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A nation swimming

How volunteer Esther, 14, is building her coaching foundations early

Swim England News

At the age of 14, Esther Tucker’s coaching journey has already begun.

The Huddersfield teenager has completed a year of volunteering at Kirklees Active Leisure’s Aqua Fun Sessions, held at Holmfirth Leisure Centre, helping young synchronised swimmers aged 8-13.

KAL provides sports and leisure facilities for communities in West Yorkshire and Esther embodies that spirit perfectly.

She initially started volunteering as part of her Duke of Edinburgh Award, but enjoyed it so much she decided to carry on to help the coaching team.

The Aqua Fun Sessions act as a pathway into the main Borough of Kirklees (BOK) Synchronised Swimming Club, where Esther has been a member since the age of seven.

Esther said: “Originally, I was just going to do it for the three months needed to count towards my Bronze Award.

“But I really enjoyed helping to teach the swimmers the basic figures that you first have to learn in synchro and putting them together in a routine.

“I also liked showing them some of the different exercises that can help build up their core strength, which is really needed for synchronised swimming.”

In sync with swimmers

Jade Wyke, head coach at BOK, believes Esther’s rapport with the swimmers has had a telling impact on the young squad.

“Esther is a great help at the weekly sessions and is very popular with the young swimmers,” she said.

“They appreciate that she is always willing to get in the water with them and demonstrate how to complete each set of figures correctly, as well as joining in with their routines.

“The fact that Esther is nearer their age, and a synchronised swimmer herself, has meant the girls have really warmed to her and respond well to her.”

The KAL volunteering programme is managed by Lead Activator, Michael Wilkins, who introduced the initiative to help bring younger swimmers into the sport.

“It is always a good idea to bring in some fresh ideas and help with the pathway through to the clubs,” he said.

“The role of the KAL volunteer is to have input into this by assisting with the delivery of the lessons and providing the support required.

“This can be hugely rewarding for the volunteer as it provides an opportunity for them to learn new skills such as communication, leadership and teaching skills, as well as building confidence.

“For some, though, the reward is simply the joy and satisfaction gained from helping others and giving something back to their sport.”

If you would like to get involved in volunteering, you can view the latest opportunities on the Swim England volunteer hub.