Tomeeka splashes out

SINGLETON youngster Tomeeka Gould has come a long way in the past 12 months.

GOING FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH: Swimming coach Jacqui Ernst and Tomeeka Gould, who has benefited from the YMCA’s SwimAbility program.

GOING FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH: Swimming coach Jacqui Ernst and Tomeeka Gould, who has benefited from the YMCA’s SwimAbility program.

Before, you couldn’t get the 11-year-old near a pool but, now, you can’t keep her away.

She is just one of the many local children who has benefitted from the YMCA’s SwimAbility program.

Tomeeka, diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD as it is commonly known, is often seen dragging her grandfather, Brian Gould, to the Singleton Gym and Swim facility.

“She loves it,” Brian said.

“Tomeeka reminds me it’s on, every Wednesday.

“It’s given her a bit more confidence in water.

“In fact, she can swim the length of the pool now.”

Brian said the Singleton Public School student looks forward to the weekly lesson.

“Her coach, Jacqui Ernst, has been great,” he said.

“The one-on-one tuition is very beneficial.

“And, Tomeeka gets so much out of the half-hour weekly sessions.”

YMCA Singleton Gym and Swim is encouraging locals to splash out at the YMCA Swimathon on Sunday, March 1.

Swimmers will take to the pool between 11am and noon, raising money to support people with disabilities to enjoy the water safely. 

“At the YMCA, we’re committed to providing opportunities for everyone to live healthier, happier lifestyles,” centre manager Elaine Burke said.

“People with disabilities often require specially-qualified instructors or accessible facilities.

“But, more often than not, there are not enough qualified swimming instructors, or the equipment available to easily access the water.

“Through the YMCA Swimathon we hope to change this.” 

Singleton Gym and Swim hopes to raise $8000 locally, which is used to facilitate the roll out of the SwimAbility program to schools in the area; and to support families with special needs.

SwimAbility is the YMCA inclusion program that allows people with disabilities access to specially-qualified instructors or accessible facilities to encourage water safety and swimming lessons. 

Last year, the event raised $230,000 nationally across 55 YMCA-managed pools. 

“All the money raised stays in the local community to support local initiatives,” Elaine said.

“You don’t even have to swim to take part.

“You can walk up and down the pool for an hour if you like. 

“If you’re up for a challenge, you can set yourself a goal and see how far you can swim between. 

“It’s always a fantastic day out for the whole family.”

The centre will also host a Family Fun Day between 11am – 4pm, with a

barbecue, DJ, bouncy castle, novelty races, Kinder Tots demonstration and much more.

Entry into the event is via a gold coin donation to go towards funds raised for Swimathon.

To register for the YMCA Swimathon, or to find out more information, go to or ask in-centre.