Our Staff

Ally Todd - MA, PGCE, BA (Hons)

Ally Todd is a business owner and has taught swimming for the past 26 years from Pre-school to International competition. Ally has presented at swimming teaching and coaching conferences in England, USA and Australia, she spent 4 years working for Swimming New Zealand as the National Education Manager, has managed swimming pools for Wellington City Council and has taught first aid for St John. Ally is a trained primary school teacher.

Ally develops the programme at Ally Todd swimming in consultation with the staff and in line with best practice pedagogy. Teach actions developing student learning is the forefront of all staff training, weekly updates, termly training and block courses are organized for all staff.

Ally Todd epitomizes energy, enthusiasm and continuous improvement. Your children could not be in better hands. - Olympic Coach, Clive Rushton


Sandra Holden - B Ph Ed, Dip T

Sandra is a business owner in Ally Todd Swimming and has been involved in swimming for 20 years.  Sandra started out teaching swimming for Johnsonville Flippers and taught all levels for 6 years. While teaching swimming Sandra became the Event Manager for Lotto Take the Plunge, a learn to swim event held at 200 pools around the country. 11,000 participants had lessons for 2 weeks in January each year.

Sandra then moved to the competitive side of swimming and became the Event Manager for Swimming New Zealand, running the national and international competitions. Sandra has a tertiary qualification in Physical Education.  Sandra has always been involved in water sports and is loving being back in the pool teaching at Ally Todd Swimming.  

Sandra has a passion for the introductory levels and regularly shares her ideas for recognizing “readiness” to ensure confidence and accelerated improvements at every level.  Sandra also looks after the financial aspects of the business.


Desiree Gordon (Des)

From the starting blocks I was to be Desiree Gordon (Des). At the whistle I dove out into the world, later joined by two other girls, my little sisters, we became a fish family, we can swim and we swim well. 

I streamlined my way through regional, national and ocean swim meets. When it came to my future I turned quickly at the wall away from my original thoughts to be a P.E teacher, to be a designer at Massey University instead.

I got my first and only job, teaching swimming down at the local pool, I have taught the adorable little guppies as young as 6 months old to the wise turtles of 86.

After my degree I was looking to smash through the wall into whatever race was coming up next. Now I’m working full time at Ally Todd Swimming as a swimming teacher, updating the facebook and website pages, re-ordering goggle stock and working with Ally and Sandra to further develop the Ally Todd Swimming brand.


Lisa Harris

Lisa is a Mum with two children and a passion for making the most out of life.

Lisa has over ten years experience in teaching swimming. Her enthusiasm is infectious to other staff, children and parents along poolside. Lisa enjoys teaching the Toddler Turtle and preschool levels during the day and leads school classes coming in for lessons.

Lisa’s child centered approach ensures all children feel a sense of belonging and success through their swimming progress. She is also looking for the next achievement to celebrate and always looks to challenge the ‘learn to swim’ process for a “better way”, to further the progress, and development for all children wanting to swim.


Angus Todd

Angus Todd has been teaching for Ally Todd swimming since we opened in 2010, and has regularly attended swim teaching training by Ally for the past 5 years. Angus is a competitive rower for Wellington Club and Onslow College and has medals from the National Championships for 2013 and 2014. 

In the pool Angus prefers teaching the higher levels and has an attention to detail for increasing speed in the water. Angus enjoys the rewards of celebrating success to promote further development through increased self esteem. He has completed the Swimming New Zealand Swim Teacher award course and is currently completing the written and practical assessment criteria. 

Angus also has a passion for creative design and technology projects including piecing together his own computer and is planning for tertiary study, towards a career in aviation.


Mitchell Smith (Mitch)

Mitchell is currently studying a Bachelor of Teaching at Victoria University; he is looking at teaching at primary school level when he finishes.

Mitchell has been working with the Ally Todd Swimming team since 2011; and has a talent for teaching all levels of the programme. Mitchell also teaches schools that come in for lessons. Mitchell enjoys reflective discussions with other teachers in search of solutions and best practice and continues to inquire into the teaching and learning relationship throughout the programme.


