Volunteer Swimming Coach - Loughborough University Performance Swimming
Geography and Sport Science student, Nathan Clarke, has gone from strength to strength since joining Loughborough Swimming in October 2017. Currently undertaking a placement with the team as a voluntary coach, Nathan spends on average 26 hours poolside a week coaching as well as additional planning, sport analysis and additional coaching roles with partner organisations like SwimSwiftElite.
Tell us a little bit about yourself (hobbies, interests and background):
I’m from a small town called Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset, but this is now my third year of living in Loughborough. From as early as I can remember alI I wanted to do was swim. By the time I was 16 I wasn’t competing and turned to coaching the sport I love, with the purpose of helping athletes realise their potential and to strive to continually develop swimmers as athletes and as overall better individuals. I now spend every day at the swimming pool doing what I love and look to better myself and my coaching in the process. Outside of swimming I enjoy watching sport (particularly F1) and spending a quiet night in with friends and family (whenever I get the chance!).
How did you first get involved in volunteering within sport at Loughborough?
When I arrived in Loughborough I contacted the Director of Swimming, querying whether there would be an opportunity to help/assist with the programme. Andi and the rest of the coaching team were very welcoming and keen for me to get involved with coaching at Loughborough Swimming.
During your years at Loughborough what have you got involved in through volunteering within sport?
I have been involved with Loughborough Swimming since October 2017 which was my first year. Every year since I have increased the number of sessions I help out with and tasks I get involved in. My time is spent solely swimming coaching with this year being my placement year with the team as a volunteer coach I spend an average of 26 hours on poolside a week coaching as well as additional planning, sport analysis, additional coaching roles with partner organisations (e.g. SwimSwift Elite) and other swim teaching roles.
What has your experience volunteering been like whilst at Loughborough?
Extremely positive. All members of the coaching staff as well as the support staff have been very welcoming to myself and to other CVA volunteers who help out on poolside. All the coaches and support staff I have worked alongside have been very helpful and always are willing to give up their time to aid my development.
How has being involved with Loughborough Sport helped you develop and progress (personally and professionally)?
Being involved with Loughborough Swimming has been fundamental to my own professional coaching development in a number of ways. These have included developing my technical knowledge, partaking in sports analysis, planning of workouts and periodized plans, developing my holistic coaching skills, as well as the coaches allowing me lead cover sessions. Personally, coaching with Loughborough University has been instrumental in improving my confidence. When looking back to my first year I lacked a lot of confidence, so being thrown in the deep end with my voluntary coaching here has helped me massively improve my confidence not just on poolside but in daily life. I always strive to improve my confidence to this day through my continued work with Loughborough Swimming.
What’s the best advice you could give to a Loughborough student looking to get involved in volunteering & gain the most out of their university experiences?
The amount of opportunities through Loughborough Sport and the CVA is vast and since starting at Loughborough the amount of opportunities for us students to partake in coaching, officiating, event management, workshops or as ambassadors, dare yourself to get involved, learn and utilize the breath of opportunities available. You may be surprised with yourself with what you can achieve.