Swim England

A nation swimming

Helping people learn to swim a ‘real rewarding emotion’

British artistic swimmer Florence Ford says helping people learn to swim is a ‘real rewarding emotion’.

Florence is learning to become a swimming teacher on a combined course being funded as part of the London Legacy Project.

The 17-year-old is one of eight people taking on the Combined Swim England Qualifications Level 1 and Level 2 Teaching Swimming course at the Fusion Lifestyle-run Tottenham Green Pool.

She said the opportunity to share the benefits of being active in the water with people of all ages was a key reason for her wanting to become a swimming teacher.

Florence, who was part of the Great Britain team which took part in the European Junior Artistic Swimming Championships, said: “I want to become a swimming teacher so I can pass on my years of experience and love I have for the skill and sport.

“Now I’m getting older, I’ve seen both the physical and psychological benefits swimming has on me.

“I would want everyone to be able to experience those benefits I have found as a swimmer myself.

“Within the course, we do take some lessons and these are very enjoyable classes due to the satisfaction you feel as the teacher when swimmers have tried or done something that they couldn’t do before or were nervous to begin with. 

“Seeing young swimmers break out of their comfort zone, really try and then the smile on their faces is a very good feeling.

No feeling like it

“Being able to influence such a range of different people all with the same goal of being able to swim and feel confident in the water, is a real rewarding emotion. 

“Swimming is a lifesaving skill and to be able to possibly be teaching someone a skill that could save their lives, or someone else’s, is a really important thing to be able to do. 

“And who knows, you could be teaching the next Michael Phelps!”

Florence said she has found the course easy to do and enjoyable.

“I have found the course interesting,” she said. “It has been intense when the content has been given and the lesson plans have to be written but with the right support and explanations, I have been able to complete it.

“Doing the session plans, getting involved in teaching the children, getting them to do things they haven’t done before and seeing them so happy with themselves is the most enjoyable aspect by far.

“It’s given me the ability to teach and inspire other people to start swimming and begin their journey as swimmers like my old swim teacher did for me.

“There is no feeling like it.”

Halema Uddin has also taken the combined course at Tottenham Leisure Centre.

Bridging the gaps

She is hoping to inspire more Asian women to take up swimming and even become a teacher.

Halema said: “I will be working with the women at the centre and I hope to be able to train them to become confident swimmers.

“I found the course quite challenging but I was able to do it around my work. The teaching session was most enjoyable and I will find most satisfaction when I can train children from level one to six.

“I would encourage more women to take up the training as this can be a lifesaving skill. I hope by teaching my own children and grandchildren they will be inspired to become swimming instructors.”

The London Legacy Project secured £20,000 from the Mayor of London’s Sport Unites Fund to support the roll out of three engagement initiatives in some of the capital’s most deprived boroughs.

It aims to break down barriers such as social isolation, inactivity and mental health, and generate excitement in aquatic sports.

Stephanie Gadd, Swim England programmes officer – growth, said: “I am delighted that we are able to fund eight women from the local community in Haringey to train to become swim teachers. 

“This is an important step in bridging the gaps in the local workforce. 

“We are hoping this new cohort of teachers will help expand local provision and provide much-needed, positive role models to inspire more people from the local community to learn to swim, especially women and girls from ethnically diverse communities.”