by so many passionate people from the swimming sector," she said.

There are so many great swim schools doing amazing work. All the entries were of a really high calibre so to take out the national award was an honour and great for our team."

Extra recognition for the team at Liz van Aquatics came in recognition of head coach Matt Teokotai-White for his selection and coaching role with the New Zealand team at the Oceania Swimming Championships.