When a local Midday supervisor took up swimming through This Girl Can sessions at Better, Chesham Leisure Centre in February 2016, this proved to be a life-changing experience. Previously a nervous swimmer, Muryam Saleem began a journey that would not only improve her technique and confidence, but also boosted her health and fitness – and even triggered a career change!

For Muryam, swimming initially presented a number of challenges. For a body-conscious woman, with a lack of confidence swimming in deep water, the prospect of public swimming was a daunting one. However, this soon changed, thanks to the This Girl Can Swim programme.

This Girl Can Swim sessions provide a comfortable, women-only environment to help become more active, whilst developing technique – with almost 20,000 visits to sessions at Better centres across the UK, since the scheme was introduced in 2015.

Muryam attended sessions weekly, growing in confidence and increasing in fitness. Muryam said: “By attending the session regularly I have gone from a size 16 to an 8!”

This new-found confidence and improved technique made for an increasingly enjoyable experience in the water, and as swimming grew into a new passion, Muryam decided she wanted to share it with others – leading to a change in profession.

GLL – The UK’s largest provider of public swimming pools, through it’s customer brand, Better, were keen to support Muryam’s ambition and alongside This Girl Can and Sport England, funded her Level 1 Swimming Teacher’s Course. Muryam completed the course in August 2017, and now works alongside Wendy Zakrzewski, Sports Officer at Chesham Leisure Centre, to deliver swim classes.

Wendy said: “Muryam’s story is the perfect example of how This Girl Can encourages women and girls to find new ways of becoming more active. As well as finding a new passion, the wider benefits of swimming have changed Muryam’s life and will no doubt inspire others to take part.”

For more information on This Girl Can swim sessions, visit: www.better.org.uk/thisgirlcanswim