Celebrating 25 years of supporting thousands of swimmers
Penguins is a friendly, family-run swim school, based at Lancing College in West Sussex. We have spent 25 years nurturing swimmers of all ages and stages to gain a valuable skill for life. We are proud to have been named ASA UK Swim School of the Year in 2016 and Southern Water Swim School of the Year in 2018.
We work with each swimmer as an individual, supporting them to achieve their potential – whether that’s competing for county, training to be a coach, or simply learning a skill they’ll always enjoy. Enjoyment of the water is our number one aim for every swimmer, from babies to masters. Our fully ASA-qualified team has over a century of combined experience, with some teachers in the role for over 30 years.
Seeing the Potential in Every Individual
We keep classes small and build relationships that last for life. Some Penguins who started with us as toddlers have worked their way up to become Penguins teachers themselves. We can spot vocation in our swimmers, too, and are proud to have kickstarted the careers of high calibre swimmers, including members of the Great British Deaf Team and the county swimming and water polo teams. We have specialist SEND skills and enjoy supporting swimmers with additional physical, emotional or learning needs to overcome any obstacles to gaining confidence in the pool.
A Focus on Water Safety
Water safety, particularly in open water, is something we are all passionate about here at Penguins. We work closely with the RNLI and partner the local RNLI station in Shoreham to deliver water safety awareness events and training. Many swimmers go on to take their national lifesaving qualifications with us. Our annual free SwimSafe day, held on Lancing Beach, gives hundreds of swimmers the skills needed to enjoy the sea responsibly. One young swimmer even managed to rescue his dad, thanks to the skills he learnt at Penguins.
Enrichment Events and Opportunities
Our exciting programme of additional events and classes, that run outside of our traditional lessons, give swimmers even more opportunities to gain water confidence, skills and interests. We partner with Drenched and Worthing Water Polo Club to offer water polo sessions, use the endless pool technology at Brighton SeaLanes to assess stroke technique, and take part in local events such as the annual Pier to Pier sea swim. In the past we have also run scuba diving and synchro sessions.
You can read more about our ethos, activities and stories on our Blog page coming soon and in our quarterly swimming newsletter. You may also be interested to read this lovely profile of us in Swimming Times.
Meet the Team
Linette Wheeler, Founder
Linette set up Penguins in 1994 to share with others her lifelong passion for swimming, which began as a toddler learning to swim in the sea. She went on to become a successful Club, County and National swimmer, holding the Sussex Masters backstroke record for several years. The Penguins ethos of nurturing and enabling every individual swimmers is rooted in Linette’s deep interest in child development, inclusive approaches and emotional empowerment. She is happy to talk with you about all aspects of your swimming journey.
Gill has been teaching swimming for over 30 years and specialises in beginner (NPTS 1-2) swimmers. She is an imaginative, fun teacher, who ensures early swimmers not only develop a thorough skillbase, but gain a love and joy for swimming that will stay with them for life. Outside of the pool, Gill is a specialist SEND classroom assistant, and incorporates sign language and sensory learning techniques into her swimming classes. Gill was a competitive swimmer, lifesaver and kayaker in her youth.
With over 30 years of swim teaching experience, Rosalind mostly works with our improver swimmers (NPTS 3-5). Rosalind has spent her lifetime in and on the water either swimming, lifesaving, kayaking or sailing. Her emphasis is on water safety, equipping our swimmers with the skills and confidence to deal calmly and effectively with anything that may occur in the water. Rosalind’s husband is the coxswain of the Shoreham lifeboat, with which Penguins has strong links.
Hannah has been with Penguins for eight years, getting our intermediate level swimmers off to a confident start. She provides a smooth transition period from beginners to intermediate as they move from the shallow end to the middle of the pool. She is known for her fun and friendly approach, and her helpful doll who comes along to lessons to teach the children in the pool. Hannah is training to be a Primary School Teacher and also has experience of providing one to one support for children with autism, ADHD, speech and language needs and developmental delay.
Clare’s love for swimming started at an early age. After competing to national level in her youth, she started teaching swimming at 16, keen to continue her passion on a different level. She has since then taught swimming to all levels from parent and baby classes right through to adult lessons. When Clare travelled in Australia, she qualified as an Australian swim instructor so she could even teach there! Outside of the pool, Clare has been a secondary school teacher for 17 years and is mum to two Little Penguins. Clare believes that not only is swimming paramount to a child’s safety but it provides challenges, rewards accomplishments and helps children to become self-confident and believe in their abilities.
Kath is our Office Manager. Prior to qualifying as an ASA teacher herself twelve years ago she worked in the media. Kath was a competitive pool swimmer and now swims in open water. She is often to be found on the beach (or in the sea) watching the sunrise.
Growing up on the south coast, Lisa was introduced to swimming at a very young age by her parents and gained an early love for swimming and understanding of water safety. She soon progressed onto club swimming, representing her club at both county and national level. After a lifetime’s involvement with swimming, she has recently returned to teaching where she hopes to encourage a life long love of the water in others.