Debbie Feeney (www.swimtime.org):
"My fiancé and I both have ‘watery’ backgrounds, so really understand the importance of being able to swim. Ray my fiancé, is an Oceanographer and understands the significant dangers that water can present and I spent 16 years as a civil and coastal engineer with commercial diving and commercial abseiling so have spent a fair few years under the water experiencing first hand the dangers and hazards that a ‘watery’ environment presents.
I was in a bit of a rut, no passion for my job, fed up of the environment and being treated poorly. I met my current fiancé, who inspired me to get my teaching certificates and taught for someone else on weekends. Then two years ago in April we bought our company and I handed in my notice after 16 years to follow a true passion. The water has always been a passion of mine and Ray’s as you can see from above, and now I love to teach and run the company. It's awesome. 🙂 We have never looked back and have grown from under 100 children using one pool to over 500 children using 5 pools.
I qualified as an ASA Level 2 teacher and also have my STA Baby and Pre-school qualification, I am currently training to be a Pool to Open water Coach and have many passions to follow a continued career developing more skills and qualifications through both organisations."
Swimming teachers come from all walks of life. The profession can be ideal for mums who have had a break from work after having children and are looking for a family friendly career. Or for students who are about to start university and need a job that will help finance their studies. Swimming teaching isn’t just about teaching a child or an adult how to swim; it’s about understanding different personalities and adapting your teaching methods to suit. You will be expected to undergo ongoing training for the rest of your teaching life, as with all industries, swimming doesn’t stay the same – it is forever changing. Hours wise, you can teach as little or as much as you like. If you have ever had the dream of being self employed and running your own business, why not your own swim school?
In the UK, there are two professional bodies that provide swimming teaching qualifications. These are the STA (Swimming Teachers Association) and the ASA (Amateur Swimming Association) and this page provides links to both associations’ qualifications pages. Each one will suite different people and their needs and it is possible to gain your Level One with one body and then to cross over to the other body to qualify in your Level Two (I gained my Swimming Teachers Certificate – Beginners with the STA and then transferred over to the ASA Level Two Certificate).
"I was left crippled in a road traffic accident when I was 26 with various major weight bearing joints damaged and having to be rebuilt with metal. Recovery and learning to walk again was a long process. However through exercise in water and swimming I surpassed surgeons’ expectations.
Being in various pools almost every day, I used to watch swim teachers, the way they shouted I thought they were terrifying the kids, until I saw this one teacher in particular, a mature lady. When I watched her teach she had a glow about her, patience and calm clear, enthusiastic instructions, I was mesmerized and inspired!
I Googled swimming teaching and the STA website came up first. When I looked for courses there just so happened to be a course starting that month in my local area. I rang the tutor and she made it sound so interesting. I paid the fee and started that Saturday, and have never looked back. I cannot express how much I love to teach, not just swimming strokes but my love of water and how it changed me physically, emotionally & mentally! It saved my life and I love to inspire others, children as well as adults. I experience great joy when a person begins to enjoy the sensation of being in the water and being able to move through the water comfortably. When I see tension in their faces disappear and they get that same glow and recognise the freedom they are feeling that I feel when in water, there is nothing like it!"