BBC's Naga Munchetty heralds ‘impressive’ swimming teachers

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For the first time BBC Breakfast television presenter Naga Munchetty is enjoying swimming – and she has praised her swimming teacher for making that possible.

Earlier this year, the 44-year-old embarked on a 12-week programme of private adult lessons as she looked to build her skills and confidence in the water.

Now midway through that programme with Everyone Active, Naga and husband James are loving life in the pool and, more importantly, feeling safe.

She said: “James and I were both ‘ugly’ swimmers. I could only swim on my back and he could swim on his front but it was very wild and exhausting, so he was tired after one length.

“It was never something we did for fun – we did it for a purpose, so if we went wind-surfing or paddle-boarding together and needed to swim a short distance to the boat or shore.”

Feeling safe in the water

Regular lessons with swimming teacher Hollie have changed all that, as Naga explained.

“When we began we chatted to Hollie and she was very good. She said ‘show me what you can do’ and was pleased we could get across the pool but then wanted to get us enjoying it and feeling safe in water.

“Hollie tapped into the fact that James and I are very competitive. She made everything into a game or little competition, and she is very good at seeing if one style of teaching works. If it doesn’t she has so many alternatives to try instead.

“I found breathing while doing front crawl really difficult and had never completed a length in my life. Hollie showed us different ways of breathing and after the third week I did a full length of front crawl breathing properly. I couldn’t believe it!”

Naga added: “People learn in different ways. Some people learn visually from seeing something and copying it, while some like to know the theory, and others like to put things into practice and then make it work for them. Hollie has so many creative ways of tapping into what stimulates us.

“We head into every lesson wondering what we’re going to learn next, how we’re going to learn it and what little competitions she has devised for us. She’s very good at not making us feel embarrassed or silly for not being able to do something.”

Impressive swimming teachers

Naga and James are learning breaststroke next as their swimming journey continues.

“We’ll get there with that as well. Hollie instils that confidence in us and never makes us feel like we’re a lost cause,” Naga remarked.

“She’s not teaching us something simple and she’s having to deal with our personalities and reservations about our ability while building our confidence too. It’s much more than ‘just’ teaching us to swim.

“Swimming teachers give so much to people – confidence, fitness, safety, peace-of-mind, family time and a social activity to enjoy with friends. And at the heart of all that they are teaching a basic life skill that we should all have.

“If you’re someone who can do all that – for adults and children – then that’s marvellous and extremely impressive!”

  • Find out more about becoming a swimming teacher here
  • Read more about Naga’s swimming story here