Southern Swim School launched 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. 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 four young children 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.

Ellyse Bowman

Business Development / Swim Manager

Ellyse is a key member of the Southern Swim School team, combining her talent in Business Development and Marketing, with over twelve years experience as a Swim Teacher and Pool Deck Manager.

Starting as a swim teacher at Holsworthy Aquatic Centre when she was 16, Elysse spent five years as the Coordinator of the Babies and Toddler Program at Knox Grammar Aquatic Centre, and another three years assisting Leanne in the management of the Learn to Swim Program at Pymble Ladies College.

Ellyse recently worked in the UK swim industry for over three years, until the COVID travel restrictions led to her return in 2020. Southern Swim School immediately jumped at the opportunity to have Ellyse back as part of our team, knowing her experience and ability.

Passionate about water safety for all ages, Ellyse loves getting babies  conditioned to swimming from a very young age, so that all experiences in the water are positive as they learn independence, and so that they love the water for their whole lives.

Ellyse holds the following qualifications:

  • Austswim Teacher of Swimming and Water Safety
  • Austswim Teacher of Babies and Toddlers
  • Austswim Teacher of Competitive Strokes
  • Austswim Teacher of Disabilities
  • Pool Lifeguard
  • Austswim Assessor

At Southern Swim School, she will fulfill a range of roles including:

  • Business Development
  • Social Media and Marketing
  • On Deck Manager throughout the week
  • Teaching in the water
  • Kindy and Pre School Talks
  • Staff Education


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 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