STA has joined forces with the National Open Water Coaching Association (NOWCA) to create the UK’s first nationally accredited Open Water Swimming Coaching qualification. Recognised by the Government’s Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) at Level 2, the qualification gives swimming teachers, and aquatic and triathlon professionals the specialist skills needed to coach swimmers in an open water setting.
David Candler, STA’s President and a keen open water swimmer himself, said: “Open water swimming is the second fastest growing mass sport in the UK, yet until now there has not been an accredited qualification available to coaches wanting to teach open water swimming in an open water setting.”
“Over the years, many swimming teachers and triathlon coaches have relied on teaching open water skills and techniques in the warmth of a swimming pool, but I know from personal experience that this is not as effective as coaching in a real outside water environment.
So many other considerations are needed when swimming in a river, lake or the sea, and this qualification gives aquatic professionals the specialist skills needed to coach open water swimming in an open water setting to people of all levels, from enthusiasts through to professional triathlon athletes.”
Developed by NOWCA and accredited by STA as an internationally recognised awarding body, this new Level 2 qualification serves to professionalise and set the bar for open water swimming coaching. To be eligible, swimming teachers must hold a STA Award in Swimming Teaching or acceptable equivalent.
To support the introduction of the coaching qualification STA and NOWCA have also jointly developed the STA Level 1 Award for Pool to Open Water Swimming Coaching. David explains: “This accredited qualification provides the ‘stepping stone’ to the Level 2 award; it will give candidates from a non-swimming aquatic teaching background i.e. water skiing, snorkelling and triathlon trainers, the preparatory open water swimming and stroke analysis knowledge needed to take on the advanced Level 2 coaching award.”
Equally, swimming teachers keen to take the first step towards teaching open water swimming will be interested in the STA Level 1 Award for Pool to Open Water Swimming Coaching. The course has been specially designed to help teachers prepare individuals for open water swimming in a swimming pool setting. This includes everything from helping triathletes work on their stroke technique to showing individuals how to swim in a wetsuit and how to regulate their breathing.