Swim England

A nation swimming

Paralympic Champion Ollie Hynd on teaching swimming back where it all began

Three-time Paralympic Champion Ollie Hynd has had a ‘full circle moment’ after he recently begun teaching swimming at the pool where he first learnt to swim.

The 28-year old retired from competing in 2021 and is determined to continue his journey by supporting the grassroots of the sport.

So, he decided to take on the challenge of becoming a swimming teacher and recently gained his SEQ Level 2 Teaching Swimming qualification.

Now, Ollie is back where it all began at the Water Meadows Leisure Complex and has been invited to teach and train the next generation of swimmers.

“It’s kind of surreal story really,” he said.

“They’ve got pictures of myself all over the building and things. So it’s going to be really nice to get back there and start teaching the kids. It’s kind of a full circle moment really for me.

“I think growing up I was fortunate that I had my older brother (Paralympic champion Sam Hynd) to look up to and use an as an inspiration, but some people don’t have that and don’t get access to that.

“So I’d like to think that me teaching in that environment where I spent so many hours training throughout my career, I’ll hopefully be able to inspire the next generation coming through.

“Whether that’s to go to the Olympics, Paralympics or just helping people to learn to swim, going through the learn swim stages and giving people that life skill going forward.

“It’s good to know that I’ll be able to have the chance to give back.”

It’s a really rewarding feeling

And after undergoing his training, Ollie has been enjoying being back on poolside.

“I really enjoy it (teaching swimming).

“For me, obviously being involved in elite sport for so long you almost forget that element of joy and fun that swimming can bring.

“Whether it’s seeing a child achieve something for the first time, be that someone swimming five meters, it could be absolutely anything. But just being able to see the joy on their faces and the excitement that they have for those achievements and even just to get in the water.

“It’s a really rewarding feeling and having that makes the work that I do worthwhile.

“I always liked the learn to swim aspect of things and supporting the grassroots, so I thought it’d be an interesting course to do and something that would be great to have in my back pocket.

“And after I retired, I think after a while I was missing being in and around the pool.

“I’m doing other things now which is great but I really missed being involved in swimming and the sport in general.

“And funnily enough alongside the teaching, I’m actually going to be doing some coaching as well at Nova Centurion and helping them out so I’m going on a bit of a journey with coaching too.

“But my first port of call was to get fully qualified and do my Level Two Swimming Teacher qualification because then I knew I could get out there and start teaching.

“It was something that I wanted to do and I was ready to get back involved with the sport. I’ve got a real passion for that grassroots and the learn to swim side of things.”

“There’s so many benefits”

Ollie took his SEQ Level 1 Swimming Assistant (Teaching) qualification whilst he was still competing, allowing him to gain experience in teaching whilst he was still focussing on competition.

And it was being able to have that flexibility within the role that was one of the many reasons why he has chosen to continue teaching.

“There’s so many different options for people. Like for myself I’m quite busy doing other things so having that option to know that I can still teach by doing my hours at the weekend or in the evenings is incredible.

“But on the other hand, if you want it to be your full-time career and if you want to just be a swimming teacher, there’s absolutely no reason that you can’t do that.

“That’s the unique thing about teaching swimming. It’s having that flexibility to take into your own hands and manage how many hours you do to give you that work/life balance.

“And obviously not many roles have that and it’s a great option to have. I’ve found out how much of a rewarding job it is too and I think that’s something a lot of people find once they get into teaching.

“A lot of the time it doesn’t feel like a job because it’s so rewarding and it’s such a passion of mine. There’s just so many benefits.”

Ollie plans on continuing within teaching and one day is hoping to have a swim school of his own.

“Initially, I want to kind of build up my experience and get used to being in that environment and just learning from other teachers as well.

“I think that was something that I learnt pretty quickly during the process of going through the courses.

“Obviously I’ve been very successful in the pool but having the ability to translate that to other people, teach the children and really express how you want them to do something, it’s a skill you gain from more experienced teachers.

“I think there are little tips and tricks that you can use that are really effective and I’m hoping to pick them up from those around me.

“One day it would be really nice to have my own swim school and that’s hopefully something that’s in my future as it’s something I’d like to achieve.”

If, like Ollie, you are keen for the next step in your career and have been inspired to become a swimming teacher, find out how you can get involved here.

Main image – Ollie Hynd’s twitter