About Me

I have always loved the water, to bathe in it, play in it, dive in it, and ultimately swim through it.  I love the feeling of water and of being underwater.  I love the freedom it gives me and my body.

I learnt to swim through my school and didn’t move to competitive swimming until quite late, I can well remember being soundly beaten in my first race at school at the age of 8 and vowing never to let that happen again.  Needless to say, it did, many a time, but gradually I came to love the discipline and drive that came with competitive swimming training, and loved the ultimate goal of competing and winning.

Gradually I moved through the ranks of competitive Paralympic swimming until I competed in my first international – and my career went from there.  With swimming I travelled the world, swimming in pools and standing on rostrums in Sweden, USA, South America, Australia, France, Spain…. Over a long career I won many European and World titles, setting several longcourse and shortcourse world records, flying the flag for Great Britain with pride wherever I went.  But the proudest moments in my swimming career by far are winning Gold and Silver at the Atlanta Paralympics and Gold, Silver and Bronze at the Sydney Paralympic Games.

Although I have long since retired from competitive swimming I have cherished a great love for the sport and swim daily.  I remain incredibly passionate about my sport and what swimming can do for everyone, I have learnt so much in my time as a swimmer – coached by the best in the world – and I feel the time has come to pass this on to the next generation of swimmers.

Although I am partially sighted, I have completed my ASA Level 1 and Level 2 teaching certificates and RNLS National Rescue Test for Teachers.  I am competent and safe to teach, I may need to be in the water more than most teachers – but that is not such a bad thing!  Perhaps because I have developed an excellent “feel for the water” I tend to teach more aesthetically – how the body should feel, how to move with and against the water.

Most importantly, perhaps because I have spent so many hours swimming up and down countless pools, and seen so many swimmers drop by the wayside, I understand the importance of an engaging, exciting, fun lesson and strive to give every swimmer I teach some of the passion that I feel for such a wonderful sport.

Come and share the swimming mojo!

Melanie Barratt