Shad and Toni Royston with their children at Above and Beyond Swim School.
Shad and Toni Royston with their children at Above and Beyond Swim School.

Recreation win goes to a fitting recipient

A SWIM school helping kids with disabilities learn to swim was honoured to be recognised at an awards ceremony on Saturday night.

Above & Beyond Swim School received the Entertainment and Recreational Business award at the 2019 Best in Business awards.

Owners Shad and Toni Royston were proud to win the award, and said it was the first time they made a conscious effort to enter the competition.

“This is the first time we’ve pushed through,” Shad said.

After having won the Business to Watch category two years ago, the couple have since expanded their business with more swimming instructors and admin staff.

“Every year we’ve grown, and we’re nearly at capacity which is great, but there’s always room for more,” Shad said.

However, the swim school’s work with the National Disability Insurance Scheme makes this business shine.

Early last year, Shad pushed for the school to become a NDIS provider and it became one of the first swim schools in Australia to be registered.

The swim school lets NDIS clients use the pool during off-peak hours to help kids and adults with a disability learn how to swim.

“They have private one on one lessons, and that's really good because they can come in the middle of the day when the pool’s not occupied and it’s quiet,” Toni said.

In recognition of his work with NDIS, Shad won Teacher of the Year for Learners with Disability at the ASCTA/Swim Australia Annual Awards in Brisbane this year.

“The NDIS gives those kids so much opportunity that they didn’t have before in terms of access and services,” he said.

“The idea of it is really good, and the progress we’re seeing with those children now is just amazing.”

The school tailors lessons to suit individual needs and the lessons help not only by teaching people how to swim. They also help co-ordination, cognitive ability and confidence.

“Some children with autism can’t deal with structured lessons, other kids in the class or noise,” Toni said.

“But when you get them by themselves one on one, you can adapt the lesson to them and the progress is just amazing. Swimming makes such a difference,” she said.