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Wānaka pool crew member wins national Lifeguard of the Year

Long-serving Wānaka Recreation Centre pool crew member, Michelle Tetzlaff was named New Zealand Lifeguard of the Year at the 2019 Aquatics Awards held in Queenstown last night.

The aquatics industry awards aim to encourage development and recognition within the sector. The top individual award is given to the lifeguard who has made the most significant contribution to their facility and to the aquatics industry.

Michelle’s official citation read: “Her colleagues at Wānaka Pool say that she is very dedicated and has a fantastic rapport with customers. Frequent visitors to the pool have described her as ‘a breath of fresh air’ and say that the pool wouldn’t be the same without her.”

QLDC Sport and Recreation Manager, Simon Battrick said everyone was incredibly proud of Michelle’s achievement.

“This national recognition is fully deserved. As we were putting Michelle’s nomination together words like friendly, helpful, professional, dedicated, respected and supportive kept cropping up. It’s clear that customers and colleagues alike truly appreciate her work ethic and positive attitude,” he said.

Michelle Tetzlaff began working at the old Wānaka Community Pool after moving from Auckland in 2011. A talented competitive swimmer, she was chosen for the national development squad ahead of the 2000 Olympics and later coached her son to the national junior championships two years running.

It was a successful night all round for QLDC Sport and Recreation with Alpine Aqualand lifeguard, Martin D’Orso also winning one of only three national Merit Awards, and a pan-Crown Range team of Matteo Navone, Craig Pritchard, Georgia Murty and Michelle herself confirmed as finishing second at the New Zealand Lifeguard Championships held at Alpine Aqualand on Monday.

“Having the awards ceremony and lifeguard championships in Queenstown as part of Recreation Aotearoa’s annual Waves Conference has been a fantastic opportunity to showcase our facilities and indeed the whole district to recreation industry leaders from across the country,” said Mr Battrick.

“Huge congratulations to everyone involved, especially Michelle and Martin, for making us proud!”

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