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A nation swimming

Claudia Clements says coaching has rekindled her love for swimming

Guildford City coach Claudia Clements says she’s fallen back in love for the sport after getting into coaching.

Clements had a successful junior swimming career as a youngster, travelling the world at various competitions but didn’t continue at senior level.

She returned to the sport as a coach and now coaches at her home club in Guildford City and is happy that she’s returned to the swimming family.

On how she got into coaching she said: “I actually swam internationally as a junior, I had my own swimming career.

“I then disappeared from swimming and sometimes when you disappear from that swimming bubble you realise how much of a network it really is and how many friends you have.

“That made me get back into coaching and I just fell in love with swimming all over again but in a different way.”

‘It gives you that same buzz’

Claudia says she gets the same feeling from watching her swimmers compete than she does when she was competing.

“It’s brilliant to be able to see these swimmers progress and swim well, it gives you that same buzz as when I was a swimmer getting my achievements. It’s that same feeling, you just get really excited.

She believes that the most important thing that coaching allows you to do is not just helping to make her students better swimmers but moulding them into being good people as well.

“The thing with swimming is that it makes you become a more well-rounded person because it isn’t always just about the swimming.

“I think people look highly upon swimmers because they know that dedication they have to put in, getting up early in the mornings, finishing late at night and having to do that around school work.

“Swimming improves so many skills and you’re able to go and travel too.

“I travelled all around the world when I was swimming so to be able to see other swimmers have that and make those memories is amazing and they take that forward in life no matter what they end up doing.

“They don’t have to stay in swimming it can be any work that they go into.

“It helps make a really good all-around person which is important.”

‘It’s really rewarding’

Claudia was speaking to us as she prepared to watch one of her former swimmers Reece Dunn compete for Team England at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

She coached him when she was at Plymouth and the S14 swimmer has gone on to win five medals at the Tokyo 2022 Paralympic Games with three of them being gold.

Claudia revealed that coming to events like this give her the enthusiasm to pass on to her students.

“You get that buzz whenever you come to an event like this and to get this feeling of the atmosphere at the Commonwealth Games right before going to summer nationals it gave me that enthusiasm to take with me to help them thrive off that.

“It’s really rewarding to be a coach and being able to go to the Commonwealth Games and see one of my former swimmers and knowing he’s a Paralympian and a multiple medallist, it’s amazing to be able to see that.”

“He was one of my swimmers when I was at Plymouth before he was classified and he won national medals.

“After I left Plymouth he was able to get classified and seeing him being Team GB’s most successful Paralympic athlete in Tokyo was incredible to see.”

Claudia didn’t plan on going into coaching but now she has she encourages everyone to give it a go.

“Definitely get into coaching, it’s great to be able to see swimmers develop not just in their swimming but as a person.

“There’s always going to be highs and lows in coaching and I think every coach can say that.

“I know that when I stopped swimming I said I’d never going to do it but now that I am I’ve fallen in love with it and the sport all over again.”