Dave Perry started working at the Shirley Pool in the summer of 1974, helping his Dad barrow the earth for the pool foundations as a schoolboy and returned full time in 1993 to run the business. Qualifying as a swimming teacher in 1981 and then as an ASA Tutor he has many years experience in the water and is the driving force behind the current teaching philosophy.
“We have been gifted with lovely teachers over the years, who really enjoy teaching children to swim. We have taken American and Australian influences and the best teaching practices we can find here to build the plan, but its always evolving. Consistency of teachers is vital and if you look at the other teachers on this page there are some common themes: they are all very proud of their work, love teaching swimming but most important, they have been here a long time. My Dad, Frank, designed the perfect teaching pools and I am proud to have built the business up from that foundation with the help of a great team ”
Although Viv does not have regular toddler or baby classes, she will often be seen at the pool, stepping in to take an early morning class when a teacher can’t make it. It’s not just that she lives close to the pool though, Viv is also the longest serving baby teacher having started at Shirley in1990.
In those days, when the oldest boy, Callum, was at playgroup, Luke (2) would be sat on poolside with the playdo while Mum taught. Later, Jack, the youngest boy, would be juggled on an arm while Viv helped on reception. Throughout the development of the pool and building the business, Viv has been ever present and remains an active member of the management team.
These days, Viv mostly works on the management and accounts of the business, when she’s not swimming.
Baby and Toddler Teachers
Toddler and Beginner Teacher
Jane has worked at Shirley Pool since 1988. She was first interviewed by Val and Ruth Perry for a few hours work as a lifeguard and receptionist, a job that was only expected to last six months. Now the pools longest serving teacher, Jane still enchants the toddlers on a Thursday and Friday lunchtime.
Married with three children and two grandchildren, Jane enjoys a range of leisure activities including long distance cycling, tennis and variety of dancing such as Salsa, Ballroom and Morris.
‘I love my work teaching in the warm water of the small pool with all my young friends and hope to continued being ‘’mummy dolphin’’ for many years to come.’
Receptionist, Parent & Baby cover Teacher
Abbie Heiden has been part of the team since 2003, first as an assistant, then a lifeguard and teacher.
Abbie also qualified as a personal trainer and aerobics instructor before starting a family in 2010.
Since returning to work at the pool in 2015, Abbie has taken up duties both behind reception and in the water. Happily married, Abbie has two young boys, both aspiring swimmers.
Parent & Baby Teacher, Teacher
AJ learnt to swim at Shirley Swimming Pool from a young age and went on to become a competitive swimmer for Southampton Dolphins, soon reaching national level. Shortly after leaving Southampton Dolphins AJ realised how much she missed the pool and Dave offered to train her up as an assistant swimming teacher at the age of 14, giving her shifts on Saturday mornings.
By the time she was eighteen AJ was a fully qualified Level Two teacher and began full time employment at Shirley Pool. Since then AJ has become an aqua fit instructor, a mum of twins and is currently training to be an assistant coach for the Dolphins swimming club. In November 2017 AJ qualified as an ASA Parent & Child Teacher.
Parent & Baby Teacher & Receptionist
Jess joined the front of house team in 2018, having managed LA Fitness in Shirley.
Qualifying as a Parent & Child teacher with the STA, Jess has her own regular classes in the small pool during the day. At other times she can be found holding the ship steady in reception, always with a smile.
Parent & Baby Teacher, Teacher
Born and raised in Birmingham and a full time swimming teacher for 7 years, Philomena was attracted by the huge number of lessons at Shirley. ” There’s no where like this back home, we have to scramble around different pools doing teaching here and there. The idea of living in the staff house and teaching in one place is great”
An trained Parent & Child teacher and experienced ASA Level 2 Instructor, Philomena is to be seen in both pools teaching at all levels.
Head of Teachers
Luke Perry has worked, on and off since 2002. Starting as a Saturday boy, Luke soon learnt the teaching methods and philosophies of the swim school and became qualified as an ASA Teacher.
