From Babies to Olympians

November 2016 / 22/11/2016

The new Flinders Aquatic Centre is set to become a centre of swimming excellence on the Sunshine Coast. Led by Olympic coaches Chris Mooney and Jan Cameron, the Flinders Aquatic Academy is ready to cater for babies as well as aspiring Olympians.

Olympic coaches Chris and Jan talk to FlindersLife about their plans for the Flinders Aquatic Academy program.

Firstly, we would like to highlight that we are really excited about the opportunity to introduce a unique aquatic journey at Matthew Flinders Anglican College. With years of experience in the aquatic field, we are passionate about providing our community with a high-level swimming program, catering for all ages and levels.swim-coach

Could you explain the structure of the program?

The program will incorporate a long-term developmental strategy involving a pathway of technical skills in an enjoyable, positive environment with regular assessments and feedback.   

The Flinders Aquatic Academy program will utilise regular opportunities for each child to maximise his or her potential. We will take pride in our ability to deliver early childhood and water safety skills and teaching, with staff incorporating the latest teaching methods. All staff will have the latest qualifications, Blue Cards and ongoing professional development.

It seems that you place great importance in parental engagement. How does this work in practice?

With the fantastic new facility at Flinders and a customer-friendly environment, we will ensure best practice communication with monthly parent meetings to certify full understanding of the program, its intent and design.  Parents are encouraged to be part of this process through regular visits to the website as well as these information gatherings. These meetings are generic not regarding specific individual needs.  These are dealt with in individual parent-teacher meetings.

The first step on the pathway will involve baby lessons with parents in the water and there will be opportunities on weekends for both working mums and dads to be involved in this very special time with their children.   Next will be the preschool lessons at times to allow parents to bring their youngsters as well as involving preschools and kindergartens nearby to access times during the day for busy working parents to avail themselves of this unique opportunity.  Working with the local childcare facilities is an unusual step and one which will ensure each child receives the chance to learn to swim.

For mini squads and those progressing along the pathway there will be opportunities to attend group assessments in a race night format regularly.

There will be occasions for the Flinders swimmers to interface with the USC Spartans Olympians and Paralympians. The pathways established will provide for racing at regional, state and national competitions, when suitable.

The underlying essence of the Flinders Aquatic Academy will continue to engender the outstanding cultures of the school and the USC Spartans – excellence and empathy.

CHRIS MOONEY                   

Chris has recently returned from the Rio Olympics 2016 with a successful campaign  – three swimmers – three medals.


  • Australian swim team coach 2016
  • currently head coach at USC Spartans high performance swim program
  • 20 years successful coaching experience with club programs
  • four consecutive years as a Dolphin national team coach
  • USA college program coach – NCAA
    (five years University of Hawaii)
  • coached successfully at all levels – from babies to Olympic medallists
  • pending platinum coach status.


Jan Cameron is an Olympic silver medallist (Australian Paralympic swim team coach 2016)  and has recently returned from the Rio Paralympics where seven of her swimmers competed successfully –  one silver medal and six finalists.


  • Jan has coached successfully in Australia, Canada, USA and New Zealand at all levels over a span of 47 years.
  • currently head coach for the swimming Australia Paralympic program at USC
  • has been at two Paralympics and four Olympics as both team and Head Coach
  • platinum coach status.