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How to become an open water coach

Would you like to become an open water coach but not sure what to do next?

Depending on your qualifications and experience, there are different steps into becoming an open water coach.

Use the following steps if you have no qualifications, a Level 1 qualification or a Level 2 qualification.

No qualifications

  1. If you are unqualified as a swimming coach or instructor, your first step is to take a Swim England Swimming Assistant (Coaching) Certificate course.
  2. If you don’t have any open water experience, try swimming yourself or shadowing a current coach. You could volunteer at an open water venue or an event.
  3. Get as much experience as you can!

Assistant Coach Qualification

  1. If you are already an assistant swimming coach, your next step is to qualify as a swimming coach.
  2. Ask your local club development officer where your nearest open water club is and try shadowing an existing open water coach.
  3. It is a good idea to make sure you have open water experience already at this stage. Develop your own skills in the water before taking on further qualifications.

Swimming Coach Qualification

  1. If you are already a Level 2 swimming coach, you can complete your Level 2 Award in British Open Water Swimming.
  2. If your club isn’t yet taking swimmers to open water, search for local venues and find one which best fits your needs.
  3. Look at the facilities on offer at each venue and discuss introducing open water with your club committee.

Seasonal training for open water coach courses

While you might be eager to get started immediately, open water coaching qualifications are seasonally delivered.

They are only available in late spring and summer, so you need to make sure you plan in advance.

If you are waiting for your course to begin, talk to open water providers or coaches and read about open water swimming before you start your course.

Think about all the differences between the pool and a lake or the sea and how you as a coach will manage the environment.

The open water qualifications do not teach you to be a ‘coach’. They teach you how to use the skills you already have and adapt them to a completely different setting.

The Institute of Swimming offers open water courses and you can find information about those here. For any questions related to the courses, please email [email protected].