I am a swimming coach is Somerset, covering Somerset and Dorset.
I teach swimming from Parent and Baby lessons up to coaching the county squad at Street and District Swimming Club and coaching people to realise their dream of swimming the English Channel.
I was a competitive swimming pool swimmer up until the age of 15. I competed for Somerset in my early teens. Then as soon as I left school I joined the the fitness Industry, starting off as a lifeguard and achieving REPs level 3 Advanced Fitness Instructor, ASA level 2 swimming instructor, and Exercise class instructor (Spinning, Aerobics, Aquafit, Circuits, Studio Resistance)
My interest in Open Water Swimming started in 2008. I met a lady who wanted to swim the English Channel – I got interested and became part of her team of 6 and we took part in a relay in September 2008, without wetsuits! I was immediately hooked on open water swimming and went on to organise and swim in a 3 person relay in July 2009, a 5 person relay in September 2010 and another 5 person relay in September 2012.
My dream was to always swim the Channel Solo. This sadly, is yet to be achieved. A solo is not for the faint hearted and it takes up a lot of your life, it takes over your work, family and social life.
In 2010 I had made the decision to swim the Channel solo. I was put in touch with a well known open water swimming coach, Tom Watch. Tom lives in Weymouth and has been coaching cross channel swimmers for over 60 years, including the youngest Solo swimmer (age 12). He has over 100 successful crossings under his belt. Tom also had my friend, Chris Walsh under his wing. Chris was booked to swim the channel in September 2010
I trained alongside Chris that summer, we became really good friends and I had the amazing experience of being on his support boat for his channel swim in September 2010. He completed his swim in an amazing 12 hours and 45 minutes. He was so thankful of me being with him every step of the way that he had promised to be with me for my solo which was booked for 2011.
Sadly Chris passed away that Winter. He will always remain in my heart.
I lost the will to do my solo in 2011. so instead, Tom and I joined forces to coach cross channel swimmers together.
Tom has his own boat in Weymouth, he is now in his 80's and wanting to retire, so he took me under his wing to teach me all I needed to know about the sport. Tom helped me to pull together a 5 person relay. We swam in memory of Chris. We swam on the same day as Chris on the 21st September, only 2 years later. We swam with the same pilot and we landed on the same beach in a time of 12 hours 44 minutes. It was magical.
2012 saw me being invited onto the Board of the Channel Swimming Association and on the committee of the ASA South West Region, heading up their open water swim section and Open Water Swimming Coach alongside Cheddar Kingfishers Head Coach, Laura Nesbitt.
In 2013 Tom and I successfully coached 10 people to swim the English Channel, these include 7 Juniors (12 – 15 year olds) swimming as a relay , a 2 person relay and a solo swimmer.
2014 we coached a 3 person relay called the Midlife Crisis. I was unable to be on board the actual swim as I was heavily pregnant. The birth of my Daughter, Avalon saw me taking a year off of coaching.
In 2017, after I had completed all of my training to become a firefighter for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, TomKatSwim successfully coached a team of 6 Juniors from Street and District Swim Club to swim the English Channel.
We are proud to hold a 100% Success rate.
I also hold the following qualifications:
ASA Open Water Swim Coach
RYA Level 2 Powerboat
RLSS Open Water Lifeguard
Tom is more of a mentor to the other coaches now as he has retired after successfully coaching Marc Newman to swim a new route from Dungeness to France in July 2016.
Tom will always be around to share his experiences and give advice for as long as he can.
Marc lives in Dorset. He is a very experienced cross channel swimmer, also known as a speed boat. He has completed solos across the channel and a 2 way relay.
I am yet to find a swimmer who can keep up with him.