Crowborough swimming teacher wins top award

Rosie Morris (GB Water Polo coach,) winners Charlotte Turnbull, Hilary Silverman and Helen Blake Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

Rosie Morris (GB Water Polo coach,) winners Charlotte Turnbull, Hilary Silverman and Helen Blake Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

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A swimming school based in Crowborough has celebrated its 25th anniversary by winning the Amateur Swimming Association’s Swimtastic Swim School of the Year Gold Award.

Helen’s Swimming School has won the national award, presented to a swim school that the national body says provides an excellent service to all its members and achieves the highest standards through commitment to development of both swimmers and staff.

Founder Helen Blake said: “I am very proud of the Swim School but it would never be what it is without the dedication and hard work from all my swimming teachers, assistants and water helpers both past and present, who all share my passion for swimming.”

The Crowborough school was founded in 1989 by Helen with just a few classes and has now grown to provide lessons six days a week at three pools. The school is very grateful to Sir Henry Fermor School, St Mary’s Primary School and Mayfield-St Leonards School for the opportunity to hire their pools and being able to provide a wide range of lessons for all ages from babies to adults.

Helen employs 23 people and has encouraged and supported many young swimmers to go on to become teachers. Several swimmers who completed the Rookie Lifeguard course have gone on to become pool lifeguards working at local leisure centres.

This is not Helen’s first award - The Swimming School became the first in the country to achieve the ASA’s Premier Level Aquamark accreditation in 2002 and followed this in 2008 with the Swimming Teacher’s Association’s STA Star Mark award, making it the only school to be recognised by both swimming organisations.

In 2009 Crowborough Town Council awarded Helen the Sports and Culture Award for her commitment to swimming within the community and more recently the Swimming School was awarded Swim 21 accreditation by the ASA which it continues to maintain annually.