Water holds Leila Nazimi in its thrall. Whether she’s swimming, patrolling as a surf lifesaver or conducting white shark research for her honours project, Ms Nazimi is more than likely to be found in or near the ocean.
Growing up in Britain to a family of Iranian descent, she developed a passion for swimming as a pastime and, following the completion of her undergraduate biology degree, embarked on a plan to combine her love of the water with the opportunity for further study. The lure of warmer waters brought her to the other side of the globe – and kept her here.
Turning her affinity for diving into a vocation, Ms Nazimi enrolled in an honours degree in marine science, and is involved in compiling a photographic database of white sharks off the Neptune Islands Marine Park near Port Lincoln in South Australia.
Photographic images of white sharks sourced from the Fox Shark Research Foundation are being used by Flinders researchers to identify individual sharks and determine the frequency and seasonality of their sightings (and resightings) in the area, with the aim of gaining a better insight into the species’ behaviour and population dynamics at this aggregation site.
When not in the pool or studying sharks, she volunteers as a surf lifesaver, and has won a range of events at inter-club pool, ocean and surf lifesaving competitions.
Anticipating further study, Ms Nazimi has decided Adelaide will be her new home.
“Throughout my travels there was something that kept bringing me back to Adelaide,” she says. “In addition to the natural beauty, the welcoming people I have met through swimming, surf lifesaving, uni and diving are the key elements that have made me feel at home here.”