Speedo SwimSquads is dedicated to growing swimming in the UAE, developing not only fantastic swimmers, but fantastic teachers to pass the sport on.
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Founded in 1995, the oldest established swimming club in Dubai offers a swimming programme in line with and run on the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) of Great Britain guidelines.
After moving to Dubai from Britain, Lesley Murray found few swimming options for her children and decided to fill a need in the community by starting Speedo SwimSquads.
“There was nothing established out there,” said the SwimSquads CEO and swim director. “I had two kids who were swimmers, so I set up the club basically because my children needed something. I’m a PE teacher and sports-based anyway, so it made sense to start it.”
Since opening, Murray – a qualified ASA club coach and ASA tutor – has brought on more staff with teachers who all hold at least an ASA/UK Coaching Certificate Level 1 Teacher of Aquatics.
“We’ve grown quite a bit, but also made the decision to stay small enough for all swimmers,” said Murray. “We’re smaller than the biggest club here but that’s by intention. We’re going for quality, not quantity.”
While SwimSquads offer their programmes to all ages and abilities, the club recognise the importance of imparting more than just swimming skills to their members.
“I feel it’s really important for my oldest swimmers, who are perhaps not the best swimmers but still want to be involved in swimming, to start helping. They can start teaching, which gives them incredible life skills and it always looks good on university applications. Most of them then keep teaching at university to pay their way through college.
“It’s developing teachers, but more developing the whole person. We’re interested in having good, competitive swimmers, but I’m also interested in having independent, educated people working with me and doing well at university, school and life. So we’re trying to give a more rounded education.”
For those who want to dedicate themselves to being competitive swimmers, SwimSquads has a top-level group called Select Squad, where swimmers must train a minimum of two-hour sessions six times per week, as well as regularly compete in various events throughout the season from September to June.
The younger swimmers will head to events in the Gulf, while older, more experienced swimmers will compete internationally, as they did in Thailand last year.
“If they’re going into our top group, they have to make a commitment to train so many times per week,” said Murray. “Part of it is actually choosing that they want to have swimming as their first sport.”
Speedo SwimSquads feature their programmes in five Dubai locations: Collegiate American School, Dubai International Academy, Dubai College, Nord Anglia School and Repton School.
What: Speedo SwimSquads swimming club
Geared towards: Swimming enthusiast
When & where: Compete from September to June and located in a various locations across Dubai
Contact & info: Visit www.speedodubai.net or email [email protected]
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