THE end of an era is coming to the Sawtell Swim Centre.
After 37 years of managing the pool at Sawtell as well as teaching so many kids to swim as well as coaching, Tim Raven is preparing to walk away from the place that has kept him employed since he first started there as a 17 year-old.
While most would've hung up their coach's whistle many years ago, Tim said the one thing that kept him coming back year after year and what he'll miss the most is simple: "The kids”.
"I've met a lot of kids over the years and they're still friends, they still come back and see me,” he said.
Countless people over the years can thank the man known by many simply as 'Tim from the pool' for teaching them how to swim. And as the years have gone on, he's now taught those students' kids and grandkids the same vital life skill.
"I've always loved Learn to Swim. It's the most rewarding I think out of all of it in this day and age,” he said
"Just to see kids get in really scared and then within eight or ten weeks be comfortable in the water and say 'watch me, watch me' or put their head under the water, that sort of stuff. It's pretty good, really rewarding.”
When he thinks back to 1980 when he started working there only months after the pool first opened, Tim admits it's almost accidental how he came to his life's calling.
"Phil (Standen) had the pool and he had all these staff lined up and all of the staff left so I finished up getting thrown into the deep end,” he said.
"It was a bit of an eye opener because I was sort of running this place on my own when I was 17, 18 and it was a pretty big step up but I didn't think I'd still be doing it 37 years later.”