28 years of nurturing thousands of swimmers

Penguins is a friendly, family-run swim school, based at Lancing College in West Sussex. We have spent 28 years nurturing swimmers of all ages and stages to gain a valuable skill for life. Our goal for every swimmer is simply to enjoy being in the water, confidently and safely, and helping them meet their goals as an individual – whether that’s competing for county, joining a squad, becoming a lifeguard or a coach, or gaining a 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. .

Every Individual Counts

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. With specialist SEND skills, we enjoy supporting swimmers with additional physical, emotional or learning needs to gain confidence in the pool.

A Focus on Water Safety

Water safety, particularly in open water, is something we are all passionate about 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 Opportunities

We offer an exciting programme of events and classes alongside our usual lessons to 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 Pier to Pier sea swim. We have also run scuba diving and synchro sessions.

Meet the Team

Our ASA-qualified team has over a century of combined experience, with some teachers in the role for over 30 years.

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 every individual is rooted in Linette’s interest in child development, inclusive approaches and emotional empowerment.

Gillian Button

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 of swimming that will stay with them for life. As a specialist SEND classroom assistant, Gill incorporates sign language and sensory learning techniques into her swimming classes.

Nicholas Piper

Nic teaches our advanced (NPTS 6-10 competitive) and master swimmers, and also works with individuals (mostly competitive swimmers). As a highly respected instructor with an in-depth knowledge of stroke mechanics, he knows how to get the best out of swimmers at this level. Nic is Head of Age Groups coach at Marlins Swimming Club (Mid Sussex), and trains the Sussex County Squad.

Hannah Beadle

Hannah has been with Penguins for eight years, getting our intermediate level swimmers off to a confident start. She is known for her fun and friendly approach, and her helpful doll who joins her 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.

Kath Lambert

Kath started swimming teaching in her teens and qualified as a Level 2 teacher in 2006.  She also qualified as a Shaw Method Swim Teacher in 2006, an Open Water Coach in 2019 and a Beach Lifeguard in 2021.  From a competitive pool swimming background Kath now splits her time between teaching and coaching in the pool and in the sea in Shoreham.   You can read more about her sea swimming activities at www.swimandtonic.uk 

Vanessa Lavender

Vanessa has swam since she was 3 when she jumped into the pool after her older brother! She has also competed at County level. Her first taste of teaching was when she was 17 and she then achieved her level 1 teaching qualification. Vanessa started at Penguins in 2014 when her own children were little. Vanessa also coaches with the Worthing Swimming Club team and she feels proud of the young children she has helped to learn and develop their swimming loves seeing how they progress.