From Self-Taught Swimmer to Inspirational Teacher: Andre’s journey to teach swimming

Andre, 19, has completed his Institute of Swimming Level 1 Swimming Assistant (Teaching) qualification and is about to start his Level 2 Teaching Swimming qualification. His training has been funded though Swim England’s collaboration with Disney and Ocean Bottle, as part of a programme to develop a more diverse aquatic workforce following the release of Disney’s remake of The Little Mermaid last year.

Andre, who is currently studying for a degree at King’s College London, will share how this funded opportunity has helped him to enter the world of aquatics.

Andre explains:

Swimming assistant andre“Training to become a swimming teacher is not something I would have envisaged for myself.  In terms of my swimming ability I’m pretty much self-taught and only completed the national curriculum swimming lessons with my school. I’m not someone that comes from competitive club swimming background; my mum only learnt to swim as an adult so she could take me to the pool when I was child.

“The opportunity to become a swimming teacher only came about because of this funded recruitment academy. I saw the actor Danai Gurira on Instagram talking about the importance of swimming and encouraging more people from a diverse background to learn to swim and to become swimming teachers – she was promoting this training with the Institute of Swimming and I saw it as an opportunity to work and inspire young people.  I took the plunge and applied.

“I know that without the funding I wouldn’t have taken the risk to try something new and outside of my comfort zone.  I’m very grateful to have been able to complete my Level One and to volunteer at my local leisure centre in South London. I am already looking forward to starting my Level Two.”


On completing his swimming teaching qualifications, Andre plans to work part time to help fund his studies and is also confident that he will continue with the teaching in a part time capacity once his degree is competed and his full time career launches.

Andre says:

“I really enjoyed the training. It is very comprehensive and, as someone who is not from a swimming background, I found the theory and practical both interesting and confidence building. The volunteering has cemented my learning and I’m looking forward to starting to teach properly.

andre waterfall

“One day when I was volunteering there was a little girl in the lesson crying that she didn’t want to get in the pool. I spoke to her and jumped in, showing her the fun to be had. It encouraged her to trust me and to join in the lesson. Teaching swimming is a job where you can really make a difference to a young person; you can build their confidence and their self-belief. I’m a good example that you don’t need to be a fantastic ‘classically trained’ swimmer to become a good swimming teacher.  Our keys skills are being able to encourage, motivate and communicate whilst keeping everyone safe.

“I love the human interaction that comes with teaching swimming. It’s such a wholesome job. It’s nice to work at a pool. It’s a safe and calm environment, and the bonus is that it’s better paid and more rewarding than other common student jobs.


“Additionally, it’s important to me, living in a very ethnically diverse area of London, that young people who look like me can see me as a role model.  My family is from Jamaica and it’s sad that so many people from the Caribbean, including my mum, don’t learn to swim. My mum is so proud of me and I’m proud of her for learning to swim as an adult and taking me to the pool to help me learn to swim as a child. On our yearly visit to Jamaica I always make sure to be the first to jump into the beautiful blue sea to show the locals that afro Caribbean people can and should swim!”

Find out more about how to become a swimming teacher, starting with the SEQ Level 1 Swimming Assistant qualification.