Heather's story

One of our swimming superstars

Introducing Heather…one of our swimming superstars. Since beginning her lessons with us at just 6 months old, being afraid to put her face in the water, Heather has come on leaps and bounds…quite literally when it comes to her discovery of synchronised swimming! Learning to swim opened doors for Heather into a wealth of achievements within both swimming and synchro, in addition to being a “valuable investment for life” – her mums’ words, not ours…but we couldn’t agree more!

Read on to find out how, in her own words, Heather has learnt to push herself, become more resilient and is even progressing to turn her passion into a career in teaching – all stemming from her swimming lessons.


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What do you love most about swimming lessons and synchro?

I have always loved spending time in the water and my synchro lessons give me the opportunity to explore, develop and push my abilities within the sport.  I love choreographing and performing routines, it gives me the freedom to display my skills and push myself further, physically and mentally.

What’s the best thing you have learnt at swimming?

For me, pushing myself beyond the basic skills in swimming and learning to do incredible things in the water is so exciting. The feeling of mastering a tricky skill after weeks of work is so satisfying. On top of physical skills, I think that synchro has really helped me to become more persevering and resilient, and better at learning from every experience, both within the sport and in everyday tasks.

Tell us about your synchro competitions and the medals you have won?

I've been competing at national level since I was 11 and regional level since I was 9.  I have attended the National Age Group competition (NAGS), as well as the Combo Cup, and gradings annually. I earned 2 national medals in Mixed Duet, as well as performing in both team routines and figure competitions.  I was scouted for a beacon squad, when I was 12, where I attended regular all-day intensives to improve my synchro. This led to me competing in 2 beacon games, where many GB athletes also competed.

The Combo Cup is held at the London Aquatics Centre, and the senior team attends every year. It's an exciting opportunity to swim in the Olympic pool, as well as display our routines. Last year, the team placed 6th, and gained our highest ever score. 

Tell us about your upcoming teacher course, why did you decide to do this?

In July, I will be taking a teaching course. I already help Fran, my synchro coach, with the younger swimmers, and I love passing on my knowledge and skills to others.  It makes my day to see their excitement when they complete a new skill.  It will also allow us to work more closely with the swimmers and give them more concise, personal feedback, so they can improve faster, as we’ll be able to have smaller groups. By taking the course, I will be able to help and inspire more young people, and push myself further to teach new things, and a wider range of skills.

Do you see yourself having a career in teaching in the future?

Certainly, while I am still in education, I would love to work within teaching swimming. I am interested to see how far I can get with it. However, at the very least, the skills I learn whilst teaching will be invaluable for the rest of my life. 

A wise head on young shoulders we’re sure you agree.  We also spoke to Heather’s mum, Helen, about how it all started and why she felt swimming was so important.

“We started swimming lessons for Heather as soon as she was old enough for the parent and baby classes, around 6 months. We went with two other “new mum” friends and their daughters. It was a great activity all round – starting the girls getting used to water, us mums meeting up and having fun altogether. 

Water confidence from an early age felt so important to us as parents.  We wanted to know she would have the skills to stay safe at the beach, in a pool or anywhere with water. There was also the fitness side – regular classes have seen her build her stamina as well as improve her technique. It’s been a valuable investment for life.

Heather was spotted by Fran – the synchro coach/swim teacher when she was 8.  From the first trial session of synchro onwards, Heather was hooked.  Since then, with Fran’s support and encouragement, she has trained at least twice weekly – and has been able to achieve all 5 of the synchro Figure Grades; taken part in numerous competitions – individually with figures; and at national level, team routines and mixed duets, earning her two medals.

When Heather first attended swimming lessons by herself, she was so nervous about putting her face in the water. Anyone would be amazed to learn that now she’s underwater 50% of the time! Swimming, and artistic swimming in particular, has given Heather a passion. It’s given her chance to build on skills and to see how repeatedly trying hard and practising can reap rewards”.


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