Southern Swim School is launching in 2019 with a mission to bring a new and innovative approach to swimming teaching to our community. Our directors, Josh & Brigette Crowther and Neisha & John Pitt, share a passion for education and innovation in teaching. Both couples are parents of young children, and already collaborate in running a successful early learning centre at Kirrawee.

After acquiring an existing pool at Kirrawee, our team has undertaken a major overhaul of the swim centre and pool. The swim program has been re-established from the ground up, with new teachers and a new tested-and-proven curriculum, led by our Head of Swimming, Leanne Oakley, and Learn To Swim Coordinator, Brooke Etcell. As a family-owned and run swim school, we look forward to giving both our students and their parents the best possible experience and service.

Josh & Brigette Crowther


Josh and Brigette are co-owners of Southern Swim School, along with Neisha and John. The couples are also partners in Stepping Stones Early Learning Centre at Kirrawee.

Brigette is also a high school teacher and trained geologist, while Josh comes from a financial services background.

Both Josh and Brigette have grown up by the water in the Sutherland Shire and St George, and their love for swimming continues.

Josh is a regular surfer, and a volunteer lifesaver at Wanda Surf Life Saving Club, where he holds a Silver Medallion and Advanced Resuscitation Techniques certificate. His ongoing experiences as a patrol member have made him even more passionate about swimming education and passing on the message of water safety.

Brigette is a keen water polo player and swimmer, who more recently has spent a lot of time in and by the pool with their three young boys at swimming lessons.

Being well accustomed to the world of learn-to-swim parents, Josh and Brigette are motivated to make Learn to Swim as enjoyable and as fulfilling as possible for our students and their parents, both when at the pool and in terms of communication and administration.

Josh will be particularly involved in overseeing the operations of Southern Swim School, and in building connections and partnerships with our community. He plans to stay connected to what is happening on the pool deck, and will be a regular at our Southern Start education sessions for newborns.

Neisha & John Pitt


Neisha and John are perhaps best known for winning Season 3 of Channel 9’s “The Block”, where their renovation skills, creativity and determination saw them take out the top auction result.

These days the couple own and operate Stepping Stones Early Learning Centres at Bexley and Kirrawee.

Neisha has more than 20 years of early childhood training and experience and holds a Bachelor of Teaching Early Childhood Education, while John operates a very successful traffic management services company.

The pair are excited to be partners in Southern Swim School, where they plan to combine their two loves of education and renovation!

They have already dived straight into improving the pool deck, upgrading the plant/machinery, and refreshing the general interior/exterior.

They also are keen to introduce fresh new ideas into swim teaching, based on their experiences in early childhood education. Neisha in particular believes in creating environments that inspire every child to pursue a sense of wonder, and plans to bring this approach into Southern Swim School.

High-school sweethearts, John and Neisha are married with two young children, who will also be swimming at Southern Swim School.

Leanne Oakley

Head of Swimming

Leanne is an extremely passionate swim school manager, who started as a swim instructor while in high school, and has since helped thousands of children to learn to swim. She will be leading the direction, philosophy and administration of our Swim School.

Leanne has managed a number of large and successful Swim Programs, including:

  • Swim School Manager at Pymble Ladies’ College for eight years, where she had the opportunity to establish her own program in a new $38 million aquatic facility. It is now one of the leading programs in Australia, with the Swim Club ranked #1 in Sydney and #4 in Australia.
  • Aquatics Coordinator at a large Shire-based swim school, where over nine years she coached multiple swimmers through from babies to reaching state level – some of these faces you will see as instructors at Southern Swim!
  • Leanne has also lent her expertise to other private schools in Sydney as they opened and managed swim schools.

Leanne has strong mentors in some of the biggest names in the industry. Not only has she taught kids in the Learn to Swim setting, but has also coached state/national level swimmers at a high performance level. Her qualifications include:

  • Swim Australia Teacher of Swimming
  • Swim Australia Babies and Toddlers
  • Swim Australia Teacher of Learners with a disability
  • Coach of Swimmers with a disability
  • ASCTA Towards Competitive Strokes
  • ASCTA Bronze License Coach
  • Pool Lifeguard Certificate
  • Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment

Leanne believes that children are capable of doing amazing things in the water at a young age. Having two kids of her own, and the chance to teach them as babies has reinforced this belief even more.

Brooke Etcell

Learn to Swim Coordinator

With years of experience as an in-water swim teacher, coach, supervisor and assistant manager, Brooke is excited at the opportunity to help launch Southern Swim School as our Learn to Swim Coordinator.

An AUSTSWIM qualified Teacher of Swimming and Water Safety and Teacher of Infant Aquatics, Brooke has taught all ages and all abilities at programs including Pymble Ladies College, Fitness First and Warringah Aquatic Centre.

Brooke is currently completing a Bachelor of Education degree (Birth-12), bringing an understanding of children’s development and how this can translate to swimming/aquatic environments.

Brooke also has interests in teaching children/adults with special needs, having taught children and adults with autism, cerebral palsy, and hearing difficulties.

Brooke believes that it is never too early to start learning to swim, teaching safety and independence at an early age. She has a firm belief that all children are capable and should be treated as such.


At Southern Swim School, we believe that all children should have access to quality swimming lessons to ensure that they have the skills in and around every water environment for their safety and survival.

We are passionate about teaching all ages and abilities the fundamental skills that will provide the foundation for their life experiences in, and around the water. 

We aim to give back to the community through initiatives such as our Southern Start! program, and by working with local community bodies including preschools, schools, swim and surf clubs to deliver innovations in swim education.

Southern Swim School is accredited through Swim Australia and Australian Swim Schools Association.

Swim Australia operates as a key industry body for 600 Swim Schools, and has become the national authority on teaching swimming and water safety. Swim Australia aims for continuous improvement of coaching and teaching techniques and methodologies and swim school operations.

Australian Swim Schools Association is uniquely focused on swim schools, with its mission to permanently reduce drowning deaths in Australia.

Our membership of these two associations is part of our firm belief in the concept of swim teaching as a profession and as a collaborative endeavour. We are strong advocates of working with and learning from professional bodies, other swim teachers and other pool owners to continually refine and improve the standard of swim teaching in Australia.

Start Swimming @ Southern Swim School