Dean De-Freitas Smith from Hoxton has been voted the best swimming teacher in Hackney winning the first round of a national competition.

Dean, 34 has been teaching at Britannia Leisure Centre for 4 years and delivers a variety of lessons; this includes parent and baby, children, schools and adults.

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 Dean 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 4 centres with pools in Hackney 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, Dean said: “For me to be nominated for swim teacher of the year means so much to me. I never thought this would happen to someone like me. I really appreciate all the people that voted for me, as well as the pupils who allowed me to teach them. I really do love to teach. Thank you once again”.  

Jack Doyle, manager at Britannia Leisure Centre added: “Dean 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”.