It Shouldn’t Happen To A Swimming Teacher!

Splash 'n' Swim Splash DropsValdeir ArantesMy last work session before Christmas, I had a little accident.
I managed to lock myself in the store cupboard next to the sauna.  It happened due to the fact I can’t dress myself properly and put my work trousers on inside out and I thought I would take the opportunity of a no-show and to sort myself out.  I didn’t want to go to the upstairs changing room incase my students did show up and I couldn’t use the downstairs as my previous class were getting changed.

So I chose the cupboard, even though my one big fear has always been to be locked inside this particular cupboard.  I didn’t think of this fear as I put the light on and firmly closed the door behind me.  In fact, I was more concerned that Roy the maintenance man might walk in mid-change.  It wasn’t until after I had got changed that I realised that I had a problem and I knew that no one was around to let me out.  Outside was very quiet and thoughts of being trapped inside all night and missing my lessons started to go through my head.  Neither of these thoughts was an option and I started thinking about taking out the doorframe as a way out.  But I didn’t want to get into trouble for damage.

Luckily the cupboard had a Phillips screwdriver, which was compatible with the screws in the lock.  I’ve seen my husband put locks on doors at home, so had a fair idea of the components and that was how I got myself out, to say I was relieved would be an understatement!

Splash 'n' Swim Splash Drops


Anyway, this got me thinking, that this shouldn’t happen to a swimming teacher and there must be stories out there to tell due to the uniqueness of the job.  For example, a lot of swimming teachers, myself included, find it very difficult to recognise students in normal clothing and going by Liz Harby‘s experience parents have problems too!  Liz was sitting on a bus into town on a night out, when someone said "You look different with clothes on!" Liz wanted the world to swallow her up as the bus was very, very busy and everyone looked round!! It was a parent of one of her swimmers used to seeing Liz in a swimsuit in the water.

Working in a holiday resort, Jess Stockford was just about to start a parent and baby session.  “I would usually sit down and have a chat before entering the pool however running slight late I decided to step into the

pool as it was only a very shallow baby pool (up to knees)....  Not as shallow as I thought, misjudging the size of the step in I fell flat on my face straight into the pool completely under, in front of a busy pool surrounded by families having just been announced over the microphone and parents waiting in the pool.  Thank God none of the other staff saw it otherwise I would never have lived it down!

Jeff Kieger "was speaking with the parents of a child that I was working with and on that particular day, I was wearing one of my older suits that day.  As we were talking the young boy kept tapping me on my back and his parents kept telling him to wait until they were done speaking with Coach Jeff.  Finally we finished talking and I asked the youngster what he wanted to tell me.  All he did was point to the side of my suit which had completley split and seperated from top to bottom due to the suit's age and the pool's chlorine.  Thankfully the netting inside the suit remained in tact or I would have put on quite a display.  Saying that my face turned red is a major understatement.

One of Kelly Murray's "Downs children (no telling him) decided to run and sit in the middle of a plunge pool cover.  He was only around 5/6 at the time.  Nice and nimble. We surrounded the 4 x 8m pool with adults, as soon as one reached for him he'd scuttle away.  One adult tested the cover with her weight, no chance.  That was a long game of patience!

Swimming teaching is certainly an interesting occupation and creates situations that are special to that job.  This is why so many people enjoy doing it and meeting so many different people along the way.

New Year, New Resolutions?

Celebration of Light, VancouverNew Year’s Eve 2014 and like everyone else, I am looking forward to the beginning of a fresh new year.  I have lots of half formed plans or goals floating around in my head, but nothing concrete.  What I need to do is sit down with pen and paper and become more organised!  In terms of swimming, my ideas and plans are a little firmer.  I would like to improve my knowledge of drills that can be used as part of sets for my advanced swimming groups, as I feel this is definitely one area as a swimming teacher that I haven’t had much experience in and hence, my swimmers are not being pushed hard enough.  On a more personal note, I feel that it is getting to the time where I need to experience different types of swimming.  The closest I have ever got to an open water swim is swimming/paddling in the sea on holiday or participating in a charity five minute swim in an unheated outdoor pool in the middle of February.  Until recently, I was under the illusion that outdoor swimmers were seasonal and only a small handful were hardcore enough to swim throughout the year (some even swim without wetsuits).  How wrong was I!  Now I am not going to consider open water swimming in mid-winter, but in August with stunning scenery and a wildlife conversation theme would go down nicely.


Not all swimming New Year’s resolutions need to be so ambitious.  To start the New Year as a non swimmer, but to finish the year as someone who can paddle from A to B is a huge achievement.  For some people, to actually manage to put their face into water and blow bubbles would be their goal as their fear of water is so great.  If you are an adult non-swimmer, but have a child in swimming lessons, speak to their swimming teacher or failing that the swimming course coordinator.  It might be that neither you nor your child can swim, you want to, but don’t know where to start.  Visit Splash ‘n’ Swim’s swimming lesson page for lesson venues or just contact your local sports centre / health club.  The most important is to find a swimming teacher that has patience and understanding and will go at your pace, to give you reassurance and confidence.


Someone that needed reassurance and confidence seven years ago, as she couldn’t swim, was Jane Hardy.  Jane’s son was having swimming lessons and watching him gliding through the water, made her yearn to do the same; so Jane pinched his lessons.  To say that Jane hasn’t looked back would be an understatement; she now swims in the North Sea most days and is a keen member of the Alnwick Sea Swim group.  Jane’s personal New Year’s resolutions for 2015 is to train for and successfully swim from Robben Island to Cape Town without being great white sushi in April.  In the summer Jane would like to encourage local youths into the sea - swimming, body boarding, beach volleyball, whilst enjoying the fantastic coastline and learning about cold water immersion, how to safely spot and escape from a rip if necessary.  In September, Jane aims to complete a skin swim in Loch Ness (all of it) as a relay.

All New Year’s resolutions for swimming are worthwhile, the most important thing to remember is that it doesn’t matter how small your goal is, it is worth achieving, as Jane Hardy has proved.  Remember achieving your resolutions can lead onto bigger and greater challenges that can help and promote good causes and charities. Rubber Ducky