From the pool to the paddle: local swim teacher embarks on new chapter on the water

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Since joining Water Babies Bucks & Beds as a teacher in 2017, local mum of two Teresa Bowker has been teaching essential water skills to the little ones of Milton Keynes. Eight years after starting her journey in baby swim teaching, Teresa is embarking on a new chapter – transitioning from being in the water to being on it by launching her own paddleboarding business.

Living with her family on a narrowboat along the Grand Union Canal, Teresa’s life is certainly awash with water! It all began when she took her little girl to her first lessons at Water Babies.

“I first discovered Water Babies when I took my daughter Theodora to lessons,” said Teresa. “We both absolutely loved it. I couldn’t help but feel envious of the teachers – they were having so much fun in the pool and doing something meaningful at the same time. When I was looking for a job that would let me spend more time with my daughter after long hours working as a manager in social care, I decided to apply to become a Water Babies teacher. I’ve always wanted to help people and make a difference. It’s hard to believe it’s been eight years already, but it’s been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”

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Water Babies Bucks & Beds, under the guidance of owner Tamsin Brewis and her dedicated team of teachers, has been imparting indispensable water skills to children from as young as six weeks old at pools across Milton Keynes and the surrounding Buckinghamshire area since 2004.

Teresa on the paddleboardTeresa on the paddleboard
Teresa on the paddleboard

After Teresa gave birth to her son, Bowden, in 2020, lockdown provided her with the opportunity to delve deeper into her passion for water sports – which had been ignited during her time as a teacher at Water Babies.

“While I helped countless little ones find their swimming confidence over the years, it also nudged me to step beyond my comfort zone and chase my passions,” explained Teresa. “Since 2020, I’ve been studying for a Sports Fitness and Coaching degree and completed my BSUPA Level 1 instructor course – turning my love for water sports into a profession.”

With the waves of knowledge she rode from her training at Water Babies, her studies at university, and her certification from the British Stand Up Paddleboard Association, Teresa made the decision to bid farewell to her classes at Water Babies and dive into a new tide – launching her own venture, Barefoot Vibes Paddleboard School.

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“Saying farewell to my own classes is a mixed bag of emotions, but I’ll still be filling in as a teacher and staying active in the mums’ club – introducing new parents to the wonders of Water Babies,” said Teresa. “With the launch of Barefoot Vibes, I’m excited for the next chapter – I’ll be teaching not only little ones to swim but guiding people of all ages to thrive on top of the water, too!”

Teresa in action on the waterTeresa in action on the water
Teresa in action on the water

As her new business takes off, Teresa attributes her success to the initial lessons with Theodora and her teaching journey at Water Babies.

“Water Babies will forever hold a special place in my heart,” added Teresa. “Witnessing those smiles is the ultimate reward – whether from the babies or the parents! The sheer joy of witnessing a baby’s first underwater swim or a toddler mastering a skill they’ve been striving for is incredibly fulfilling. Knowing I played a part in their achievements is truly gratifying. But the sight of proud parents beaming with pride? That’s been the real highlight for me.

“If I hadn’t taken that leap into teaching at Water Babies, none of this would’ve been possible. It’s incredible how much has transformed since then – not only for the children I’ve had the privilege to teach but also for me personally. I’m thrilled to embark on this new chapter on the water and grateful for the chance to remain part of the Water Babies family whenever possible. Who knows, perhaps in the years to come, I’ll spot many of the little ones I’ve taught paddling alongside me on the board!”

For more information about Water Babies Bucks & Beds, visit: www.waterbabies.co.uk/lp/baby-swimming/bucks-and-beds

For more information about Barefoot Vibes, visit www.barefootvibes.co.uk

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