How Swim England qualifications have helped Chris Cook

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In the second part of his blog, Olympian turned swimming teacher Chris Cook explains why Swim England qualifications are “at the forefront of the industry”

For me, Swim England are there to be the kitemark and signpost to ensure that the foundation of my qualifications are at the forefront of the industry. That’s what I believe – that Swim England are the leaders in this industry.

I’m loving being part of that team and workforce. I love the advice you get and the experience available and I feel like it is okay not to know something. If I identify gaps in my knowledge I know that Swim England can help me with those and provide the support I need.

It’s all about that quality assurance and knowing that when I’m delivering lessons – especially now I’m training other teachers – it’s not just about my own experience. It’s also part of a national standard that I 100 per cent believe in.

Trusting the process

It’s a fantastic framework that delivers results year after year. In our business we say ‘trust the process’ and it’s Swim England’s process that we’re trusting and are committed to. Any practitioner in any industry loves having the backing of their national governing body.

There were all sorts of gaps in my knowledge when I first started but now I’m sharing a different passion that I didn’t know I had – seeing teachers coming through and spreading that knowledge further. As a tutor, hopefully you enthuse people to go out and use their experience to help others.

I’ve seen some great people come through these courses, and that’s the key – providing great people with the qualifications and foundations to change their lives and other people’s lives too. That support also extended to when I trained as a Licensed Educator, which enables me to tutor teachers.

My magnificent mentor

When you’re undertaking that training you have an Advanced Practitioner assigned to you. They are an experienced tutor who you can turn to with questions or advice. You also get the chance to shadow them and watch them in action, and they provide feedback on your delivery as well.

My mentor was called Stuart Grace and he was, and is, absolutely brilliant. He was a great mentor and provided massive support to me. I drew on his experience with phone calls, emails, Skype calls and face-to-face catch-ups. Nothing was an issue for him and he was so relaxed about the whole experience.

He allowed you to do your own thing and was very good at helping review whether it was effective or not. It was genius how he managed that.

Swim England Educator Training (previously Workforce Support Services) are also absolutely outstanding to work with and provide yet another layer of support to draw upon if you’re aiming to become a swim teacher or tutor.

  • Chris Cook won Commonwealth gold in the 50m and 100m breaststroke at the 2006 Melbourne Games and represented Great Britain at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games. He now runs Swim Buddies and is a qualified and Licensed Educator delivering Swim England Qualifications.
  • Follow Chris’ lead – join the Swimming Qualifications Facebook group at and visit the Swim England Qualifications website at to start your career in aquatics.