He went on to gain Beach Lifeguard and Surf Instructor qualifications while studying & working in Cornwall.Luke used his experience as a part time chef to help launch the BIG RED Bus Cafe in 2014 and continues to help manage the ever growing swim school.
Luke is in charge of the plant room and leads the teaching team.
Ashley grew up in Ringwood in a swimming family. Mum was a teacher and Ash had to swim regularly if he wanted to spend time with her. It paid off as he became a National standard swimmer in his teens.
As an adult, Ashley fulfilled his lifetime ambition and swum the English Channel solo in 2017, raising thousands of pounds for a local charity. Now a qualified swimming teacher himself, Ashley teaches at the pool on a Monday.
Teacher, Lifeguard & Receptionist
“Babs” has followed older brother Anthony to the pool, first as a lifeguard, then receptionist and now training to be a swimming teacher. Educated at St.Annes, Babs is a natural with children and has recently completed her Level One Swimming qualification so that she can assist with lessons.
” I love working here, the other teachers are so nice to me, I hope I can work here forever”
We hope so too Babs! In November 2017, Babs began her own main pool Saturday classes after an impressive summer of teaching and in September 2018 will start full time employment.
Teacher & Assistant to Coach
Hugo joined the pool in 2018, having spent all of his working life as a student of sport. Specialising in swimming during his Sports Science Degree, Hugo brings a range of specialist skills and a wealth of experience as a passionate teacher and age group coach.
His versatility across all ages and levels makes him a valuable asset to the teaching team. He’s a nice guy too. Relocating from his home town of Peniche, Portugal, Hugo is loving life in England, “Everyone is so friendly and welcoming, the only thing I don’t like – the weather!”
Teacher, Lifeguard & Receptionist
Jacob is one of our many employees to have progressed from learning to swim at the pool. Jacob learnt to swim at the pool from a very young age, progressing up to Dolphins. Starting as a lifeguard Jacob has now completed his Swim Teachers training and has started as a full time teacher.
Jack has very early memories of the Shirley Swimming Pool. Born in 1996, he spent many hours at the pool while both parents worked full time managing and teaching. Naturally, he became a swimming teachers assistant and then a teacher.
Starting on a Saturday morning at 14, Jack has always been popular with the children. With a calm, patient, persistent manner, Jack could often achieve results that evaded more experienced teachers.
Throughout school examinations, he kept up his duties and was rewarded with his own classes in 2013. After completing his A levels, Jack indulged his passion for bikes and took up employment in the workshops at a local cycle shop, but still couldn’t bear to leave his Saturday classes.
Boasting seven years teaching experience, Sam has been brought up to speed with the unique teaching methods at Shirley Pool and is keen to get started.
” It’s great to be off the Island. I’m loving Southampton and the teaching methods here are so different, I’m really excited to get stuck in”
Head Coach, Dolphins
An International swimmer and experienced head Coach, the appointment of Matt sees him return to the pool where he learnt to swim and had his first experience of competition swimming, Shirley Pool.
” It was in the day’s of Frank Perry and I remember the local galas and racing on the Isle of Wight, thats what hooked me to swimming. Its great to be able to return and repay some of that magic that got me started”
Matts appointment will rekindle the partnership with Paul Dollery that was so successful on poolside in recent years as age group coaches at Winchester City Penguins.
When the pool reopens on September 1st, after the summer shutdown, Matt will be fully committed to leading the Southampton Dolphins.
Although he works as a full time school teacher, Matt will lead the Wednesday and Saturday morning sessions, work with Paul Dollery on a Friday 6pm – 8pm and lead the Monday, and Thursday evening sessions. He will target County, Regional and National events and use specific Open meets as mini targets.
Assistant to Head coach, Dolphins
Head Coach with Hamble Swimming Club and, more recently, Assistant at Winchester City Penguins, Paul brings a wealth of coaching experience to the competitive section of the swim school – Southampton Dolphins Swimming Club.
