Gail Rickett The Water Whisperer April Blog

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Gail Rickett, ‘The Water Whisperer’s’ Introduction to Bathtime & Hair Wash For Terrified Children – New Classes.
Swimming – Is your child terrified of water even at home? Traumatic bath time and hair wash?

A couple of wonderful stories I like to tell my very distraught parents  when they arrive with a hysterical child, is that I have seen some of the most terrified of children, go on to love swimming so much they go on to compete and spend a massive part of their youth in the swimming pool.  That means early morning starts such as 6am and after school swimming. Travelling round the UK and for some I know have had fantastic opportunities to swim, compete and train overseas.  I was lucky enough to be able to teach in USA, and lifeguard, my career as a swimming teacher has taken me to some wonderful places.
What a wonderful and positive way to grow  up chasing your dream wanting to and being a winner at such a young age!  That has to set a child up to follow the right and successful journey for their life?
I’ll move on to mention three amazing pupils I have had over the  years.  Nicola Fenna started swimming with me at around 7 years old.  Nicola was crying begging her mum not to move far from her in the swimming pool, which is normal, even when the mums there touching and helping their child.   Nicola was in a very upset state at the start of her first lesson. However within just six weeks Nicola went from hysterical to swimming one mile non stop and Nicola was featured in the newspaper.
Nicola spent about a year with me before she asked about competition and more training, and Nicola moved on to a swimming early mornings and after school.  Nicola ended up travelling the UK and went overseas with her sport and won a never ending list of galas!  Nicola is now 17 years old and I am so proud of her achievements.  Nicola has developed ambition and dedication through her sport and there’s no  doubt in my mind Nicola will go on to achieve great things in her life.  Nicola Fenna only contacted me a couple of weeks ago asking for advice to get on a lifeguard course too!  This is a great job if you want to travel with it too and lifeguard on beaches around the World!

Here is Nicola taking part in photo shoot for me……


Gabrielle Thompson started at about 5 years old with me. Now Gabrielle’s personality at the time was when a new challenge came along there were tears.  Some children are just made this way and it takes time and patience to reassure them they can achieve their goals.  For over a year there were tears on and off, and yes Gabrielle was certainly not in a great place on her first few lessons. however she pushed through these barriers along with her families support too and now Gabrielle swims for Liverpool City and has an abundance of dedication and will power to win and win again!  Here is Gabriella with just a few of her medals.

Leah Mc Carthy is one of my outstanding pupils too and her achievements I still am in ore when I think about where Leah started and what Leah achieved with me in just 18 months.  Leah was 7 years old when she attended her first swimming lesson and she too ‘made the glass wobble,’ when she got in the pool as she was so hysterical.

This quickly disappeared with my guidance and her families support coaxing them all the way to be a winner!  Within a  few months Leah had learnt all the main strokes front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. We were at a deeper pool back then so Leah also masters racing dives too.  Leah was very quickly in the paper hitting headlines of swimming one mile non stop within a few months. Leah begged myself and her mum to try for three miles. We had a discussing and I am not a fan of holding a child back.  So we agreed she could  try it. She blew that distance away making it look like a walk in the park for her. Of course for me as a swimming teacher I am looking at signs she has had enough. Basically it’s like trying to make your child eat ‘their greens,’ you just can not do it!  A child HAS to want to swim the distances they do with me.

After Leah’s 3 mile she was asking to do 5 miles, she was 8 1/2 years old by now, so again we all had a talk and we decided to let her try for it. She swam that, for charity and again all in one go  she completed this massive swim. Leah later went onto compete and had a superb career in swimming, even taking a job as a lifeguard too.
Here is Leah and myself in the paper after her 5 mile charity swim.


I am starting new classes that are aimed at the most scared of children who don’t want to have a shower or bath at home and where hair washing is also traumatic for parent and child.  The classes will be groups of three pupils if  you have the budget for a private lesson with me that is the best.  I have a shower on the poolside so introducing the children to getting in the shower, can be done with my guidance at the pool. There will of course be part swimming lesson in the pool. I have to judge each child as I meet them, on how much time we spend on the toughest part of their  ‘introduction to bath time & hair wash skills,’ during each lesson.  It will be a ten week course where I expect most of their fears to be over within one to five lessons although it has been very rare some children can take longer therefore to be sure I’d like the normal time I plan for my courses. This generally means peace at home in the bath etc, it is instant with my guidance.

Here is a short video of Evie, she was more than hysterical.  Here is Evie with her mum in the water, both of them really struggling.  I literally ask Evies mum to get out and get my phone to video her, as I get in to take over.  It took me literally seconds, and within two minutes Evie had calmed down and she swam up and down the pool within 2 minutes AND on her back, you can see I even let go of her straight away!
I feel this is a typical example of why I have been nick named by my parents and media as ‘The Water whisperers….’

So do not worry if you have a child at the moment who is terrified of the water, please feel free to contact me and I will do what I can for you.  You may just be looking at a future Olympic Champion!

Many thanks for reading!

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