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Anita Smith, 38


I am a Personal Trainer based in Oxford. I’m currently training to qualify for the 2015 World Championships and 2016 European Championships both at Sprint distance.


I come from a running background. I started racing school cross country at the age of 10 and found it was a sport I loved. That love continued as I raced for 9 years in the RAF, I was fortunate to travel and do a sport I loved at the same time. I have been doing triathlon since 2007; as a runner I was completely shocked by how poor my swimming was! Like many adults I couldn’t do one length of front crawl in my first mini-triathlon in Lanzarote. I brushed my hair after the swim during that first race, much to the amusement of the organiser! I have raced at the European Championships twice over the Sprint distance and qualified for World Championships at Olympic distance.


I have had 1:1 sessions with Annie and I am a regular at the Monday evening and Friday morning swim squads in Abingdon. Since I started working with Annie, my swimming has gone from a weakness to a discipline I now feel could become my strength.  My times have plateaued in recent years but in 2015 I hit personal best’s over every distance. The improvements this year were a direct result of structured 1:1 coaching and swimming regularly with the swim squad from 2014.


I have received a lot of individual coaching during swim squad sessions; it’s made these sessions so important that I never miss them. It’s improved my confidence so much that I now try to fit in more swim sessions.


The swim squads are so friendly and it’s helped me to relax and have fun in the water. My lane mates motivate me to work that bit harder; especially on those days when it feels tough!


I find Annie’s coaching style friendly and fun; there is always something in a session we can laugh about!  Her vast knowledge as a swim coach shows in the ease she has of explaining corrections I need to make. She understands my goals in triathlon and discussion is always reflected around them. I know exactly what I need to work on during and after my 1:1s thanks to Annie’s ability to easily and succinctly communicate. This is backed up with regular feedback at swim squad sessions.


The pool at Abingdon Boys School is the best I have ever swum in. It is always exceptionally clean; the chemicals are so mild that I rarely have sneezing fits after I swim unlike many other pools. The air and water temperature are perfect for squad swimming. The changing rooms are cleaned to the same high standard.

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