The Paul Sadler Swimland Story

The Paul Sadler Swimland story starts with a boy from Ballarat who simply had passion for swimming. In his teenage years Paul was an accomplished junior and high school swimmer. In a situation that was not uncommon in his era he turned his hand to teaching swimming to supplement his family’s income.

Paul’s passion for teaching children influenced his choice of career and he was soon qualified to teach Physical Education and Special Needs in the state primary school system. As an educator Paul embraced skills and knowledge about the psychology of teaching and value of structured programs. He soon applied this to the teaching of swimming and commenced the development of what is arguably one of the world’s most effective learn to swim programs.

Paul Sadler Swimland was formed in 1972, when Paul establish what is probably swimming’s first public and private partnership by renting the pool at his first school, Moorabbin West Special School. The success of this business, in which he was earning more money over the weekend teaching swimming than he was during the week as a teacher, fired an entrepreneurial spark that lead to the construction of his first pool in Brighton in 1976. This is where the clear focus on water safety survival skills (rather than just teaching how to swim) emerged.

Paul Sadler Swimland progressed slowly through the 1970s and 1980s while much was being learnt, developed and established. The mid 1990’s saw growth accelerate when Paul realised the he could ‘duplicate’ himself. The strength of his methodology came to the fore as multiple sites taught lessons that looked the same, whether Paul was there or not.

Today Paul Sadler Swimland operates out of 14 sites with operations in Australia and Canada. It has a leadership team of more 20 managers overseeing more than 650 employees teaching 30,000 swimming lessons per week.

Paul Sadler Swimland has been the recipient of more than 25 industry awards in Australia and USA. Its most significant award was the recent induction of Paul Sadler into the Australian Swim Coaches and Teachers Association Hall of Fame. Recognition reserved for the luminaries of swimming in Australia.

Brightness of future is a key mantra for everyone at Swimland. Starting with the key relationship between a teacher and a child, fun and positive relationship across the business underpin its culture. The Paul Sadler Swimland vision is
‘Think Swimming, Think Swimland’. Its belief system is that it’s the ‘Small Successes’ that lead to the ‘Proudest Moments’.

Paul Sadler Swimland’s commitment to the learn-to-swim industry goes beyond its corporate objectives. During the last year the Paul Sadler Swimland Foundation was established. This was the next logical step following years of actively supporting many children’s charities with a primary focus on supporting the Royal Children’s Hospital through cumulative donations in excess of $400,000. The current focus of the Foundation is to support Swim Vietnam, an organisation established to fight the ‘silent epidemic’ in Vietnam where more than 30 children drown each day. As a first step, Paul Sadler Swimland has underwritten the construction and operation of an in ground swimming pool and an education centre, established to teach children water safety and teach learn-to-swim teachers.

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Want to know more, or have a specific question?

Why Swimland?

What is a Deck Supervisor?

Deck Supervisors are the super friendly staff in the red shirts on pool deck. They are there to answer any questions you have about your swimmer‘s progress or about our program and to support our teachers to provide great lessons. They love to talk swimming, so please go and see them if you have any queries.

Why do we use teaching aids?

There are many ways to teach children about safety in water. Our approach, using flotation as a teaching aid, has produced excellent results.

It is proven that low stress levels increase coordination, so at Swimland, we encourage low stress with the use of teaching aids (floaties, back bubbles, kickboards, noodles etc). As a child becomes more confident, and therefore less stressed, we reduce the amount of teaching aids the child uses. We have also found that swimmers who are less stressed progress faster.

Our swimmers still have plenty of aid-free time, and we practise safety circles to teach the children how to swim back to the edge of the pool without help in case they were to fall in.

How often should my child come to swimming lessons?

Coming to swimming lessons once a week, on a year round basis, is awesome for swimmer progress. Swimming every week, all year round, will see your child really develop and get the most out of the fun programs we offer.


How long does it take to learn to swim?

On average, it takes around 20 lessons to achieve the next certificate, but sometimes it can take a little longer. Every child is different, and it’s important for parents to remember that some skills will come easily to their child while others will be a little more challenging.

If your swimmer has been at the same level for a while or is finding a skill a little difficult, our Deck Supervisor will talk to you about some strategies to help them move forward and will be working with your teacher to ensure your swimmer continues to progress. At Swimland, we will always offer extra support to those who need it.

How do I contact my child’s teacher?

Our Deck Supervisors constantly monitor the progress of all children participating in lessons. They are a great resource for parents who want regular updates, as they have the experience and, importantly, the time to answer any questions you may have. The Deck supervisor can also chat with the teacher about any specific queries you may have and get back to you with the answer.

What should I bring to swimming lessons?

We provide all of the equipment and teaching aids you and your child need to have a great, fun lesson. All you need to bring is bathers, a towel and goggles for swimmers at Maxi-Pink level or above

Little ones under three should also wear either a swim nappy or swim wear that is firm fitting around the legs.