Meet the Founder Nikos Vasilellis
My parents’ house was located in the centre of Athens, Greece, far away from the sea, and the sun had no access through our windows as it was covered by the city’s buildings. Therefore, I always anticipated each summer to escape from the city, visit Lesvos, the island of my grandparents, and dive in the crystal blue waters of the Aegean Sea under the Greek sun. On that island, I made my first swimming steps at the age of six, learning breaststroke, snorkelling and freediving. Hence, the marine element was infused to me from a young age and it was destined to play an important role in my life.
While I was studying for my Bachelor of Engineering in Applied Informatics and Multimedia in the island of Crete, my love for the sea and the aquatic activities was always alive. As a result, I decided to become a certified beach lifeguard and work alongside my studies. In the same year, I got my speed boat licence and became a certified PADI Open Water Diver.
My job as a beach lifeguard played a big role in developing my core values, such as caring and protecting others and preventing incidents rather than trying to deal with them at a later stage. In addition, it gave me the opportunity to come in touch with many people from other countries, which grew the sense of multiculturalism in me, something that I also love to experience in Sydney and generally in Australia.
After completing my studies, I decided to follow another passion of mine and started my own business as a software and web developer. During the following years, I developed and managed a travel website for the North-Eastern Aegean Sea.
As of 2013, I fulfilled my lifelong dream of moving to Australia. That desire was implanted in my heart from a very young age while listening the stories of my grandparents who travelled across Australia in the middle of the ‘80s. They brought with them many souvenirs. One of them was a colourful table cover which had the map of Australia designed on it. During my summertime visits to Lesvos, I was always daydreaming while sitting on that table. “One day I will live on and explore that large sunny island on the other side of the world”, I used to tell my grandpa.
The dream became reality and a new adventure started in 2013, when I moved to Sydney with my wife and Oskar, our 9kg red colourpoint Ragdoll cat.
First steps as Australian Swim Teacher
While working in various positions, I started as a hobby to teach swimming to some friends and their children. It was a decision which reminded me how much I love being in the water. At the same time, I discovered that I was developing a new passion: teaching and helping others to improve themselves, overcome their fears and achieve their dreams. As a result, within our first year in Sydney, I decided to take the AUSTSWIM Teacher of Swimming and Water Safety™ certification and started teaching swimming.
Each day I was falling more and more in love with the Australian swimming industry. My core strength in that new field was my strong desire to continuously study new techniques and different teaching styles as well as seeking honest feedback from experienced teachers who were my role models. Moreover, I combined all the good teaching techniques I have learned from my mentors with my bubbly and enthusiastic personality and the results towards my students were amazing. Both children and adults were improving in a very short time, overcoming their fears and starting to enjoy being in the water.
My drive to learn continuously and improve my skills led me to obtain the following 3 swimming certificates within a year:
- AUSTSWIM Teacher of Swimming and Water Safety™, which is the main certificate for anyone who wants to begin teaching in Australia
- AUSTSWIM Teacher of Aquatics- Access and Inclusion™, for teaching people with disability, chronic condition, senior adults and cultural and linguistic diverse backgrounds (CALD)
- AUSTSWIM Teacher of Towards Competitive Strokes™, which is focused on stroke correction and coaching of swimming.
Since I received my first AUSTSWIM certificate, I taught from preschool children up to mini squads, and adult beginners, stroke correction and swim-fit as well as senior citizens.
One of the organisations where I was most happy to teach was Rainbow Club. There, I was privileged to teach children with various disabilities such as autism, syndrome down and cerebral palsy and that had a huge influence in my life.
Nereids Aquatic Coaching® is Born
During my employment as a swimming teacher in various swimming schools, I noticed that the large sized classes lead to slow progression of students, despite the great efforts from their teachers. What's more, due to the hustle and bustle of modern day lifestyle and its demands, both parents and their children were wasting their time by travelling back and forth for the swimming lessons
My business spirit led me to create a new company that would provide highly effective lessons and would save people’s time as well. I wanted this company to differentiate from the classic swimming schools. Moreover, I wanted to employ swimming teachers who would really care about their students and would have the same passion and love for the aquatic environment as I do.
With that vision in mind, my team and I, began searching for a business name that would combine the Greek mythology with the ocean and would trigger the imagination of our young as well as our adult students.
As a result, the name of Nereids Sea Nymphs came to our minds and in 2015 Nereids Aquatic Coaching was born.
Our swimming teachers travel to clients’ pools and conduct one-on-one or small sized group swimming lessons. Such lessons are leading to quicker progress and can be adapted to the personality and strengths of each student.
Today, every member of Nereids team strives to cooperate in harmony under the values of caring and protecting others, and making a positive impact. Moreover, our swimming teachers are teaching students how to remain safe, helping them to overcome their fear of water and enjoy the beauties of the aquatic environment, and guiding each one of them to “Become a Mythical Swimmer”!
Last but not least, here in Nereids Aquatic Coaching, we do our best to support our community by donating to Australian charity organisations which are aligned with our values.