Our New Poolsafe Assessors 2021

Alex Calwell, Auckland Council

Where you're based... I am based in Auckland working across the entire Auckland Council operated network of facilities.

Your aquatics background... I have been working in aquatics for 25 years starting as a lifeguard in the 1990s, I have also moonlighted as a swimming and fitness instructor. I worked my way up to managing aquatic operations first in Singapore where I ran a swim school and pool for a private club. On returning I made my way to Queenstown to help open Alpine Aqualand, on returning to Auckland I managed the Takapuna Pool and them moved to West Wave prior to taking on a more regional role.

Why you became a Poolsafe Assessor... I'm keen to contribute back to the aquatics industry and ensure that there is a consistent standard of operations that our communities can be confident in for their pools. I also hope to see how people are doing things better and learn from others up and down the country.

What you're most looking forward to as an assessor... Connecting with people and developing a strong network of passionate Aquatics people who really want to see their facilities and people grow.

Your hopes for the aquatics sector... I really want to see this sector be a leader in how to manage and operate complex facilities in a safe way that provides our communities with a great place to come together.


Cris Gepiga, Glen Innes YMCA

Where you're based... YMCA Glenn Innes, Auckland

Your aquatics background... I have always been involved in the aquatic sector mainly competitive swimming and triathlon. I have more than 10 years' experience in swim teaching, coaching and as a lifeguard. I eventually became a senior lifeguard and when the opportunity arose, I applied for the Pool Operations Managers' position and have been in this position for four years. I also eventually gained the qualification for Pool Lifeguard Assessor.

Why you became a Poolsafe Assessor... I want to learn about and know the best practices in the aquatic industry so I can I help implement and streamline other facilities to have safer swimming environment.

What you're most looking forward to as an assessor... I am looking forward to learning and gaining a lot of knowledge on how other facilities operate so I can improve our own at YMCA.

Your hopes for the aquatics sector... That all swimming pools in New Zealland have a standard operations procedure to follow to ensure a safer environment for all people to enjoy.


Andrew Smith, Whakatāne District


Where you're based... Whakatāne District, looking after pools in Whakatāne, Murupara and Edgecumbe.

Your aquatics background... I started lifeguarding in the UK at 16 and I have remained in aquatics ever since. I have run a number of large Leisure Centres in the UK and since moving to NZ I have been mainly in aquatics in the Bay of Plenty. I have a huge passion for continuous improvement and ensure the customer is put first. I have been in Whakatāne for the last year and excited to see the opportunities ahead.

Why you became a Poolsafe Assessor... I am continuously looking to share my knowledge and learn from others. We have some amazing facilities in NZ and being a Poolsafe Assessor allows me the opportunity to have a look at how different facilities operate.

What you're most looking forward to as an assessor... Looking at different facilities with a fresh pair of eyes. As we work day to day in our facilities we end up with blinkers on, which control what we see. Having someone new walking through, they are likely to spot things that we walk past every day.

Your hopes for the aquatics sector... That there is more recognition of the importance that the aquatic industry has on peoples wellbeing and mental health, and further support for the teams we have working in our facilities.

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