Mosman pool manager tells court Kyle Daniels’ technique ‘acceptable’, but she wouldn’t do it24th November 2020
She said being outside the pool “is preferred” when it comes to helping children with diving, and if children need assistance “usually I suggest using a noodle or kickboard”. Nevertheless, “what he was doing was acceptable in regard to assisting,” she said.
Ms Le Mottee described seeing that Mr Daniels had one hand on the stomach and the other “assisting the children into torpedo”, and that his hands “moved with the dive as it progressed into the water”.
“I would say it’s appropriate”, she told the court, but said she would suggest using an aid instead of hands.
Crown prosecutor Karl Prince asked her if she would do it the way Mr Daniels did. Her response: “Me personally, no I don’t do it that way.”
Mr Prince asked Ms Le Mottee multiple times if the techniques Mr Daniels used were taught by Austswim, but she could not say.
He also asked her: “In the observations you made of Mr Daniels during these dives, do you remember making any observations of the potential for inappropriate contact?
“I believe I mentioned the fact that diving over his hand could have led to that,” she said, stressing however that she didn’t witness that occurring in the CCTV.
The court heard police were provided with the CCTV but most of the files were corrupted, and by the time they requested the relevant sections to be re-sent they had been taped over.
Ms Le Mottee said swim instructors are advised to avoid touching students on the torso where possible, “so basically shoulders, elbows, arms… outside of the areas between hips and shoulders”.
If they do need to assist children who may be sinking at the hips or stomach, she said, “we usually suggest using an arm straight through” to help buoy them from underneath, without using hands.
“I usually recommend the stomach area is a no-go zone, and obviously private areas as well.”
Michael Conna, general manager of Aquatic Leisure Management, which runs Mosman Swim Centre, told the court all swim instructors were required to be qualified with Austswim or Swimming Australia and that Mr Daniels additionally had experience as a Learn To Swim instructor at Ravenswood School for Girls.
As a swimming instructor himself with 30 years experience, Mr Conna said techniques for correctly holding children in the pool are learned early on in training – and instructors know not to hold children near the chest or groin area.
“Protection of children is the utmost importance at all times in everything you do as a swimming instructor,” he told the court.
Mr Conna said a memo circulated to staff in August 2018, which stated “DO NOT hold children close to the groin and/or chest area”, was a “reminder” and not a learning exercise, in response to an initial complaint from a parent alleging Mr Daniels had touched a child’s vagina during a lesson in July. He said the parent did not want to take the matter further.
The court heard that after the second complaint, in February, Ms Le Mottee reported the incidents to FACS.
The trial continues.
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Jenny Noyes is a journalist at the Sydney Morning Herald.