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I can’t remember a time when I couldn’t swim, maybe there wasn’t one. I was always going to swim, coming from a family of relatively successful competitive swimmers ( my parents actually met at swimming club) it was really important to them that my sister and I were introduced to their world from a young age. My Aunt, my Mum and Nan taught me to swim, I still remember it going to the pool at Potters Bar. I swam for the British heart foundation before I was 1 and was featured in the local paper. I went on to swim competitively for Southgate swimming club, however, I didn’t really enjoy the competitive side of swimming and found the pressure of club swimming too much.

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I never lost my passion for being in the water though and 20 years ago my Aunt mentored me through my swimming teacher courses where I gained valuable experience teaching along side her. (She is still teaching and a constant source of information and sound advise)

The ability to swim is one of the greatest gifts my parents gave me. I love the way my body feels weightless and free the way I can “fly” through the water using my arms as wings, the way the water sounds, the bubbly quiet of being underwater. I feel at absolute peace when I’m in the water wether I’m swimming or floating or playing with my children.

It opened a whole world of aquatic adventure for me, I have been snorkelling all over the place all kinds of boating, windsurfing and other water sports. My sister too, she is a Scuba diving instructor and has worked all over the world, she is also a Free Diver.

The gift my parents gave me keeps on giving I now have a career doing something I absolutely love. I teach tiny babies, children of all ages and abilities. I coach masters sessions where I have swimmers and triathletes that have coaxed me back into training with them! I also teach adult non swimmers. I currently have the honour of teaching an 81 year old gentleman who has decided it’s about time he learned! It’s magic my job, so varied, so rewarding (occasionally frustrating) no two lessons are the same. I hope I use my passion for this sport to instil confidence into my swimmers and not only with the ability to move through the water, and to be safer around water but also to be at one with the water. I achieve this through structured progressive practices, play and loads of positive praise. I love seeing their faces the first time they swim or float in their own whether it’s taken 10 minuets of the first lesson or 10 weeks of coaxing a nervous swimmer, it never gets old.

Jo Careford (Stanstead Abbotts)