Lee Tran proves its never too late to learn

9 August 2016
23 year old Lee Tran is a determined young man who knows that anything is possible if you have a goal in mind!

Lee’s family came to Australia from Vietnam on a refugee boat in 1993. Neither of his parents or his five year old sister knew how to swim and they feared throughout the journey that if anything happened to that rickety boat they would drown.

Lee was born the same year after his parents arrived in Australia. As a young boy he learned some swimming skills, but didn’t progress past to basics of level 3 in children’s lessons.

As he got older the deep end of the pool or past the breakers at the beach were areas he didn’t dare go. Then at the age of 19 he decided he wanted to be a lifeguard. In order to achieve that he had to learn to swim! So Lee joined adult swimming lessons at Ballajura Aquatic Centre and became the first person in his family to ever learn to swim!

“Learning when you’re an adult you tend to be a bit more wary, whereas kids in swimming lessons just go with the flow. I was pretty determined though that being a lifeguard was what I wanted to do so I didn’t let my emotions get in the way” Lee says.

He soon learned all the swimming skills he needed to achieve his aim, and then took a Pool Lifeguard course.

He says being able to swim has had a big impact on his life. “Now when I go out with friends I don’t need to hang onto the edge of the pool, and I can go out deeper at the beach and enjoy lots of other aquatic activities. I’ve been here working at the pool as a lifeguard for a while too and I‘ve learned a lot of new things through that.”

For Lee learning to swim and becoming a pool lifeguard was just the start. Since then he’s completed qualifications as a Pool Operator and Swim Instructor. He says it’s very rewarding to now be the one teaching children the skills he missed out on when he was younger!

“I enjoy teaching the children and I also have an opportunity to help teach the adult swimming classes. Often the instructor who leads those classes will tell the adult participants my story, and I think it really encourages them that it is possible to learn when you’re a bit older!”

Lee’s also ensuring the next generation of his family learns to swim. “My sister has a little baby daughter and I’ve paid for her to do swimming lessons as a gift. It’s such an important life skill that everyone needs!”