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Erin Ridgewell from Epsom has been recognised as Swimming Teacher of the Year by industry experts, following a national judging day (11th December 2019) held at the former 2012 Olympic venue - the London Aquatics Centre.

The competition invited swimming pupils, colleagues and parents from across the UK to nominate their favourite teacher and attracted over 700 entries nationwide. Regional heats were held and seven finalists from across the nation where invited to travel to London to meet a panel of swimming industry professionals, including former Olympian and Team GB swimmer Stephanie Proud on behalf of Speedo, Kayle Brightwell from the Swimming Teacher’s Association and Andrew Clark from leisure operator Better.

Erin has worked at Epsom’s Rainbow Leisure Centre for the past six years, initially joining as a recreation assistant before qualifying as a swimming teacher. She teaches all levels of swimmer within the Better Swim School scheme, along with adult, toddler and infant classes.  Away from the poolside Erin has a keen interest in amateur dramatics, running a local drama group and taking part in regular productions.

Chairman of the judges, Andrew Clark said: “It was a tough decision, but Erin was chosen by the judging panel for her enthusiasm and passion for teaching a wide range of ages and abilities. This along with the great relationships she builds with her pupils and the real trust they have in her.  She is a great role model for the industry.”

Swimming Teacher of the Year, Erin Ridgewell added: “I feel truly honoured and excited to have won the Swimming Teacher of the Year Awards particularly amongst some an amazing group of finalists. I find teaching swimming hugely rewarding and am truly touched that some many of my pupils first nominated me for this award back in the summer.  To know that you are valued and are making a difference is very humbling.”

The Swimming Teacher of the Year competition is the brainchild of leisure operator and charitable social enterprise Better, which operates more than 140 swimming pools across the UK. It aims to recognise excellence within the sector and encourage more individuals to consider teaching swimming as a career path.

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 supported by the Swimming Teacher’s Association (STA) and Speedo.