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History of Pattison Swim School


Pattison Swim School was founded in the New Zealand town of Cambridge in 1965 by Jos and Margaret Pattison. After running their Swim School successfully in Cambridge for eight years, and three years in Christchurch, they relocated to sunny Nelson. Since 1976 they have taught generations of children and adults in the Nelson Region how to swim through their unique Learn to Swim programme. They have also made an enriching contribution to the region’s recreational and competitive swimming, as well as contributing to the awareness of swimming as a life skill. 
About the Pattisons:
Jos Pattison took over a swim school in Cambridge from Olympic Swim Coach Pic Parkhouse in 1965, and founded Pattison Swim School. Together with his wife Margaret, Jos relocated Pattison Swim School to Pananui in Christchurch in 1973, where they focused solely on their Learn to Swim programme.

It was here that they developed their unique method, providing Learn to Swim lessons in two-week block courses throughout the whole summer. This method proved to be both popular and successful in Christchurch.

The Pattisons relocated their swim school to Nelson three years later because of the warmer climate. They saw learning to swim as an important life skill that as many people as possible should learn, and were encouraged by the range of Learn to Swim programmes in Nelson.

The Pattison Swim School Learn to Swim programme in Nelson was quite unique from the start, offering block courses throughout the whole summer. They also did their own teaching, ensuring the consistency of their programme. As in Christchurch, the Pattison’s method and philosophy towards learning to swim was very popular in Nelson.

Not only did the Pattisons teach Learn to Swim, they also provided for children wanting to take their swimming skills to the next level, through coaching recreational mini-squads and competitive swimming.

Jos and Margaret Pattison have taught all ages to learn to swim through their Swim School, from preschoolers to adults. They are adamant that you are never too old to learn!

After running their Swim School successfully for over forty years, Jos and Margaret announced their retirement in late 2008.

Source: Interview with Jos and Margaret Pattison and Melissa Keen, 29 June 2009
Research conducted by History & More:



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Phone: 03 5480932

Pattison Swim School is open from October to March and is located
at Schools around the region