A SWIMMING teacher has urged more people to teach after research showed an estimated 667,000 children will miss out on lessons due to an instructor shortage.

Claire Treliving, from New Milton, competed for Great Britain as a kayaker after overcoming a fear of water after nearly drowning as a young child.

She has backed calls for more people to consider swim teaching as an alternative or additional career after Swim England research showed a national instructor shortage.

Claire’s fear of water continued through her career competing for GB, but after having children she was determined they would be able to swim and followed suit herself.

She took swimming lessons and went from doing duathlons to triathlons and is now supporting others to learn in the community.

Bournemouth Echo:

“I decided having worked in childcare all my adult life, I would retrain and become a swimming teacher,” Claire said.

“I had a difficult experience where I nearly drowned playing with my brother who was a much more able swimmer than me, which helps you realise how important it is to be confident and competent.

“With my own previous fear of water, I now really enjoy gaining the trust of those who might be nervous, to enable them to learn to enjoy water and giving them the same opportunity I had.

“From nine weeks old, I had both my children in lessons.

“It’s so vital that people learn to swim and become confident, and I am proud of the role I can play in making a community difference. There is a freedom that water can give you.”

She added helping those who are scared or feel unable to do something ‘leaves a big impression’ on her.

“When you see the look on their face when they realise they can do it, it is so rewarding,” Claire said.

“I’d urge anyone to give it a go - visit your local leisure centre, because it’s so important that there are those who want to help, give back and make a difference.

“It’s amazing as a teacher too, you get a lot back that makes your job so enjoyable.”