A LOCAL swimming instructor bowed out with one final lesson at Melville Aquatic Centre recently, after 50 years of teaching swimming.
Marie Finucane (70) gave her final lesson on November 25 after teaching children and adults how to swim since she was 19 years old.
She finally decided to call it quits so she could focus on being a grandmother and build her dream home in Alfred Cove.
“I first taught swimming in the Swan River at Bicton Baths as a part-time job whilst completing my teaching degree at university – the local swimming pools didn’t even exist back then so people had no choice but to do lessons in the river,” she said.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching countless numbers of local primary school children all stages of swimming through the Education Department’s Vac Swim and In-Term swimming lesson programs.”
Mrs Finucane, who has six adult children and five grandchildren, has been heavily involved in local, State and national-level swimming, surf lifesaving and water polo for the past 50 years.
She is a lifetime member of the Melville Swimming Club and has been a long-term member of Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club and Melville Water Polo Club as both an active State-level competitor and then parent.
Mrs Finucane believes that swimming can benefit anyone, regardless of their ability or age.
She has not only taught school children how to swim but also seniors who never learnt to swim and disabled swimmers including Para-Olympian Jeremy McClure.
“The beauty of swimming is that it is a great form of exercise and rehabilitation," she said.
“I have seen first-hand the benefits of swimming to all types of people, whether it be gentle walking and laps through to top level competition or as a way to support other water sports.”
Her family, friends and colleagues turned out in strong numbers to celebrate her career as a swimming teacher following her final lesson.
Her son Mark, now 34 and a full-time physiotherapist for the West Coast Eagles Football Club, was a professional competitor on the Uncle Toby’s Iron Man Circuit for seven years.
Two of her daughters, Claire and Katie, have been members of the Australian open women’s water polo team, while her other daughters, Therese and Helen, were members of the junior women’s Australian water polo team.
Claire is also a top surfer with four national long-board titles.