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Dear Sir!

We always like to hear from you. To make it easier to get in touch we’ve brought some of our popular letters to the editor feature online. Every month we’ll feature one of the letters that appears in Swimming Times magazine online to allow you to have your say and leave comments on issues that relate to you.

If you would like to submit a letter to appear online and in the magazine please email swimmingtimes@swimming.org or send your letter by post to Swimming Times, SportPark, 3 Oakwood Drive, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE11 3QF.

Long-running debate 

I think Jo Cooper’s October ‘Making Waves’ article was a realistic and well-balanced approach to tackling the long-running debate over the level of swimming teachers’ ability to perform all four strokes and other aquatic skills.

She also made some sensible comments regarding disabled teachers and whether some of us are actually physically able to teach and, most important of all, I believe, whether we are all able to ensure the safety of our pupils.

My belief is that in an ideal world, the perfect candidate would be a swimmer with excellent technique across all four strokes and skills who – and this is equally important – is an effective teacher and able to transfer those skills in a language understood by his or her pupils.

Sometimes a club or national grade swimmer can intimidate rather than motivate pupils...Too many times, I hear that it is only top-level swimmers that can make first grade teachers. I totally disagree. Sometimes a club or national grade swimmer can intimidate rather than motivate pupils and, on the flip-side, a good swimmer can empathise and encourage, as they can remember only too well being at the beginning of their own learning journey (mine is still continuing).

I believe that it’s a little like learning to drive a car. To begin with, each action is carefully thought out and then, when the driver becomes more proficient, his or her actions are made almost sub-consciously, which, I think, can be translated in this case as follows: Excellent swimmers are sometimes unable to think through how they perform an action, as it has become automatic to them over the years, whereas a swimmer who’s still striving to perfect can sometimes remember more clearly how it feels to go through the learning process.

...a swimmer who’s still striving to perfect can sometimes remember more clearly how it feels to go through the learning process.Over the last year, I have made it my personal goal to overcome my fear of open water (I completed the Salcombe Regatta long distance swim a month ago) and to be able to swim at least 25 metres of butterfly with good technique (thanks to my colleague, Ben, I have done that too, albeit with certain limitations due to a mild disability, which I have written about previously).

I think the bottom line from where I see it is that an enthusiastic, personable, patient, experienced and knowledgeable teacher is equally as capable of transferring effectively this information onto his or her pupils, who, in turn, can put into practice the various skills being taught.

Katie Walker

By email

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