New open water qualification ‘can help inspire next generation’June 7, 2019 Latest News
Olympic medallist Cassie Patten believes that Swim England’s new Level 2 Coaching Open Water Swimming qualification can help inspire the next generation of swimmers.
Launched earlier this week, the qualification replaces the Level 2 Award in British Open Water Swimming and has been developed to provide coaches with the specialist knowledge to deliver open water sessions.
Containing a host of coaching tips, hints and techniques, it also covers the equipment available for open water swimmers and how to plan coaching sessions.
Cassie is ideally placed to comment on the new qualification, having won a bronze medal in the 10km open water event at the 2008 Olympics and moving into coaching upon retiring from competitive action.
She said: “Open water has progressed so much in the last ten years – there are so many more people doing it now and it is right to keep refreshing the qualifications as the sport grows and evolves.
“It’s vital for coaches to have that fundamental base of knowledge. Holding this qualification – even if they haven’t got a background in open water swimming – will ensure they have that understanding to pass on and help inspire the next generation.
“Personally, it’s a passion to see people get so much enjoyment out of a sport which I love and being able to help them improve. I really love coaching!”
Specialist coaching requirements
Having also won silver medals at two world championships, Cassie appreciates the nuances of the sport – and need for high-quality specialist coaches.
She added: “Open water is so different to the pool and has become a real specialism. There are so many tactics and different elements involved in open water.
“The main difference is that you don’t share your lane with anyone in the pool while in open water you have four, five or even six people around you within a three-metre radius.
“So it’s really important, as a coach, to be able to teach people how to deal with that and be confident in those situations.
“Also, one of the misconceptions with open water is that people think they only have one stroke when actually I have an open water stroke and a pool stroke. You have to adapt the way you swim to the conditions that you’re swimming in.”
Open water ‘booming’
Inspirational coaches can also help grow open water swimming further, building on the successes of athletes like Cassie with support and advice.
She concluded: “It was 11 years ago that I won my Olympic medal and even now I have people coming up to me and saying ‘I watched you in Beijing and you’re the reason I started doing open water’. That is fantastic and so satisfying.
“Since then the mass market for open water has boomed and that’s been incredible for getting more people involved in swimming and enjoying the water. I’m delighted to have played a part in that as a swimmer and coach.”
- Find out more about the new Swim England Level 2 Coaching Open Water Swimming qualification at bit.ly/OWinformation