Craig Stapleton

Craig used to be a competitive swimmer and swam for 8 years before moving on to teaching. Craig is studying a Diploma in Outdoor adventure and upon finishing his course he hopes to become a Rafting guide in the summer and a ski patroller in the winter and take his skills overseas. Craig has 4 brothers and a younger sister. 

Craig enjoys teaching the higher levels of the programme, creating a positive and fun learning environment, with plenty of challenge, so each child is being pushed to the best of their ability. Craig’s communication skills allow him to get to know the children in his group well and maximise learning progress through attention to prior learning.


Daniel Shannon

Daniel is currently at Aotea College; he is coaching a rugby team and enjoys outdoor activities like camping, tramping, rugby and running. Daniel has completed Duke of Edinborough.

After college he hopes to join the army to become a medic or doctor. Daniel has a younger sister, and is from the United Kingdom.

Daniel learnt how to swim from Ally Todd at Ally Todd swimming and Tornadoes. He enjoys teaching the middle to higher levels of the programme. Daniel structures his classes with lots of opportunities for practice and development; he has an eye for developing a long flat body position at the surface of the water and builds the basics of body position and balance with precision to develop maximum potential for all his swimmers.


Tarsh Culevski

From a young age Tarsh has always loved swimming and spent a lot of time in and around the water. She initially learnt to swim here at Discovery School pool when she was younger and hopes to give the children she teaches the same positive memories she had learning to swim.

Tarsh enjoys working with children, especially the younger ones to help them achieve the best they can, getting the children in, under, exploring and floating. Tarsh facilitates shared learning within her class groups and accelerates learning through the children’s own descriptions of how things feel.

Teaching at Ally Todd swimming has been a stepping-stone for Tarsh heading towards her desire to become a primary school teacher. She is studying at Victoria University, a Bachelor of Arts majoring in education and history.


Sally Rose

Sally is a mother and has three children; she enjoys doing multi sport in her spare time. Sally enjoys teaching the water baby and introductory preschool levels of our programme during the day, along with teaching school classes. Sally likes to create a supportive and positive learning environment for the children, which is key to enable each child to reach their potential. Sally has a passion for technique and developing accurate basics for young children, creating fantastic foundations for speed and endurance as they progress into the higher levels of the programme


Angela Hawkey

Angela learnt to swim at the age of 5 and went on to swim competitively at the national level with a variety of swimming clubs. She has taught swimming since her teenage years, including leading many swim teaching courses under the facilitation of Ally, and in the Lotto Take the Plunge programme with Sandra.

Angela loves teaching the preschoolers at Ally Todd Swimming and using each child’s outside learning to further develop their swimming ability. She is picky about technique and notices the little things crucial to swimming length, body position and feel for the water. She also enjoys teaching the school groups that come in during the day.

Outside of teaching, Angela is mum to three primary school children who also swim at Ally Todd Swimming. She coaches hockey at Pauatahanui School, helps to coordinate the school Lamb and Calf fundraiser, and is the number one supporter of her family’s other sporting and cultural activities.


Tayla Walker

Tayla is currently at Tawa College, she enjoys reading and netball in her spare time and hopes to be alive and happy with NCEA L1, 2, and 3 when finished school. She also has a younger brother.

Tayla has been working at Ally Todd Swimming for over 12 months, and has completed the National Swim Teachers Award course, and is currently completing the practical and assessment requirements.

Tayla enjoys being with young children and has a passion for learning new ways of accomplishing results. She has a good eye for technique and keeps focused on the essentials of balance and body positions to help maximize the kick and pull technique.


Irene Hitchcock

Irene is a mother and has a gorgeous baby daughter Relena. She is doing numerous child courses and water safety courses to further her teaching knowledge. Irene enjoys teaching the middle levels of our programme, she is passionate about teaching the toddler turtles and water babies and has great fun teaching the school classes during the day too.

Irene provides sufficient opportunities to learn and practice in the pool and helps with home learning strategies for the whole family to enjoy.

Outside our pool Irene volunteers at the Wellington SPCA helping with their kids education programme. She also loves volunteering for Autism NZ, where she helps to facilitate their adult support-group and outings. She adores badminton and swimming during her spare time. She is also a junior badminton coach.