Elliott started as a swimming teacher and now has a full time career in aquatics

Elliott, has been a swimming teacher for 12 years, swimming coach for 5 years, and now owns Heathfield Swim School and Swim Stars South East. Elliott explains how he went from being scared of the water to building a full-time career in teaching and coaching swimming.

Elliott used to have a fear of swimming at a young age, however, throughout his childhood his confidence in the water grew. He participated in swimming lessons and completed all stages before eventually joining Beacon Swimming club. Elliott also participated in water polo and lifesaving and still swims competitively and competes in lifesaving to this day.

Lifeguarding to Teaching Swimming

Elliot Coach imageElliott started working as a lifeguard at his local leisure centre before completing his Swim England Level 1 and Level 2 Swimming Teaching qualifications at the age of 16.

He explains how his career progressed,

“I always had an interest in teaching swimming and working with children/adults who were nervous of the water, I became a swimming teacher so that I could link the two things that I enjoyed the most together, teaching and swimming! “

After Elliott qualified as a lifeguard and swimming teacher, he studied at the University of Brighton where he was able to continue working part time as an Operations Manager, Swimming Teacher and Lifeguard.

“I was trying to pay off as much of my student loan as possible whilst at University. The hours were very convenient and worked perfectly with student life, I went to university in the day, taught swimming after lectures and still had time to study after that. I also worked internationally in various places such as Vancouver and Whistler in Canada and Los Angeles in America, teaching different age groups and foreign students how to become water confident and enjoy aquatic activities”.

“As I progressed with my career, I decided to follow the coaching pathway. I completed the Swim England Assistant Swimming Coach course followed by the Swim England swimming coach course.

“I have had a variety of jobs working as a lifeguard, in marketing, insurance and in a security company. However, in every job I had, I kept drifting back into the leisure side of things and would always return to teach swimming. It was obviously meant to be!”

Elliott works from both indoor and outdoor pools and flexes his hours depending on the season. He explains that as a swimming teacher you can get a good work-life balance.

“You can pick and choose what hours you work, there are always hours available and there is a lot of flexibility with the amount you can work. There is always a demand for swimming teachers”

Elliott explains that teaching swimming is so rewarding,

“When the swimmer has a breakthrough moment, such as when a child scared of swimming in the deep end finally manages to jump in, they are so proud of themselves, it’s so rewarding”

Elliott also teaches children with special needs and says,

“When they have that moment of it all clicking and working together, it is the best feeling ever, as you can see how happy and proud they are.”

He further explains

“I taught an adult who had dementia and was terrified of swimming. I managed to build his confidence and get him swimming. He later sent me a postcard from his holiday to thank me as he was able to swim with his family again and he was so proud of himself. It’s the moments like these that I hold onto and makes teaching swimming so rewarding”

Elliott has also completed many of the Institute of Swimming’s CPD including learn to swim CPDs, as well as many of the CPDs for supporting swimmers with additional needs. He keeps updated with qualifications, as the knowledge around swimming strokes change and the delivery of lessons is continually evolving.

He says

“I am a firm believer that you can never stop learning”

Looking to the future

Elliott would love to develop his career further and become a Swim England Senior Swimming Coach to further develop his knowledge and has recently joined the Swim England educator training programme. When not teaching Elliott likes to swim not only in pools but in the natural elements, finding the fresh open water and atmosphere a fantastic experience.

Elliott explained he has been most inspired by his brother who has coached children from learning to swim all the way up to world competitions and national level swimming,

“He really knows how to get the best out of those he teaches.”

Elliott recommends teaching swimming to others,

“It’s an enjoyable and fulfilling career. You can make it your own and teach a life skill that you can take all the way from a young age to later in life. I believe that it can create memorable moments for them and for me, that’s the bit I cherish… it’s a very satisfying career. Definitely do it and give it a go if you have that passion for the sport and you love being in and around water and you love both swimming and teaching then go for it. One of the best decisions I’ve made in my life”

“There is definitely a pathway for everyone in teaching swimming it’s just finding the pathway that works for you”

Inspired to teach? Find out how to become a swimming teacher or coach.