Collection of images of Angela as a young competitive swimmer

Swimming is such an important part of my life!

As our founder, Angela, celebrates 30 years of swim teaching she takes time out to reflect on just what swimming means to her.

“I know I owe a lot to swimming, and the sport has been such an important part of my life. My first inspiration has to be my mum, and I think it’s fair to say that swimming definitely is in my blood. My mum, Jean Pendrich, is still a very active swimmer. Like me, she took her love for the sport and turned it into a passion for competing, winning her first cap for Scotland when she was just 13.

Swimming revealed the real me

I’m one of four children and family life was very loving and supportive. But, I couldn’t help feeling that I never really fitted in at school, or in the world around me. It was learning to swim that changed all that for me. Now, I found myself in an environment that challenged me but where I could thrive and enjoy myself: my confidence bloomed and I felt I was truly being myself for the first time. Years later, when I was an adult, I was diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). That helped me understand myself, and the young me, so much more.

For me, learning to swim quickly turned into the desire to win at swimming. Making that transition involved a lot of training; the commitment was hard and it took up a lot of my time. But it was where I wanted to be.

Angela shows talent for swimming at young age

I started competing when I was just five years old and never looked back. I won my first national title when I was 12 and then competed at international events all over the world, dominating Scottish swimming for 10 years. When I was 15, I was so proud to be selected for Team GB’s Olympic squad after qualifying at the European Games with the fourth fastest time in the world.

Facing tough challenges brought fresh opportunities

But sadly, my hopes for being part of the Olympics ended quite abruptly. The UK went on to change its qualifying standards so I would marginally miss out on my dream. You’ll understand just how difficult this was for me, but I was determined to continue competing at an international level.

So, I began to teach swimming lessons alongside my mum to raise funds to continue my competitive training. I went on to compete in five events for Scotland at the 1994 Commonwealth Games, and also swam for Scotland in World and European championships.

Ultimately, my international swimming career ended all too soon in 1996. I had caught glandular fever the year before and the long recovery time needed for me to get back to full health forced me to retire.

If I couldn’t compete, teaching swimming the year before had shown me just how fulfilling it can be to help others achieve their swimming dreams. It felt absolutely the right time to put all I had experienced during my training and competing into building up my swim school.

Now, when I’m not poolside or managing the business, going for a swim is still very much my happy place – my second home.”

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