Swim teacher retires after chlorine inhalation health issues

SWIM teacher of 36 years Kerrie Wawn has retired from the industry after a chlorine accident last year left her with ongoing medical problems.

In June 2014, eight staff from the Goonellabah Swimming and Aquatic Centre were treated for chlorine inhalation resulting from a design flaw in the air flow system.

Mrs Wawn was the only person hospitalised.

She said while it's changed her life completely, she does not blame anyone for the accident.

"I can't fault what they've done, they've helped me, they've been supportive," she said.

"I'm trying to focus on moving on, there's something out there for me other than swimming.

MOVING ON: Kerrie Wawn is retiring as a swim teacher at Goonellabah Sport and Recreation Centre after a chlorine accident in 2014.
MOVING ON: Kerrie Wawn is retiring as a swim teacher at Goonellabah Sport and Recreation Centre after a chlorine accident in 2014. Cathy Adams

"It's sad that I've got to do that, but it's the reality."

Lismore City Council held a retirement party for Mrs Wawn yesterday, marking the final part of her long journey.

"This is the final chapter. I need to close it and move on to something else," Mrs Wawn said.

She said she will take this opportunity to pick up the books again and learn something new.

"I still want to work with children, maybe helping to make their lives a bit better," Mrs Wawn said.

"I'll be hitting the books, at 56 years of age I'm going back to school.

"I've also started taking surf lessons."

Mrs Wawn said she will most miss helping so many children grow in their abilities and confidence.

"Taking them from being really scared, near

drownings, and see them grow," she said.

"One (child) had almost drowned ... their brother pulled them out of the pool and had to resus them back.

"It was a very long struggle for them to get their confidence back.

"The day they put their faces in the water and started swimming on their own, I cried."

After the incident at the complex last June the council spent $30,000 to install two new airflow units to address poor air ventilation.


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