Swim England Members

Coach Membership from £59 a year including enhanced insurance and professional membership status.

How aquatics can help develop transferable skills for life outside of sport

Aquatic sport comes in many forms and disciplines – whether it be as a beginner, participating for fun or competing at a high level.

Sometimes aquatic sport can be seen as more of an individual activity, but there is always a team and community element, no matter which discipline.

Whether you’re part of a club, or just love being in the water, aquatic activity can help to build and develop a number of transferable skills and characteristics which help with life outside of sport.

Being involved in any aquatic discipline can help to build confidence, improve communication skills, punctuality and more.

Being part of clubs, teams or competitions specifically can help to foster a sense of belonging and teamwork, instilling discipline, leadership and perseverance.

Janet Hutchings, assistant head coach at Poole Swimming Club, completed a PhD which looked at the social element of aquatics, and masters swimming in particular.

In an interview with Swim England, Janet explained that although her work focused on the masters community, she also sees very similar trends with the age group swimmers she coaches on a weekly basis.

Confidence in myself

Being a lifelong swimmer, a swimming teacher and a coach at Poole for more than 12 years, Janet revealed how aquatics has impacted her life and helped her to build some of those transferable skills.

She said: “Swimming has been a huge part of my life and something I love doing.

“I used to be quite a shy individual, but I think communication in sport and especially at this level, it’s absolutely vital.

“My communication skills have improved and I think just my confidence in myself. I think that’s because I love what I do.

“So, for me as an individual, swimming has given me so much, not just for the youngsters I’m working with. It’s given me a lot personally.

“Now, as a coach, I try and feedback what I’ve learned to the younger coaches coming up and coming through.

“But again, that’s those communication skills that you’re instilling, not just in the athletes and the swimmers, but in the people around you as a team as well.

Sets you up for life

“I would say swimming, maybe sport in general, sets individuals up for that life after they leave the club.

“I’m in a club environment, but I think that sets them up really well when they go into the workplace or into college, university, whatever.

“There are so many benefits of swimming, and that’s both for adults and youngsters.

“The club that I’m at, we work as a team. We try and develop that team ethic from quite a young age and I think that helps.

“Swimming is a life skill and there are so many things you can go in to.

“They may not go into competitive sport, but they can go into beach life saving or rookies, artistic swimming, diving, paddle boarding, whatever – there’s so many things – even rowing.

“To me, you can build that all-round personality. I tend to spend quite a lot of time just getting to know the athletes as individuals because I find they’re all very different.”