How can competitive club swimmers and retired athletes remain in the sport they love and use their experience to help others?
Training to become a swim teacher is an obvious, and logical, option.
In total, around 10,000 Swim England Level 1 Swimming Assistant and Level 2 Teaching Swimming qualifications are issued each year.
Amongst the recipients are thousands of competitive club swimmers, keen to pass on their expertise and allow youngsters to gain a similar enjoyment from the pool.Swim England Qualifications spoke to club swimmers – past and present – about their journeys to becoming qualified swim teachers and assistants...
Club: City of Newcastle SC
Experience: Won Commonwealth gold in the 50m and 100m breaststroke in 2006 and represented GB at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.
Roles: Owner of Swim Buddies swim school and a Swim England Licensed Educator“I left the sport a little confused, and it wasn’t until I was doing a primary school visit and a little boy asked me what I wanted to do next that I realised. I told him that I’d love to teach swimming and he asked ‘why aren’t you doing that now?’ I thought ‘that’s a really good question’”
Club: Stafford Apex
Experience: Started competing at regional level, before reaching national finals and winning relay medals at national level.
Roles: Swim teacher/coach at Stafford Leisure Centre, coach at Stafford Apex and on the Stafford Leisure Centre Swim School Programme.
“I knew that I had a lot of knowledge to pass onto the next generation, the pay was very generous, it was a simple pathway, and I was able to stay at my home venue. Also, being able to stay in the water for as long as possible was too hard to turn down!”
Clubs: Maidstone Swimming Club, Kent Masters’ team
Experience: Still competing - national level in 50m freestyle and 50m butterfly.
Roles: Volunteer for Maidstone SC coaching and teaching. Also, teach for two swim schools and a leisure centre
“I’ve been involved in swimming since I was 16 weeks old! I have always wanted to give back and teach the next generation using my skills, technique and swimming knowledge from my experience. I don’t think I will ever retire from the sport.”
Clubs: Taunton Deane/Wellington
Experience: County-level competition
Roles: Swimming teacher and former coach
“Swimming Teaching is rewarding, you can see children grow in confidence and happiness as they learn new skills in the water. Teaching and coaching is needed all across the country and there are lots of opportunities to make a difference and to progress your own skills. Overall it is a career that is enjoyable, rewarding and fun!”
Club: Four Shires Swimming Club
Experience: Competed at open meets and galas
Roles: Swimming teacher for one-to-ones, group lessons, school lessons, and head coach for the junior team“I’ve always loved swimming and wanted to pass on my knowledge and experience - I wanted to help get swimmers as far as they could go. I would advise club swimmers to ‘give it a go!’ You don't know what you are missing!”
Interested in starting your career in aquatics? Join the Swimming Qualifications Facebook group at bit.ly/SwimmingQuals and visit the Swim England Qualifications website at www.swimenglandqualifications.com