Why I love coaching non-swimmers
by William Townsend on May 23, 2019
Jacqui from Animis Triathlon Racing tells us about her experiences with being taught and teaching swimming.
Whilst I was passing the time waiting for my son to finish his swim set at a local pool I sat and watched a class of primary school children being taught to swim by swimming teachers.
All those negative memories from my childhood came flooding back.
NOOOO .........YOU’RE NOT GOING TO DROWN..........HOLD THE STICK
GET OVER HERE............GET OUT!!
These were just some of the shouts I heard the teacher projecting to very obviously scared 7 & 8 year old kids. The only thing that was missing from my childhood was the teacher whacking the kids on the head with a bamboo pole!
Despite this, as a very determined child I persevered with the swimming and completed the gold personal survival badge; which for those who are not initiated means you can swim in your pyjamas, make a float from them and pick a brick up from the bottom of the pool :)
I never went swimming again unless I was forced and as a mum of 2 small boys I used to avoid swimming on holiday and getting my face wet or even splashed by them.
To my surprise when I was introduced to triathlon by my now grown up son I discovered that part of the triathlon involved swimming. And not mums breast stroke head up swimming but face in the water swimming in LAKES, full on FRONT CRAWL.
I therefore had to conquer my biggest fear...SWIMMING.
I had several conventional swim teachers all wanting me to be like Rebecca Adlington which I am obviously not, and I was getting nowhere fast, spending lots of money on expensive lessons; but the people who helped me most was a friend who was the local fat club leader and my son.
They gave me the confidence to put my face in the water and learn front crawl. This was not an easy thing for me to do and when I entered the world of Triathlon Coaching I decided that no other adult would feel the pain that I had learning front crawl.
I knew how hard it was for me and tried to think of ways of putting them at their ease in the water building up their confidence, getting rid of the very real fears they have and helping them to ENJOY swimming.
I read all the books, went on all the courses but I found that what really works for me is KNOWING HOW THEY FELT and explaining the process in easy to understand ways.
So much so that over the last 2 years I have successfully coached more than 50 non swimmers to conquer their fears and go onto complete numerous triathlons and some Ironman triathlons.
Many of the swimmers literally shook when they got into the pool for the first time but within the hour swam 25m.
I am filled with pride when I see them motoring up and down the lanes in coached sessions completing the swim set. BUT most of all making sure they ENJOY swimming.
If you want to learn more about training for triathlons, get in touch with Animis @ https://www.animisracing.com/en/teams/animis-racing