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Karen Pinniger

How did you get into coaching?

My life has always been dominated by two things a love to learn, especially science and physical activity specifically swimming. In 2004 it became clear to me that working from a desk was just not the right choice for me.

It started very simply, I volunteered with my local swimming club in land conditioning and realised I was able to coach - a career I'd never considered before. I worked hard building relationships with many different people and in time I realised that I had sufficient work to make the career change feasible. It was a bit of a shock to my family as they had just supported me through a PhD in neuroscience, but they all understood and supported my decision. Bristol University was key to my development in this time, supporting my sport and my personal development which gave me the confidence to make this choice.

In 2011 I moved to Norwich to work at the UEA City of Norwich Swimming club. We have a great team of staff and volunteers and successful performances are a result of the environment the team creates. Alex - the head coach - sets the tone and inspires us all.

I have been fortunate to work with thousands of people over the last eleven years and all of them have been working on mastering the skills of the sport. I love this aspect of the job.

Why do you coach?

Swimming coaching is a hugely challenging profession. Its what makes the job interesting to me. My ethos has has made me resilient to the impact of operating within a male dominated community. The this girl can project has made me consider the female in the coaching profession. I understand the issues a female coach can face and at the core of it, the barriers we have are only within our own minds. if you can overcome this nothing stands in your way.

My ethos:

Honesty & integrity

Be brave and work smart

If you want something, go and get it

I can

Your current level of coaching?

My current level of coaching is UKCC Level 3, I have been working with the England Talent team for the last 3 years and this year successful in the performance coach development programme with the NGB. I have been in post in Norwich for five years and the bulk of my work is with the National Age Group squad. These swimmers are aged 10-14 all regional/ national standard swimmers who take their sport seriously. Its fabulous. Every year the sport changes and evolves and brings new coaching opportunities. Other aspects of my job are training and developing teachers, running the learn to swim programme and much more. Its a fabulous club to be a part of and so many volunteers give up their time to make the swimmer pathway work.