Adamson dedicated all to nurturing young swimmers
The challenge from teaching and coaching swimming is what drives Dorothy Adamson to return to the pool deck year after year.
At 70 years young Adamson has coached a vast range of keen swimmers, from toddlers to teenagers to helping adults overcoming their fear of water.
After growing up on the sunburnt beaches of Geelong, Adamson said she had salt water flowing in her veins.
"I only ever swam in the ocean, I never joined a swimming club or raced competitively," Adamson said.
Being heavily involved in sport, Adamson dreamed of pursuing a career teaching physical education.
"University tuition was so expensive I had to let go of my dream and become a hairdresser," she said.
At the age of 42 Adamson was introduced to the world of swimming teaching.
My first experience was quite frightening. I attended a learn to swim session with my son and before I knew it I was instructing a class
Adamson said she instantly discovered a flair for teaching and enrolled in various swimming teaching courses in Melbourne.
In some cases she would travel to Melbourne on a weekly basis to complete courses and update her skills.
"It was quite demanding especially on my husband Richard who would drive me back and forth to Melbourne," she said.
"Richard was extremely supportive throughout all my decisions; I couldn't have done it without him."
Because of Adamson's extensive involvement in the swimming industry she established close contact with Melbourne co-ordinators.
To Adamson's great surprise she received a call from a Melbourne swimming institution to kick-start a 'learn to swim program' in Horsham.
The program was fully functional state-wide before changing its name and becoming a flourishing Australia-wide organisation now known as AustSwim.
Practicing what she preached, she began teaching a range of Horsham primary school students and accepted a coaching role with Horsham Swimming Club.
Adamson said her career highlight was to meet Olympic gold medallist Greg Vasallo, a member of the 'mean machine'
Vasallo instructed Adamson on valuable coaching techniques which she still incorporated into her training program today.
"It was just priceless to have met an Olympic athlete but to have been instructed by one is a moment I will always cherish."
Adamson said she also met Olympic swimming sensation Dawn Fraser while at a function in Horsham Civic Centre.
"You meet many people from different walks of life through such an alternative sport like swimming - parents, toddlers as well as many other teachers and coaches," she said.
You never know everything. When you think you have it down pat something else seems to pop up
Adamson's next learning curve was to teach toddlers, which had been an ongoing fear of hers.
For many years she was hesitant to teach toddlers the basics in swimming because she felt the pressure was too great.
"Tina Haase encouraged me to the world of teaching toddlers; she helped me overcome my fears and gain confidence.
It's the pure joy and achievement from the children that is most rewarding, they give us far more than what we give them
"Swim teaching and coaching is such an active role that it keeps you young at heart," she said.
Adamson said her involvement in swimming more than compensated for her disappointment in not being able to pursue a physical education course.
Adamson has received two major awards for her dedication to swimming, a citizen award in 1986 and a Queen Elizabeth Award last year.
"Throughout my 28-year history of teaching and coaching I have encountered both good and bad times. My passion is as strong if not stronger than the first day I began. It is most rewarding; I couldn't imagine what I would have done with my life without it."
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