Swim teaching – a fantastic option for competitive swimmers

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How can competitive swimmers 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 swimmers – including a former Olympian – about how they became qualified swim teachers and assistants…

The Olympian

Chris Cook

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!’”

Still competing

Callie-Ann Warrington

Clubs: Maidstone SC, Kent Masters’ team

Experience: Still competing – national level in 50m Freestyle and 50m Butterfly.

Roles: Volunteer at Maidstone SC coaching and teaching. Also teach for two swim schools and a leisure centre

“I first went swimming when 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.”

National standard

Stephen Stanley

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!”

County level

Stacey Millett

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. It’s a career that is enjoyable, rewarding and fun!”

Open meets & galas

Charlotte Simms

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 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’re missing!”