Paralympic champion Ollie Hynd completes Swim England qualification

Three-time Paralympic champion Ollie Hynd is eyeing more success in the pool – but he’s already planning for the future.

The 24-year-old, who competed at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympics, is targeting this year’s World Para-swimming Championships and the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

But he has also found the time to take his Level 1 Swimming Assistant (Teaching) qualification.

Here, Ollie explains why the Swim England qualification ticked all the boxes.

Why swim teaching/assisting?

The course was good fun and was something I’d wanted to do for a while. I’ve been looking to get that under my belt. A similar course was put on for athletes over the summer but I was away, so that inspired me to do the course myself. There was one in Nottingham over four or five weeks, so I booked on and had a great time.

How was the course?

When I first learnt to swim I was really young so obviously can’t remember the process and the things that you need to teach the kids when they first get in the water. From that point of view, it was really interesting and I definitely learnt a lot. More than anything, it was nice to get in the water and get some experience teaching and seeing the kids having a great time. That was fantastic! We were lucky enough to work with lots of different abilities, from the pre-school children and stage ones just getting into the water for the first time and learning the basics through to those who have been swimming for a while and are starting to master the strokes.

Did your competitive swimming experience help?

Ollie Hynd competing at the World Para-swimming Allianz European Championships in 2018

It’s such a different skill for me. I probably thought it would be a bit easier for me, with my competitive background. I found that it helped a little bit but there’s still a lot to learn!

What’s next? The Level 2 qualification?

My plan is to go out and get some experience assisting. A new swim school has just opened up where I live so, hopefully, I can gain some regular experience there assisting the kids, and then look to do my Level 2 early this year and become a fully qualified swimming teacher. I just really enjoyed it and wanted to do something a bit different.

What are your recollections of learning to swim?

I’ve got great memories – some of my swimming teachers are still teaching now and I occasionally see them at the local leisure centres. Having a positive experience from being in the water at such a young age definitely helps further down the line – you’re not fearing the water and have that enjoyment of swimming. More than anything, swimming should be fun when they’re first starting out. The children should enjoy being in the water and they will naturally pick up the key life-saving skills along the way. 

Back to competition soon?

2018 was a challenging year for me, and one of the reasons I wanted to do a course was to have another focus and re-ignite my love of swimming. I can focus on assisting for the next few months before turning my attentions to training for the World Championships. Beyond that, it’s the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020 – that’s the long game and when I need to be in the best condition possible.