Shirla Lyons is one of the most enthusiastic people you will ever meet.
She told WMN, “I was born to shine, I am aspiring to be the happiest person in the world by just being thankful for every moment.”
Other than her extremely positive demeanour, Lyons is known for her varied roles in the sport of swimming, as well as her community service in Point Fortin and by extension south, Trinidad.
Lyons has been a swimming coach for the past 23 years and she is level five qualified under the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA).
Speaking to WMN she said, “Sports has definitely impacted my life, swimming has opened a whole new world for me. My children got lots of opportunities through swimming.”
She and husband Wendell, who is also a well-qualified coach, produced three national swimmers: Cadell, Cardesha and Cadean. She explained, “My husband was the coach and I was the club administrator. It wouldn’t be possible without him, but I quietly played my role as a mother ensuring everyone eat and sleep properly, also become educated.”
You may think having three athletes on the national team simultaneously must have been a difficult, but Lyons disagreed. She described it as, “absolutely normal.”
“When they started off I didn’t think they would be national swimmers. I only thought they have to be involved in some sort of physical activity. It was all for fun, fitness and health, so we took one day at a time ensuring that they enjoyed it and I did my normal duties. I totally enjoyed it. Apart from my children there were other swimmers staying at my house.”
Originally from Rancho Quemado, Erin, Lyons came from a large family of 12 children. She boasted that all three of her children are all university graduates.
Formerly employed at the Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (TSTT) for 22 years, Lyons co-founded the St Michael’s Stingray Swim Club, and is now the manager of the Point Fortin Borough Community Swimming Pool where she also coaches.
The South Oropouche resident has assisted in organising local and Caribbean Goodwill swim meets and was also responsible for gathering and coordinating the volunteers for CCAN, hosted last year in TT.
Her exciting voice can be heard announcing at local swim meets when she is not coaching. She even held the positions of manager, chaperone as well as head delegate of several national team tours.
She is the organiser of the Point Fortin Active Seniors Foundation, where seniors in the community are exposed to activities such as queen shows and field trips – one to another country annually.
Coach Lyons jokingly admitted, “Sometimes I am embarrassed to tell people how much I do on a daily basis. Oops, I forgot to mention about dance classes three days a week and cleaning the house often, which I enjoy a lot.”
Lyons had a special message for all mothers. “Appreciate simple things in life regardless of what you are going through. Look at your strengths and use it and don’t focus on negative. Be thankful, loving, caring and tell your children positive things.”
And her take on life in general? “What makes me happy is to see other people happy, what keeps me humble is that I’m always thankful. I’m humbled by waking up in the morning and seeing the sky is normal, the trees blowing as usual. Once that is happening nothing can stop me, so let us appreciate life and be thankful for the little things.”