Bronwen, 69, has worked as a part time swimming teacher at Mytime’s The Spa at Beckenham for the last three and a half years. Here she explains how she rediscovered her love of swimming, and balances her swimming teaching job alongside a city corporate role.
Bronwen says: “When I was young, I used to love to swim and would participate in as many galas as I could. However, regrettably that all stopped when real life got in the way. Work, family, commitments; there never seemed to be enough hours in the day to do something just for myself. But after a health scare a few years ago my friends encouraged me to get back to the pool. It was only then that I realised I hadn’t been in a pool and swum seriously for approximately 40 years. I couldn’t believe it had been so long.
“The first time I swam again it was absolutely wonderful. Being back in the water felt amazing. Everything I had been taught at the age of seven instantly came back to me, along with all those happy memories of swimming as a child. Since returning to the pool I have not looked back and have consistently swum around 7.5km a week. My fitness levels have improved greatly, and the sheer karma of just being in the water helps to clear my mind and keep me relaxed.
“Whilst I was swimming, I would watch the swimming teachers and noticed how involved and connected they were to their pupils. I wanted to build on my own swimming journey and felt that becoming a swimming teacher would allow me to give something back to the community where I live; I wanted to contribute and share my passion with others.”
Bronwen completed her SEQ Level 1 and Level 2 Swimming Teacher Qualifications with the Institute of Swimming and soon started working.
She explains: “I work a couple of evenings and a day at the weekend as a swimming teacher. My swimming teacher role is so different from working in a corporate environment as a credit risk manager, but I find my two jobs compliment and support each other. There is lots I have learnt from the corporate world that I bring to the pool and, likewise, there’s a lot I take from the pool back to the business. The juxtaposition of the two roles is not lost on me, as I want the best possible outcomes in both areas of my working life. Being a teacher and working in corporate world is to me one of the best work life balances you can get.
“Teaching swimming takes me to a very diverse and inclusive world. Every child is different. For me it’s not just about verbally giving out instructions, it’s about motivating and listening to feedback so you can make learning to swim an adventure. Anyone can learn to swim and I really enjoy helping all students, especially those who maybe nervous or have reservations. Building trust with students is a massive step and a very important one in order to reach the desired outcome. I try to be creative in my teaching methods, and frequently refer to Swim England’s guidelines to assist and support my teaching. It’s so important to listen to the pupils, understand how they might be feeling, and if need be adapt my teaching style accordingly. Learning to swim takes time and it is learnt as a constant progression. It’s therefore so important that trust is built and that effort is rewarded.
“Teaching swimming is the best thing I have ever done. I work with a great team otherwise known as the Saturday Crew, and I am fortunate to have a very supportive Swimming Manager. My world has really expanded due to my love of swimming and sharing my love of swimming. I have no intention of retiring anytime soon.”