James Clegg, 29, is a British Paralympic swimmer. At London 2012, James won a bronze medal in the 100m butterfly event. James is registered blind, with around 10% vision.
James has recently gained his SEQ Level 1 Swimming Assistant Qualification. Here he shares with us his swimming teaching journey and his plans for the future.
James says: “Swimming has always been part of my life. As a child I enjoyed the feeling of being in water. It was a safe way for me to express myself and to access physical activity. As a got more competitive I loved the sensation of moving with speed through the water.
“Since my official retirement from competitive swimming, I have tried other careers including working in a kitchen and housekeeping, but I found them to be unfulfilling. One day, when I was at the pool, I was aware of how much fun the swimming teachers were having in their lessons. I want an enjoyable career where I am able to inspire and motivate others, and teaching swimming ticks all those boxes.”
He says: “I really enjoyed the blended course, and even as an experienced swimmer there was lots to learn. Being a swimming teacher is less about being a brilliant swimmer and more about being able to gain trust from your pupils, being a strong communicator and making lessons fun.
“My tutor was fantastic, and during the online sessions would adjust the training to make it more narrative based than visual learning for me. The training days in the pool were really positive, boosting my confidence with lots of hands on practical sessions. I would recommend this training to anyone and have already told other friends, including my brother, who also has a visual impairment. Having any kind of disability does not rule you out from teaching swimming.”
Since qualifying, James has been arranging job interviews with some swimming pools, he is also planning to come out of retirement to hopefully compete in Paris 2024 and is heading to Australia to travel too.
He says: “The Institute of Swimming qualifications are recognised around the world and so I’m hoping to pick up some work in Australia during my extended holiday there. I’m hopeful that teaching swimming can be a long term career for me. I can’t wait to get going.”