New Milton swim teacher urges more to take the plunge to support communities

After nearly drowning as a young child, Claire Treliving from New Milton went on to defy the odds by competing for Great Britain as a kayaker and even becoming a swim teacher.

Claire developed a fear of water that continued even throughout her career competing for Great Britain as a flat-water kayaker – but after having children, she was determined they would be able to swim and enjoy the water.

She then followed suit herself, upgrading from competing in duathlons to triathlons by taking swimming lessons, and is now giving back to her local community by supporting others to learn.

She’s also backing calls for more people to consider swim teaching as an alternative or additional career after Swim England research revealed that an instructor shortage may deprive an estimated 667,000 children across the UK of lessons.

Claire explained: “I decided having worked in childcare all my adult life, I would retrain and become a swimming teacher. I had a difficult experience where I nearly drowned playing with my brother who was a much more able swimmer than me, which helps you realise how important it is to be confident and competent.

“With my own previous fear of water, I now really enjoy gaining the trust of those who might be nervous, to enable them to learn to enjoy water and giving them the same opportunity I had.

“From nine weeks old, I had both my children in lessons. It’s so vital that people learn to swim and become confident, and I am proud of the role I can play in making a community difference. There is a freedom that water can give you.

“Helping those who are realty scared, or feel unable to do something, leaves a big impression on me. When you see the look on a face when someone realises they can do it, it is so rewarding. I’d urge anyone to give it a go, visit your local leisure centre, because it’s so important that there are those who want to help, give back and make a difference. It’s amazing as a teacher too, you get a lot back that makes your job so enjoyable.”

Expecting a further influx of people wanting to learn to swim ahead of the Olympics and Paralympics, Claire is leading calls for more people to consider the benefits of switching career paths and taking on a more fulfilling profession as swim teachers report higher levels of satisfaction, flexibility and fulfilment.

Swim England business engagement director, Rebecca Cox, added: “Amazing teachers like Claire deserve to be recognised for the incredible work they do – this is an invaluable contribution to their local community which makes a real difference.

“We all know that swimming is an essential life skill – but for so many across the nation it is the gateway to creating amazing memories with your family, becoming healthier and happier, and achieving full confidence in the water.

“Our research has also show this is a really fulfilling career option, with those who teach reporting a higher level of happiness compared to other careers. If you love making a positive difference in your community, this could be the perfect opportunity for you.”

If you’re interested in a more fulfilling career or to retrain like Claire, click here to start your journey today.