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Becoming a swimming coach in the UK

Careers Advice

Becoming a swimming coach is popular across the UK. Nothing quite beats the thrill of a competitive race, and so swimmers often decide to become coaches after calling time on their competitive careers.

But it’s not just a former swimmer that ends up becoming a swimming coach; there are plenty of British coaches with no previous experience of competitive swimming.

What they all do have, however, is an unrelenting drive, competitiveness and will to be the best they can be.

First steps

Here are a couple of ways you can find out a little more about becoming a swimming coach before diving in too deep.

  1. Use the Swim England Poolfinder to find your local club and give them a call.
  2. Ask one of the club coaches how they got into the sport and for advice on taking your qualifications.

Qualifications & Training

Becoming a swimming coach is similar to swimming teaching in terms of qualifications. There are three levels of Swim England qualification to progress through. Full details of these qualifications can be found below but here is a summary.

  1. The first level of qualification focuses on how and what to coach. Once completed, coaches are qualified to actively support a more senior qualified or licensed coach at any level, in the delivery of a pre-prepared session. You must be 16+ years of age when the course finishes to take it.
  2. To coach on your own, you will be required to hold a Swim England Level 2 Certificate.  This qualification will provide you with the skills and knowledge to effectively plan, prepare, deliver, monitor and evaluate coaching sessions. You must be 17 + years of age before the course begins.
  3. The Swim England Level 3 Certificate is the route to becoming a senior coach.  It will enable you to plan, implement, analyse and revise annual coaching programmes to get the most out of your athletes. You must be 18 + years of age before the course begins.

Here are some places you can search for coach training courses:

  • Swim England Qualifications Swim England Awarding Body is an awarding organisation. On their website they have a list of all training providers, or Approved Centres as they call them, offering Swim England qualifications for coaching aquatics sports.
  • The Institute of Swimming – the training arm of the Swim England


Typically, initial qualifications for becoming a swimming coach cost around £390.


For a full breakdown of average hourly rates for coaches and teachers check out our Salary Checker here.

What’s my next step?

Luckily for you, swimming coach is the most popular role advertised on Careers in Aquatics. Head to our Job Search now to see who is hiring at the moment.

The majority of clubs look to employ at least Level 2 qualified coaches as this is the minimum coaching requirement to be able to coach on your own although some will take on Level 1 qualified coaches who are training towards their next stage.