Naughty spot for swim kids

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Littlies told to swap caps.

Two St Joseph’s School five-year-olds were sent to the naughty spot for wearing the wrong swimming caps at the Alpine Aqualand pool.

Littlies Katie Hulsman and Hannah Carter were spotted wearing Wakatipu Swim School caps during a swim lesson they attend with classmates every Friday morning.

The girls didn’t get detention for wearing headgear of a rival swim outfit – but heavy-handed pool staff told St Joseph’s teachers to get the kids to remove the offending caps and issued them with plain ones as replacements.

Wakatipu Swim School isn’t the teacher’s pet with pool managers Lakes Leisure at the moment, as boss Jane Hughes claims commercial operators are being squeezed out of the $20 million facility.

Both Katie’s and Hannah’s mums were at the pool when the February 27 incident happened.

They’re still seeing red – even though they scored free Speedo caps for their kids, which retail for up to $15.

“I thought it was really petty and really silly,” says Hannah’s mum Emma Carter.

Lakes Leisure boss Fiona McKissock denies the kids were collared, saying the pool has no rules banning certain caps.

“What happened was the staff member gave two caps to the teacher and said, ‘Here’re two caps, you can give them to the child if you want, as prizes’.”

Katie’s mother Sue Hulsman laughs at McKissock’s explanation. “That’s completely rubbish – they were given to both the mums because they didn’t want them wearing the Wakatipu Swim caps.”

Hulsman says a St Joseph’s teacher passed on a request from pool staff to remove her daughter’s cap and gave her a replacement.

She didn’t see who approached the teacher, but believes it was one of the Lakes Leisure bosses.

“It was obviously one of the big-wigs because they were there when the children were doing their swimming lessons,” she says.

“And I didn’t ask, I was just in shock, like ‘you’re joking, that’s just pathetic’.

“I let [Katie] swim the whole lesson with the [WSS] cap on and then the next lesson I didn’t want to rock the boat for St Joseph’s so I put her in the Aqualand cap.”

Carter was so incensed about her daughter Hannah being singled out that she complained to the swim centre’s front desk this Wednesday.

“They said that they didn’t want to advertise the swim school in their swimming lessons,” she says.

Both mums rate the swimming lessons at Aqualand highly but the recent request left them gobsmacked.

Jane Hughes – who today presented Queenstown Lakes District Council with a petition in support of alternative swim schools using Alpine Aqualand – confirms she’s heard about the incident but didn’t want to comment further.