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On Wednesday 11th December, Better swimming teachers from across the country attended an awards ceremony to announce National Swim Teacher of the Year, supported by the Swimming Teacher's Association (STA) and Speedo.

Seven swimming teachers were shortlisted from Better leisure centres across the country from as far afield as Cornwall, Belfast and South Oxfordshire. After much deliberation by the judges, who had to consider customer feedback along with an application submitted by General Managers, Erin Ridgwell from the Rainbow Leisure Centre was announced as the winner.

A customer commented on Erin's teaching style, "Erin has taught both my granddaughters to swim since they were 3 years old. They have grown in confidence and are both very capable swimmers. Erin continues to show all the children in the group class that they are important and has an easy rapport with them all. Erin always follows up on any concerns that we may have and is happy for any feedback. She goes above and beyond to ensure that the children are treated as individuals and always gives them praise.” 

Erin has been working at Rainbow Leisure Centre for 6 years. She started at Rainbow in 2013 as a Recreation Assistant and after a year she embarked on a career as a swimming teacher and she hasn’t looked back since. Over the years she has taught at all levels within the Better Swim School scheme and is currently teaching Adult and Toddler and Adult and Infant classes.

Erin is a very flexible and multi skilled member of staff as she also works in the Crèche and the holiday play scheme when cover is needed. She is particularly popular with the younger children as she has a fun and friendly personality.

Outside of work, Erin has a very keen interest in amateur dramatics and she runs a drama group locally. She regularly participates in productions and pantos as part of her commitment to this group.

Asked of a time where she had a big influence on someone who she has taught, Erin shared a story of a Spanish lady who contacted her for lessons as she had a life long fear of water. This particular pupil wanted to surprise her husband during their holiday in 6 months time by jumping off a yacht into the sea, as this was something she had watched him do on holiday for years. Erin successfully helped this lady from having a serious phobia of water to jumping into deep water in 6 months.

Huge congratulations to Erin from all of the staff at the centre!