James funded his Masters degree by teaching swimming

Masters student, James, 24, uses his job as a swimming teacher to pay off his student loan and to fund his current tuition fees.

James grew up in a family of swimmers, one of his grandparents was a swimming teacher and his uncle even competed in the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980, in the 100-meter Freestyle.  James himself learnt to swim and went on to join a swimming club and to compete for the University of Durham.

He explains: “Swimming has always been a part of my world, my family and my social life.  I really enjoyed competing for the University of Durham when I was studying for my degree in Earth Sciences. I was even the Men’s Captain in my third year.

James Swimming teacher

“After graduating, I decided I wanted to further my education and enrolled in a part-time Masters degree in Geographic Information Science. The Masters will take three years to complete and will be awarded by the University of Leeds. It’s a virtual course, meaning I can study from home. However, in order to complete this I needed a sustainable and flexible income to fund both my tuition fees and my lifestyle.  I naturally thought of becoming a swimming teacher and completed a Combined SEQ Level 1 Swimming Assistant (Teaching) and Level 2 Teaching Swimming qualification in February 2021 with Institute of Swimming.


“On qualifying, I found work opportunities readily available. I earned my first part time job very quickly and was headhunted for my second job via LinkedIn soon after.  I work on Saturday and Sunday all day and in the afternoons/evenings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I work around 30 hours a week, and this still leaves me time to study.  The work is well-paid and the hours are perfectly balanced for my dual study/work life.  My swimming teaching job is paying for my qualification and I’m even able to start paying off some of my student loan too.”


James teaches everyone from four-year-olds up to 70-year-olds. He does a mixture of group lessons, private 1:2:1 sessions and adult swimming lessons too.

He says:

“I want to share and pass on my love of swimming. I was inspired by my swimming teacher, Lavern Ritch, who sadly died in 2007. Lavern was a real mentor for me and I want to honour his memory in my teaching.


“I’m loving being a swimming teacher so much that, after my Masters, rather than pursuing work based upon my degree and masters that I’m considering making swimming my long-term career. “


Discover more information on how to become a swimming teacher.