Benjamin Routhorn from Bath has been voted the best swimming teacher in Bath and North East Somerset winning the first round of a national competition.

Ben, age 25 teaches a wide range of lessons at Bath Sports and Leisure Centre and has worked at the centre for over three years. He was nominated by a combination of pupils, parents and work colleagues all of whom were impressed by his dedication, enthusiasm and commitment to his job.

More than 700 nominations were made nationwide and Ben will now go through to a regional semi-final. If he is successful he will then go forward to a national judging day to take place at former Olympic venue, the London Aquatics Centre in Stratford.

The initiative is the brainchild of leisure operator and charitable social enterprise Better, which operates three swimming pools across Bath and North East Somerset and a total of more than 140 swimming pools across the UK. Better is the biggest provider of swimming lessons in the UK, employing over 1.400 swimming teachers and running more than 18,100 swimming lessons each week.

The Swimming Teacher of the Year Award is also being supported by the Swimming Teacher’s Association (STA) and Speedo, representatives of whom will make up part of the final judging panel.

Commenting on his win, Ben said: I am delighted to hear this news. I really enjoy helping people go from nervous beginners to competent and confident swimmers and it’s great to find out people are happy with the way I teach. Bath Sports and Leisure Centre General Manager Barnaby Rich added: “Ben is a hugely dedicated and hardworking individual.  He has inspired and encouraged a huge range of swimmers to enjoy and benefit from their time in the water. He is able to make even the most nervous swimmer feel comfortable and confident in the water, while encouraging the more able to progress and hone their skills.”