About Emma Levy
As a swim coach I am constantly learning. I learn formally, in coach training, and I learn informally from other coaches and with every swimmer that I coach.
I first trained as a swim coach (all 4 strokes) with Total Immersion. I was privileged to learn from Terry Laughlin, founder of TI, as well as Tracey Baumann, and other Master Coaches from across the world.
More recently and to date, I am learning from other coaches, led by Tracey Baumann and Mat Hudson, in the SwimMastery community.
At Edinburgh Swim Studio I bring together:
- my experience of swimming and overcoming injury
- my knowledge of stroke technique and practice principles
- my interest in enabling improved movement in and out of the water
- my skills in supporting others to achieve their goals
- my understanding and application of improvement science methods
By offering these to others, I am to share with people of all ages and abilities my joy in being a swimmer, to guide and inspire people to pursue and achieve their swimming goals, with comfort, ease and grace.
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t swim.
One of my earliest photos is of winning an under-10s event in the club’s annual gala. I spent my teens training on weekdays, sometimes in four different pools in a day, and competing at the weekend, representing Norwich Penguins and Norfolk.
After a short break in my early twenties I rediscovered the joy of moving through water, and swam regularly again, training either alone or with Masters’ groups. I quickly learned that swimming didn’t only make me feel great physically, but that it was my most reliable route to mental and emotional health. I took up triathlon, and while I relished the new challenges of running and cycling, it was always in the water that I felt at home.
Then disaster struck. Multiple injuries meant that I had to give up swimming, running, and cycling.
The pain in my shoulder stopped me swimming for a couple of years, until my doctor advised me to swim again for the sake of my mental health. I managed the pain by limiting the frequency and length of my swims, along with occasional benefits from physiotherapy and steroid injections. It was only a few months after surgery, when I had to abandon a swim after a single length, that I realised I had to try something radically different.
My return to swimming began with a Total Immersion workshop in 2009. I quickly learned that the new movements would allow me to swim again. It wasn’t easy – 30 years’ muscle memory of the old way were difficult to overcome – but with the support of Master Coach Tracey Baumann in one-to-one lessons I found I could change the way my body moves in water. Key to the physical changes was the realisation that I had to think very differently about how I spend my time in the water.
What began as a search for a relatively quick fix has become a lifetime journey for my swimming always to get even better. I have always been inspired by my childhood club coach, Jane Asher, and now, as my whole body experiences improved movement through Anatomy in Motion and exploration of my motor responses, and SwimMastery technique makes moving through the water feel easier, I am optimistic that I will continue to swim for as long as I like.
As a teacher and trainer since 1990, I have learned that my skills lie in supporting others to achieve their goals. I began as a teacher of English language, which gave me opportunities to work overseas for 16 years: Egypt, Ukraine, Portugal, Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Russia.
After that I continued teaching, training and facilitating across a wide range of areas, including workplace communication skills, (presentation skills, negotiating, writing), teacher training, performance management, leadership and management development and organisational change.
In several roles in education management, I was responsible for supporting change management and process improvement. When I settled in Edinburgh I transferred my training and improvement skills to healthcare.
In 2014 I completed the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Improvement Advisor programme, which provided me with the concepts and tools to take a more systematic approach to improvement. Through supporting people working to achieve a wide range of change goals, from improving the morning school run to providing better quality of care across health and social care services in Scotland, I know that the improvement science methods I use can be applied to improve anything.
Everyone is unique in what they bring to swimming, physically, mentally, and emotionally. While aiming to achieve the desired positions and movements of effective and efficient stroke technique, what each person does is based on the specifics of the body and brain they were born with, as well as what it has gone through in life until now.
To enable me to respond to these individual differences, I have gained further qualifications as a Personal Trainer (REPS Level 3), Reflex Integration Trainer, and Oxygen Advantage® Advanced Instructor and trained to use the principles and methods of Anatomy in MotionTM, Explain Pain and Graded Motor Imagery.
I seek to identify the unique characteristics of each individual I work with, and draw on all these approaches to select activities in and out of the water to help them experience improved access to the desired movement pattern, and then fully integrate the movement into their swimming.
I am excited to be a member of SwimMastery, an international community of coaches and swimmers! We are focussed on improving our understanding and practice of the safer, stronger, more efficient swimming form and training methods appropriate to all swimmers’ bodies and goals.
This gives me the opportunity to partner with other coaches around the world to create more and better learning opportunities for swimmers. It is developing into a fantastic source of information and resources for swimming and training, for swimmers of all levels of experience and ability. I recommend that my swim clients use these resources, which are a good fit with the experience they have learning with me.
About your sessions
While most lesson time is spent in the pool, most swimmers benefit from dry land exercises that draw on a range of methods to improve access to the movements that help swimming. Swimming sessions often involve dry land assessment and exercises (which should be repeated regularly at home), and clients also have the option of coached movement sessions scheduled separately from their sessions in the pool.
The pool is 14 feet long, 8 feet wide and 4 feet deep. When you are not swimming you can touch the floor anywhere in the pool, or take a break on the in-pool benches. Your coach is never more than an arm’s length away.
Seating beside the pool is available for parents bringing children for lessons.
Accessible shower and changing facilities include towels, shampoo and swimsuit dryer.
Our Endless Pool has a swim current that is adjustable from zero to race pace, so you swim at a pace that is right for you.
What to bring
- Swimming costume
- Swimming hat
- Flip-flops/pool shoes