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Natallie Carter, from Bodmin, has been chosen as one of just seven national finalists for the Better Swim Teacher of the Year 2019 award.

Based at St Austell Leisure Centre, Natallie has beaten off competition from more than 700 other nominated contenders. She was amongst the 41 teachers presented with Partnership Winner certificates and prizes and has now won the Bath and Cornwall regional title, which puts her through to the national finals at London’s Aquatics Centre later this year.

The three words most used to describe Natallie in her nomination were ‘compassionate, patient and enthusiastic’.

One example of the customer feedback she achieves is as follows: “Natallie has shown so much compassion and patience towards my 4-year-old daughter who can be very quiet and sensitive. Each week Natallie collects her from the changing area and greets her with a smile. She will always take the time to see how she is and what she has been up too. She praises her every lesson and if she is feeling a bit worried, will always take the time to see what the matter is and try to solve the problem. Natallie has built such a lovely relationship with my daughter and she is now full of confidence in the water and has recently achieved a distance award of 100m. A fantastic swimming teacher who I would recommend to everyone!”

Natallie works for GLL, the UK’s largest non-profit leisure social enterprise, which runs Cornwall’s leisure centres on behalf of the council. She has been a swimming teacher in St Austell for the last six years and says she is in ‘complete shock’ at having progressed so far in the competition.

“I’m really happy and so excited,” she said. “I love what I do. It’s so important for children growing up in Cornwall to not only learn how to swim but to feel comfortable and confident in the water too. The same is true for adults. Seeing someone progress from nervous beginner to competent swimmer is a reward in itself.”

The national judging panel will include representatives from Speedo, the Swimming Teachers Association (STA), GLL and GLL Sport Foundation.