Jason’s story: “I love seeing people develop a passion for the sport and seeing them enjoy swimming as much as I do”

Jason has achieved qualifications for multiple roles within the swimming and aquatics sector; he’s been a swimming teacher for over 14 years, a swim coach for 7 years and a Swim England tutor for 4 years. He currently works full-time as the Assistant Head Coach of KAL [Kirklees Active Leisure] Swim Performance working in partnership with Borough of Kirklees Swimming Club.

Jason certainly has a lot of experience under his belt when it comes to teaching swimming and training others, and it all started from completing his Level 1 Swimming Assistant (Teacher) qualification whilst he was at university…

“After completing my undergraduate degree in Physiotherapy, I wanted to follow this passion and applied to be a self-employed swimming instructor with KAL. I’ve always wanted to do something hands-on and practical rather than an office desk job and with my swimming background and experience gained from assisting great swimming teachers it was a no brainer.”

When Jason was younger he was scared of the water, but he had a patient and supportive teacher who made him fall in love with swimming and at age six he entered his first swimming competition and fell in love with racing.

“I eventually stopped swimming competitively when I realised, I was spending more time on deck teaching and coaching rather than being in the water!”

Love for teaching and coaching

Jason would highly recommend the career to others,

“Swim teaching is extremely rewarding, fun and challenging. The challenge as a swim teacher is to keep them motivated and engaged. But the sense of achievement at the other end when there is a breakthrough outweighs all the tough work you put in.”

He also enjoys seeing his learner’s confidence grow and he aims to create a positive environment and transfer his passion for the sport to his swimmers.

“Seeing swimmers do something beyond what they thought was achievable. Whether it’s a child or an adult swimmer, and watching their confidence grow gives me a great sense of pride and excitement. I also love seeing people develop a passion for the sport and seeing them enjoy swimming as much as I do.”

Lockdown life

Unfortunately, due to pools being closed on and off throughout the pandemic Jason was not able to teach,

“To see all swimming pools shut when all I’ve done for the last 14 years was stare at a hole with water and embrace the smell of chlorine, it was very surreal!”

However, he was seconded by Kirkless Council to work at the local children’s care home as a residential support worker, where he found that he had transferable skills from swim teaching and working with children.

Ongoing training and skill development

Throughout the lockdowns, Jason completed various CPDs courses to increase his knowledge about different aspects of teaching and mentoring staff in an aquatics environment. He also attended the Swim England Foundation Coaches Conference,

“I attended the Swim England Foundation Coaches Conference, which was great as it reinforced a lot of my existing knowledge and this helps me in my role with ensuring the correct skills are taught at all levels creating a smooth transition between the Learn to Swim Framework, Aquatic Skills Framework and the Club Pathway.”

Looking to the future…

Jason is playing an active role in reducing the teacher shortage in the sector,

“Due to the shortage of teachers, my priority in the next 12 months will be the upskilling and mentoring of existing swimming teachers, acting as a mentor to develop newly qualified teachers, and seeking future budding swimming teachers to join our team. This includes…regular observations, 1-2-1 mentoring with all our swimming teachers and ensure they feel confident and supported when they step on to poolside to deliver their high-quality lessons.”

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