A highly technical coach, he dovetails with Head Coach Matt wonderfully. Their previous time on deck together was a huge success in age group swimming. They make an exciting combination that the swimmers and parents really appreciate.
Assistants and Lifeguards
Lifeguard & Receptionist
Carmen is our latest teenager to begin her working life at Shirley Pool. Educated at St Annes school, Carmen has recently completed her GCSE’s and is nervously awaiting results. Each summer, Carmen disappears to her native Spain to visit family, returning in time for college. Good luck with those exams see you in September.
Lifeguard & Receptionist
Fresh from Summer Camp in America as a lifeguard, Daisy joined the weekend team as a lifeguard and receptionist in November 2017. In the first of her four years studying Marine Biology at Southampton University, Daisy is a long way from her home town of Newcastle Emlyn, West Wales. Shirley Pool will surely become a home from home.
Assistant & Lifeguard
When Findlay was ten years old, he asked his swimming teacher how he could learn to be a teacher himself. Five years later, Finlay nominated the pool for work experience. The staff were so impressed with his work ethic and communication skills, Finlay was taken on as a permanent Saturday assistant . In the summer of 2017, Finlay became a fully qualified lifeguard and Level Swimming Teacher.
Assistant & Lifeguard & Receptionist
“Jonny” learnt to swim at Shirley when he was 6 years old and returned as a lifeguard in 2016. When he is not working hard at college, Jonny opens the pool, lifeguards, checks the chemicals and assists with teaching.
A real all rounder and great team member, Jonny qualified as a level One swimming Teacher in July 2017. After A levels this year, 2018, we will lose him to University for the winter months.
Assistant & Lifeguard & Receptionist
Morgan learnt to swim at Shirley Pool as a toddler. Once through the strokes, he was soon training with Dolphins and was a regular competitor until recently. A qualified lifeguard and STA Teacher, Morgan has been a reliable and regular team member for a couple of years, assisting the teaching team, opening the building, locking up at weekends and lifeguarding public swimming. He starts a full time apprenticeship in mechanical engineering soon but hopes to be able to maintain some weekend shifts.
Back Office and Management
Kerry joined Shirley Pool in 2017 having relocated to Southampton following a 16 year Management career for ODEON Cinemas.
Diving straight into her role as Receptionist, Kerry quickly picked up the systems and became Front of House Manager in January 2018. Since then she has continued to show her dedication and commitment to Shirley Pool and is now our Pool Manager, running the day to day operation of the Pool
Back Office Manager
Joan started working at Shirley Pool, four days a week, in 2012 as the Back Office Manager in charge of direct debits and Human Resources. It was the first appointment of a permanent administrator. After thirty five years in the banking world, eighteen as a Branch Manager Joan took on the Shirley Pool role to give her a day a week with the grandchildren. Joan has been married for forty years and has two grown up sons.
You will seldom see Joan on your visits to the pool as she works in the portacabin, at the rear of the pool, but she is the one you can contact if you should be having any problems with your payments.
‘We have a great team of staff here at Shirley Pool who all aim to make your time with us as enjoyable as possible.’
Joan recruits new staff members and makes sure the everyone is looked after.
Project and Operations Manager
Agnes Nemeth, originally from Hungary, came to England to study Logistics and English. Working her way up through cafes to become a trained barista, Agnes took a job on the Big Red Bus Cafe in 2015. Since then she has become a key member of staff in the “back office”. As our Project Manager she has developed an electronic version of the pool registers, staff app for time sheets and a waiting list program for the ever expanding swim school.
Big Red Bus Staff
Joining the team in September 2016, Martin took on the roll of head chef on theBig Red Bus Cafe and his welcoming demeanour and positive attitude has been a welcome addition to the bus.
The Big Red team team provide quality refreshments for waiting parents and a noisy activity centre at weekends for pool parties.