Real Life

REAL LIFE: Meet the woman who didn’t know how to swim and is now showing others how to conquer the pool

Nadia Azizabadi, 38, from Hobart, Tasmania, shares her inspiring story with Take 5's Mitchell Jordan:
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Seeing the sparkling ocean filled my heart with joy.

It was a warm day and my family had come to the Caspian Sea in Iran.

Noticing the excitement in my eyes, Dad asked if I wanted to go for a dip.

“You’ll have to swim in the ladies’ section,” he warned.

In our country, the beach was divided into male and female sections.

“No,” I told him.

Being out on the water was a new experience for me.

(Image: supplied)

I’d never been in the water before and would have loved to splash around, but I didn’t want to be separated from my family.

So that was as close as I ever got to the beach.

But when I turned 30, I moved to Australia to study.

On the flight there, I stopped at Malaysia and did some scuba-diving.

My swimming skills were only basic, but the experience of being immersed in water was so amazing I vowed I’d do it again in Australia.

But to really tackle the sea with confidence, I’d need proper swimming lessons.

I wanted to do more scuba-diving.

(Image by Tasha Waller)

My first attempt ended badly.

The instructor’s Aussie accent was so hard for me to understand that I couldn’t follow the instructions.

Instead, I decided to teach myself by watching countless videos on YouTube and practising alone in the pool.

It worked!

I then joined an underwater hockey team and competed in tournaments.

Now I’m teaching others how to swim!

(Image: supplied)

After three years in Australia, I was a competent swimmer and loved heading into the waves as often as possible.

It didn’t bother me that Tassie’s beaches were some of the coldest in the country – that’s what wetsuits were made for!

Thinking back to how far I’d come, I knew there must be other migrants like me, so I formed From Zero To Hero, an adult swimming program.

As an instructor, I’ve helped women, even those in their 70s, gain the confidence to get back in the water.

It’s a job I love, and I hope that I’ll empower others to keep making a splash!

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