A little about Steve ... ​

As a competitive open water swimmer, duathlete, & triathlete, Steve has represented his GB age-group at the World Championships, competed at all distances from Sprint to Ironman Triathlon, with a best place of 4th overall in 10k swim races, and placing 2nd out of the water at his first Ironman. Following extensive training and swim coaching experience with the Swim Smooth team based in Australia, Steve has a very keen eye for detail during stroke analysis & correction. He enjoys coaching swimmers of all abilities, and has worked with complete beginners to elite athletes, European & World Champions. 

One of his more crazy escapades was to complete all 7 of the 'then' RaceNewForest Triathlons in a week for charity. Along with RaceNewForest Owner/Director  Richard Ilses and 2 other intrepid triathletes, all 7 RFN races were covered within a week. Starting with the renowned Half Ironman, distances ranged from supersprint, standard, half and long course to the famous Forestman Iron distance race on the last day. Coming in in a time of 11:20 for the iron distance with a sub 1 hour 3.8K swim.  

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​Sam Aplin​

  • 2016 World Age-group Duathlon Champion, 3rd female overall. 

  • 2013, 2014, 2015 Silver Medallist, World Age-group Duathlon Championships.

  • MSc in Applied Sport & Exercise Psychology 

  • BA (Hons) Sport Coaching & Sport Development 

  • British Triathlon Level 2 Coach

  • British Triathlon Level 2 Diploma (course in progress)

  • STA Level 2 Open Water Swimming Coach

  • Certified Advanced Aquaphobia Coach

  • STA Level 2 Swimming Teacher

  • Swim Smooth Coach Education Course

  • Qualified RLSS Open Water Lifeguard

A little about Sam ...

As a competitive duathlete, triathlete, & open water swimmer, Sam's proudest achievement is finishing 1st in her age-group at the 2016 World Duathlon Championships, after 3 consecutive silver medals at the 2013, 2014, & 2015 Championship events. While Sam was never taught to swim front crawl when she was young, she was drawn towards triathlon & taught herself the front crawl technique and how to relax & breathe with her face in the water, well enough to join a triathlon swimming squad in 2013. Since then, she has won two 3.8k races in open water, competed at the Ironman 70.3 World Age-group (AG) Championships, become Xterra European AG Champion, and qualified for the Xterra World AG Championships. Scroll down for a few more of Sam's athletic achievements!  


Sam is an experienced swimming teacher & coach, teaching both adults and children in the pool from complete beginner to advanced, and coaching front crawl for triathlon in the pool and open water. Sam loves to work with swimmers on a 1:1 & small-group basis, particularly beginners and those who are nervous or fearful in these environments. Sam also understands how stressful swimming in claustrophobic environments such as open water races can be for any level of swimmer, and loves to help swimmers learn how to stay relaxed in these situations too. 


Studying for her MSc in Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology during 2018-2020, gave Sam the opportunity to further her interest into the relationship between a person's emotions and their bodies' physical response. Her interest in the psychological stress response and how this can affect athletic performance and make an athlete more susceptible to injury, stems from recent personal experience and her wish to understand 'why'. Completing her Masters dissertation, titled, "From World Champion to long-term Injury and chronic Illness: an Autoethnography of an international duathlete's journey", provided Sam with an in-depth understanding of how non-sport-related psychological stress can impact upon an athlete's physical performance and well-being. "I believe my past experiences of coping with chronic psychological stress whilst training for performance sport, and the physical consequences such as injury and illness, are invaluable to me as a coach when working with athlete's with different lifestyles and of all ability levels. When working with nervous and water-phobic swimmers in particular, I understand the many ways in which such emotional stress may affect them physically" - Sam Aplin.  

Major achievements during 2017: 

  • Competitor, World AG Duathlon Championships, Penticton, Canada. 

  • 4th female overall - The Wales Marathon, Long Course Weekend. 

  • 6th female overall - Wales Long Course Weekend, full distance. 

Major achievements during 2016: 

  • World Duathlon Champion (Age-group 25-29), World Duathlon Championships, Aviles, Spain.  

Major achievements during 2015:

  • Silver medallist (Age-group 25-29), Team GB, 2015 World Duathlon Championships, Adelaide, Australia.

