Swimming teacher wins iPad with RAPs

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Throughout December last year some of you may remember we ran a competition for the chance to win an iPad for those who renewed their membership with RAPs. 

We are delighted to announce that swimming teacher Clare Bryant was our winner. We’d also like to thank Clare for renewing her membership!

We thought we’d have a quick catch-up with Clare to find out a bit more about her and why she wanted to join RAPs.

So Clare tell us a bit about your career, how long have you been involved in swimming teaching?

I originally started to swim seriously at the age of 11 on the recommendation of my GP. I had various physical problems, including asthma and problems with my legs and feet, which made other sports unsuitable for me. I then gave up swimming aged 16 and only swam occasionally.

What would you say inspired you to become a swimming teacher? 

At the age of 35 my husband had a serious back injury and the physiotherapy required involved me taking him to the pool daily. I took up assisting in a local club and gaining my teaching qualifications as it fitted in with my family. I have been running my own swim school for eleven years now.

Why did you want to join RAPs?

I heard about RAPs via email and wanted to join as I believe we need a more coordinated approach to aquatic teaching and coaching.

As a swimming teacher, what benefits do you think RAPs will bring to the industry?

I hope that RAPS will enable a more synchronised and coordinated approach to the teaching of all aquatic disciplines, and enable best practice and new ideas to be filtered through to the front line of teaching in a more ordered and efficient manner, so that the next generation of learners, participants and champions have the best opportunities as soon as possible.

How do you think RAPs will impact the aquatics industry? 

I think it will make the industry and qualifications easier to understand and make it easier to have an overall standard of qualifications.

What would you say about RAPs to someone who hasn’t heard of it?

I would say, read about it and think about where you are going in the future.

Why do think it’s important for people like yourself to be on the Register?

I think joining the Register is really important as it is a way of keeping up to date and getting information.

What would advice would you give to anyone who is contemplating being on the Register?

My advice would be ‘go for it’; you have nothing to lose and an awful lot to gain.

And finally who would you say is your sporting hero?

My sporting hero, is a client of mine, Graham who used to be a professional athlete, had a stroke which left him with paralysis down one side and has managed to relearn how to swim and walk and is a constant source of inspiration with his determination and perseverance and can do attitude.

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Q&A with Olympic medallist and RAPs ambassador Steve Parry

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We are delighted to have Olympic bronze medallist Steve Parry part of the RAPs family as our official ambassador, so we thought we’d have a little chat with to find out a bit more about him and why he wanted to come on board. So Steve…  

1. How did you get in to swimming, was it through school, a local swimming club?  

It’s a crazy story really. We were taking a family holiday along the Thames on a barge when I was 7 years of age and my dad made me wear a life jacket all week. It got to the weekend and I forgot to put my lifejacket on. My brother was chasing me around the boat and the next thing I knew I was in the water holding onto the barge. Fortunately, my dad fished me out and we joined swimming lessons at a local club the following week.

2. At what moment did you realise you wanted to make a career from swimming professionally? Was there a particular inspiration for you?  

Definitely. In 1988 we had a masterclass session in Liverpool from the 100m Butterfly Olympic medallist Andrew Jamieson. His mum was my coach at the time and I remember thinking “that’s what I want to do”: stand on the rostrum for Great Britain and win a medal.  There were many times I doubted it would ever happen but you got to keep plugging away!

3. You retired at the age of 27, did you struggle with the transition to a career outside of elite sport? What advice would you give to up and coming athletes about developing their skills and looking ahead to the future?

Of course it was incredibly difficult adjusting. Athletes are focussed, driven and to a degree selfish in the pursuit of their goal. I went for a few job interviews in banking and real estate but soon decided I needed to be my own boss. I set up my business in 2006 and never really looked back. Entrepreneurs have lots in common with athletes and I love the challenge of growing the business. Whatever route you take you have to be passionate about whatever you’re doing or the grind will hurt you!

4. As we know you have now set up the swim school, Total swimming, with your former training partner Adrian Turner. What inspired you to do this project?  

Half the kids in the UK can’t swim and we felt we had the ability to do something about it. It’s a life skill and 400 kids drown every year and that’s our motivation. It’s also the best health and fitness past time you can do so we love it.

5. As our official ambassador, how do you think RAPs can affect the industry?

The success and longevity of the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) has really shown what can be achieved in order to professionalise an industry. I hope that RAPs will have a similar effect on the aquatic industry as REPs does on the fitness industry. I believe that ensuring there is quality and professionalism throughout this industry is a must, and it’s fantastic news that the Register of Aquatic Professionals is actively addressing this major issue.

6. Why did you want your swim school to join RAPs?

It’s important that all of our staff get as much professional development as possible and can benchmark themselves against the industry and identify areas of improvement.

7. How do you think we can engage more people in the sport?

It’s the biggest participation sport in the country with over 3 million regular swimmers a week. I think what we need to focus on is getting kids in the water as early as possible and this will help with their lifelong participation.

For further information on Steve and Total Swimming click here

You can follow Steve on Twitter @steparry2