Here she will explain why swimming has given her independence and freedom, and how she hopes to make swimming her future.
Tylia, who is diagnosed with Autism and ADHD, swims for Stockport Metro, currently ranking 10th in the country in the para-swimming classification S14 for the 200-metre freestyle and 100-metre butterfly.
“Swimming is my life; it means everything to me. I have been swimming since I was a baby and I swim every day. I have grown up swimming, and now that I am 17 I can see that swimming gives me both structure and freedom. I love the independence of going to the pool by myself. There are not many activities that give me that amount of autonomy. I feel safe at the pool; it really is my second home.
“My dream is to compete at the Para Olympics, but beyond that I want to have my own swimming club and coach swimmers all the way to the top.”
Tylia completed a blended (online and face to face) SEQ Level 1 qualification and plans to use the same format for her Level 2.
“I really enjoyed the course. There was a lot to remember, but the structure of the course and the additional support of the tutor, who would look over my work, really helped with my confidence. I’m looking forward to getting my SEQ Level 2 in 2024 so I can lead my own lessons. I also plan to complete some of the Institute of Swimming’s CPDs.”
Since gaining her Level 1 Swimming Assistant qualification, Tylia has been working at Bambers Inclusive Swim School as part of the Manchester Disabled Recruitment Academy.
“I work three days a week now, alongside my two days at college where I am studying for my A Level Art and GCSEs in English and Maths. I absolutely love teaching swimming and supporting the teacher with their lessons. The children I work with have a range of both physical and mental disabilities, and supporting them in learning how to swim really makes me happy. I look forward to every single class and I love watching their progress. It feels like I am giving back to swimming, as working with the children feels like I’m looking back at my younger self.
“Teaching children with a disability really keeps me on my toes, as so many of the lessons have to be adapted and I always think about what I can get them to do, what will work for them today. Some of the children I work with are non-verbal and so I think of ways to communicate with them. Children with special needs like autism can present very differently on any day, so you do need to understand what might be helpful and encouraging in any circumstance.
“As someone with my own challenges, I am passionate that children with disabilities should learn to swim, and I can talk to the pupils’ parents about the importance of swimming and what a benefit it has been to me. I’m a success story for swimming. I can already see that swimming brings my pupils the freedom that I found, plus it provides a safe, social space, and if they get into club swimming, it does become your way of life.
“My swimming teacher qualifications are the start of my swimming career. I’m so excited for my future and the difference I can make.”
Find out more about the Manchester Disabled Swimming Teacher Academy.
Find out how to become a swimming teacher.