Des is a married mother of two teenage girls, both of whom have inherited their mother’s passion for the water.
As a teenager, Des represented the Free State and received full provincial colours in swimming and North West Free State colours for lifesaving.
Des’ interests in sport continued whilst working as a fashion designer in Johannesburg. She qualified as an aerobics instructress and shortly thereafter decided to focus her attention in the health and fitness industry. As well as managing a fitness centre, Des continued to take stretching/aerobic classes and worked extensively on the weight floor.
Upon arrival in East London in 1985, Des continued to work as a guest instructress in local gyms but was employed and qualified as the first female professional lifeguard in the Eastern Cape. Originally based at the Joan Harrison, Des was soon promoted to lifesaving at Orient Beach and when she resigned in 1989 was one of the four full-time lifeguards at Nahoon Beach.
When her two daughters began swimming for Harlequins seven years ago Des, who had passed the qualifications required to become a registered S.S.A. Learn to Swim Instructress, began to teach other children water safety, stroke and swimming technique.
Des’ Swim School is situated at her own home in Beacon Bay. The children are taught in an outdoor heated pool. There is also a stretching/massage studio and weight room.
Coaching is year-round and this Learn to Swim centre has been associated with Harlequins Aquatic Club since it’s inception.
Harlequins satellite coach.
Learn to swim teacher.
My coaching career started unexpectedly with the birth of my children Cajun and Tazlin. With a bit of time on my hands and a swimming pool at our disposal, much time was spent playing, and in no time they could both swim. Friends and family then asked for my help and “V’s Swim-school” was born. Cajun and Taz are now 20 and 18 respectively, and much has happened in the interim…
Personally tutored by Beryl Bowie, a renowned coach and author of three learn to swim books.
Registered S.A.S.C.A.T.A. swimming teacher, now known as Swim S.A.
Personally tutored by Sybeth Hueghs, ex Harlequins coach.
Attended a coaching clinic held by Michail Minakov.
Completed level 1 coaching course with Tomas Ansorg.
Attended conference with Dean Price.
Qualified to facilitate learn to swim teachers coarse.
Attended coaching clinic held by Vladimir Ermakov, Russian junior head coach.
Personally coached by Igor Omelchenko, ex Harlequins coach
Did course to qualify for stroke judging and gala referee.
Attended a coaching clinic held by Karoli Von Torres, S.A. breaststroke specialist.
Still learning from our Harlequins head coach, Matthew Palmer.
Have run a successful learn to swim school since 1991
Have coached competitive junior and senior squads since 2001. These have produced provincial school swimmers, Level 1 medalists and Level 2 qualifiers.
Have successfully coached the Hudson High 1st team swimming since 2001
Have competed in 11 Masters Nationals, and 1 world Masters.
Have started coaching the Hudson Primary gala group with the help of my daughter, Tazlin.
Have successfully raised, with the help of my husband, Michael, two well-balanced, fun children, who have both qualified and competed at Level 5 Senior Nationals.
At present I run my learn to swim school at Virgin Active. My competitive Junior and Senior squads train at Hudson High School in summer and at Virgin Active in winter.
Mark Hounsell • David Mandell • Candice Wilson-Moore • Henda Oelofse • Roelf Steyn • Sanet Terblanche