Top teaching tips for competitive swimmers

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Former Olympic swimmer Sarah Ruckwood (nee Price) has made the transition from elite level athlete to swim teacher and swim school owner.

Sarah represented Great Britain at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics and won double gold for England at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

During a glittering career – which also included a short course world record – the backstroker always had an eye on the future, completing her Swim England Level 1 Swimming Assistant qualification before ending her competitive career in 2005. Her Level 2 Swimming Teacher qualification followed before Sarah embarked on the next stage of her journey.

Build your swim teaching expertise

After working within Swim England and the Institute of Swimming across various roles, Sarah established a swim school with fellow ex-swimmer Sophie Grosvenor (nee Caul) in 2015. Today, Diamond Swim Academy has 1,500 members across three locations in Birmingham, and 20 members of staff.

Having swam with clubs including Potters Bar, Bath, Barnet Copthall and Loughborough University, Sarah gives her top tips to competitive swimmers embarking on a career in swim teaching…

  • “Make the most of the fantastic knowledge you have as a swimmer and the ability to understand how the body works in water.”
  • “Take your qualifications and get some work experience in different types of learn to swim programmes – from clubs to local authority to private swim schools to council-run locations before deciding where your teaching style best suits.”
  • “Ensure you try to get experience in all levels from Ducklings upwards. Some ex-swimmers have the technical knowledge but perhaps don’t know how to work with different ages and what happens to younger children when they are in the water, in terms of how they learn to control the body and blow bubbles.”
  • “Try and access those swim schools that offer further assistance to swimmers with special needs. This will show them how special water can be in achieving great things that potentially cannot be done on land.”
  • “Do all of the above and you will fall in love with being a swimming teacher and understand the difference you can make to people’s lives from teaching them to swim, building their confidence and giving them great skills in and out of the water.”

Interested in starting your career in aquatics? Join the Swimming Qualifications Facebook group or visit the Swim England Qualifications website.