WANT to learn to swim but don’t fancy getting up at the crack of dawn for lessons? Hate the thought of dodging lane hoggers at the public pool?
If the answer to both questions is ‘yes’ then that’s not even the best bit.
Not only is there a crowd-free pool in Saddleworth with spectacular views but its teacher and mentor is a former Olympian.
Diggle’s own Jessica Lloyd was Team GB’s youngest swimmer at the 2012 London Olympics. then 17. Two years later she won two medals at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Jessica only retired as a competitive swimmer 12 months ago but is now programme manager at Manor House Barn in Dobcross, a 25 metres pool, providing bespoke tuition as part of the Swimming Nature brand.
Babies, children and adults are welcome at the Mill Lane venue where bubbly and down-to-earth Jessica recently started her full-time role.
“It is the greatest pool ever and not a bad office,” she said looking out from the pool deck towards the rolling moorlands.
“I was heartbroken to quit but swimming as a sport I still love it.
“I didn’t have the same fire I used to have every time I stood on the blocks.
“I am so lucky now I am doing something rewarding. I have always wanted to work with children and I am putting my time in swimming to good use rather than go into a desk job and it is forgotten.”
The Swimming Nature ethos is all about providing top quality lessons and tailor-made instructions to prove swimming is a natural ability anyone can master. Most of the classes involve one-to-one or one-to-two tuition.
“I have done my ASA Level One and Two teaching qualifications,” explained Jessica. “But Swimming Nature has a different philosophy.
“There are no armbands or floats. It is all about me holding the child in the right body position and getting them to learn naturally rather than being supported.
“Additionally, we have introduced afternoon and some evenings ‘Float Fit classes.’
“They are similar to yoga and pilates but more of a laugh. We did a few free taster sessions recently and my aunt came and had a go.
“She laughed so much she felt brilliant afterwards, never mind the other benefits from the workout.”
The Manor House Barn facility was created by another Saddleworth based, ex Commonwealth medallist, Stephen Dronsfield, initially to teach his own youngsters to swim and then in November 2017 to become part of the nationwide, Swimming Nature, programme.
Jessica is assisted by national class swimmer Rhianna Bennett, a one-time team mate at City of Manchester Aquatics.
She smiled: “I love my job. I have children who come who are starting their journey.
“One day I would aspire to have my own pool but this is definitely the next best thing.”