Looking back, my childhood memories of learning to swim were not positive. Trips to the local pool were upsetting as I wasn't able to join my friends in the deep end, and my allotted 12 weeks of swimming lessons at primary school ended just as I was about to make a breakthrough. However, I longed to swim and was determined to do so, eventually teaching myself whilst on holiday in Majorca. When I left school, I took up a job as a lifeguard and was drawn to a career as a swimming teacher. I went on to teach swimming for South Lanarkshire and Glasgow City councils, before completing a BSc in Sports Coaching and teaching the first Making Waves class at Finnieston in Glasgow. Today, the popularity of our classes and teaching methods means we've been able to expand our lessons across Scotland's Central Belt, and we're in the process of opening more pools too. I've taught swimming for over 25 years, turning my early negative experiences into positive ones for our students. I feel an incredible sense of achievement when I see a child or adult swimming unaided for the first time. To see the achievement on a child's face when they realise they can swim on their own - and seeing the thrill in their parents' eyes - is a true privilege.
I was taught to swim by my mum on a family holiday to Menorca in 1977. I would go under the water holding my nose, then would let go and swim - not technical in any way and eventually I could swim with my head above the water. When I met my husband Tom, he was a lifeguard at the local pool. Two children later, he insisted that he teach me how to swim properly! Thanks to my mother, I've never been afraid of swimming. Growing up, she was taught to fear water, perhaps so that she and her siblings would be safe from the River Clyde. So she tried very hard to make sure that I was confident and happy in the water. Mum eventually taught herself to swim at the age of 50. Tom began teaching Making Waves lessons in 2003 and I joined the business in 2006. In our early years, I realised that Tom's teaching methods were very progressive, and by far the best way for children to learn how to swim. Since then, we've developed training programmes and teaching systems based on his unique approach. We also employ lifeguards, teachers and swimming coordinators who are all trained regularly to ensure that our standards are consistent and that families are well taken care of. Today, we're a family-run business. We have five children aged between three and 15, and they all love swimming.