Pamela Elmeged from Kensington has been voted the best swimming teacher in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea winning the first round of a national competition.
Pamela, 61, teaches at Chelsea Sports Centre and Kensington Leisure Centre multiple days a week, including weekly Better Swim School classes, one-on-one lessons, and sessions focusing on swimming stroke technique. She was nominated by a combination of pupils, parents, and work colleagues all of whom were impressed her dedication, enthusiasm, and commitment to her job.
More than 700 nominations were made nationwide and Pamela will now go through to a regional semi-final. If she is successful, she 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 two centres in Kensington and Chelsea 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 her win, Pamela said, "Thank you, I was quite surprised [as] I thought I hadn’t been entered.", she added, "I love my job and every lesson, each one is different and seeing the joy people get when they realise that they can actually swim is the most rewarding feeling ever, from adult to child. I [still] see two disabled girls who couldn’t swim, who came to me at 5 and 7 years old both, now in their 20s who swim for hours."
Sarah Ealing, Assistant Manager at Kensington Leisure Centre commented, "Pamela is a hugely dedicated and hardworking individual. She has inspired and encouraged a huge range of swimmers to enjoy and benefit from their time in the water. She 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.”