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Hannah Smith

Director of Aquatics

Water Babies

Hannah Smith has worked in sport and leisure for more than 20 years and has held a range of operations and development roles in that time. For the past 10 years she has been working in senior management.
Smith comes from a competitive swimming background, which she says began her passion for the sport, and inspired her to teach swimming as a teenager. She began working with ASA (now Swim England) at 20 and has consistently taught and coached swimminers of all ages throughout her career. Smith joined Water Babies in 2012 as head of Aquatics, she now works as the company's director of Aquatics and is responsible for the strategic direction of Aquatics across the business. Tell us about your career? How has it progressed? Being a competitive swimmer as a child gave me a real love for swimming and sport in general. I worked as a lifeguard and swimming teacher throughout sixth form and university, and trained as an ASA (Swim England) tutor while I was studying for my degree. After graduating, I worked as a swimming development officer at Swindon Borough Council, which was a great introduction to the world of sports development. I then went on to work for Sports Coach UK (UK Coaching) as a regional coaching consultant, before becoming a senior competition manager in Devon – a role that involved developing inter-school competitions for more than40 sports. When the school sport partnership funding ended, I went to work with Swim England before becoming the head of Aquatics for Water Babies in 2012. I’ve now been at Water Babies for more than six years and last year was promoted to the role of director of Aquatics. What is your favourite/least favourite things about your job? Why? I love working for Water Babies. Every day is different. We teach swimming to more than 50,000 babies and toddlers across a network of over 60 franchises. We operate in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand and China, with plans to launch in other countries. Each country brings its own challenges, but it’s great to experience so many different cultures. I’m incredibly lucky to work with a great bunch of people who all share the same passion for swimming. As part of the strategic board, I shape the journey of the company as a whole, which is both challenging and rewarding, but it’s great being able to see what an impact we make on children and families across the world. What was the proudest moment of your career? Outside of work, I act as an officiant for Open Water Swimming and have been very lucky to have officiated at some amazing events, including the World Masters Championships in Italy in 2012, where I was chief referee. I also served as national technical official at the London 2012 Olympic Games. But my proudest moment was being selected as the international technical official representative for Europe at the Rio 2016 Olympics. It was an incredible experience from start to finish and one that I will certainly never forget.
it’s great to see the impact we have on children and families across the world

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