NEWS

STA launch new open water coaching qualification

After months of discussion and development, and with input from a range of open water swimming experts (including Outdoor Swimmer), STA launched their revamped open water coaching qualification on 19 March, in time for the 2018 season.

The qualification is aimed at people who want a formal qualification to coach swimmers in open water. It recognises that open water swimming has moved beyond triathlon and today’s outdoor swimmers have a wide range of interests from recreation and relaxation to adventure, cold water swimming and challenging events and races.

As pre-requisites for the course potential coaches must be at least 18 years of age, hold current membership of STA, submit a CV detailing relevant open water swimming experience and hold either a swimming teaching, coaching or triathlon coaching qualification.


However, in order to make the course available to a wider range of potential coaches, there is a supporting online module and test that can be taken instead of holding swimming teaching qualifications.

The new course will take roughly three days to complete and consists of a mixture of pool, open water and classroom based modules.

The following individuals and organisations were consulted and helped develop the award.


  • Keri-anne Payne – founder of Triscape and double World Champion and Olympic silver medallist in open water swimming
  • Colin Hill – director of Chillswim, owner of Swim Secure and recognised in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame
  • Rick Kiddle – founder of NOWCA and multi British Triathlon champion
  • Len Hatcher – expert swimming coach who coached four young women to swim relay across the English Channel
  • Leon Fryer – co-founder of SwimYourSwim and an exclusive member of International Ice Swimming after completing an Ice Mile
  • Simon Griffiths – founder and publisher of Outdoor Swimmer magazine and an experienced open water swimmer and commentator   
  • Jason Tait – founder of South West Swim and a highly experienced Swim Smooth Certified Coach.
  • British Long Distance Swimming Association
  • Channel Swimming Association
  • International Ice Swimming Association
  • Restube
  • Swim Secure

Kaylë Burgham, Head of Aquatics at STA, said: “STA fully understands that with the rise in popularity of open water swimming you can’t take a one size fits all coaching approach. By consulting and bringing together the best in the industry, we’ve created a compelling open water coaching qualification that uniquely covers all aspects of coaching the fantastic world of open water swimming – and one that is endorsed by the chartered institute, CIMSPA (Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity). It is a professional qualification for people who love open water and who want to promote and share their passion by coaching swimmers in open water with novice, intermediate and experienced swimmers.”

The new qualification builds on and replaces the Level 2 Open Water Swimming Coaching qualification STA developed with NOWCA in 2013.

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I created Outdoor Swimmer in 2011 (initially as H2Open Magazine) as an outlet for my passion for swimming outdoors. I've been a swimmer and outdoor swimmer for as long as I remember. Swimming has made a huge difference to my life and I want to share its joys and benefits with as many people as possible. I am also the author of Swim Wild & Free: A Practical Guide to Swimming Outdoors 365 a Year.