  • Xterra European Champion (Age-group 25-29) - Invitation to Xterra World Championships, Australia.

Major achievements during 2014:

  • Silver medallist (Age-group 25-29), Team GB, 2014 World Duathlon Championships, Pontevedra, Spain.

  • Competitor, 2014 Ironman 70.3 World AG Championships. 

  • Qualified for 2015 European AG Duathlon Championships. 

  • 2013/14 Series Champion - Human Race Off-road Duathlon 

  • Gold Medallist (Age-group 25-29), & 3rd female overall - National Duathlon Championships. 

  • Awarded 'Senior Sports Person of the Year' - Eastleigh Sports Awards. 

  • Awarded '2013 Ladies Club Champion of the Year' - Eastleigh Running Club.

  • Invitation to be guest speaker at the 2014 Triathlon Show, Manchester. 

Major achievements during 2013:

  • Silver medallist (Age-group 20-24), Team GB - World Duathlon Championships, Ottawa, Canada. 

  • 1st European Finisher (Age-group 20-24), Team GB - World Duathlon Championships, Ottawa, Canada.

  • English Cross-duathlon Champion (Age-group 20-24).

  • 3rd place (Age-group 20-24) - National Duathlon Championships. 

  • Winner - Clarendon Half Marathon (first ever half marathon!)

  • Awarded 'Athlete of the Year' - Eastleigh Running Club. 

Major achievements during 2012:

  • 4th place (Age-group 20-24), Team GB - World Duathlon Championships, Nancy, France.

  • 2012/13 Series Champion - Human Race Off-road Duathlon. 

  • 3rd place (Age-group 20-24) - National Duathlon Championships. 

How we can help you

Pool-based 1:1 Stroke Correction & Stroke Development Sessions

Coming soon - new private facility! Steve and Sam are excited for the launch of their own private Endless Pool with shower & toilet facilities, from which they will be offering their coached sessions any time to suit you! 

These sessions are focused on freestyle stroke technique and development, with an emphasis on drills for stroke correction. Ideal for any level of swimmer looking to develop their freestyle technique for pool or open water swimming. The session will start with a 15 minute chat before you go onto poolside at your booked pool time - this gives you and your coach the opportunity to chat about your swimming background, any known issues that you'd like to address, any longer-term aspirations, and your expectations for your 1:1 session. Once in the pool, the session will start with the opportunity for your coach to watch you swim (& collect data for stroke analysis if you have chosen this option) and build a picture of how best to take your swimming forwards. Following that, the session will be structured based on your current swimming abilities and aimed specifically at the immediate issues at hand. All equipment needed for the session is provided, except for your swim wear, hat & goggles.

If you are looking for swimming lessons for all strokes (freestyle, backstroke, breastroke, and/or butterfly), please contact Sam directly using the email address or phone number below to chat & book a session. 

Saturday's, 11:45 - 12:45 (+ 15 mins chat beforehand)

Wildern Leisure Centre,
Hedge End, 

1:1 coached session, including data collection & stroke analysis, and follow-up 60 minute Zoom chat: £

1:1 coached session, focusing on any/all stroke(s) (with Sam only): £42
(Prices include pool entry fee & pool hire)

We also offer 2:1 or 3:1 sessions dependant on swimmer compatibility - please chat to us to discuss suitability.  

Please contact us directly for these sessions so that we can arrange a date and time suitable to pool availability.

121swimcoach@gmail.com or 07530177980 (Steve)
sam121coach@gmail.com or 07790202521 (Sam)

1:1's included in our Online Coaching package.
See below for details!

Online Coaching  

For those who are looking for more frequent guidance and support, your coaches offer online coaching via Training Peaks or Xhale. This option is suited to those who are training for an event, or working towards a personal goal. Your coach will build your training plan around the number of times you can swim per week, and your other life commitments. Frequent feedback from you as the swimmer, is essential for your coach to provide a highly personalised plan that is best suited to you and your continuous progression. It also enables your coach to change and adapt any sessions they have already set you throughout the week according to your needs - for example, your coach may decide to change "Thursday's" set, based on "Monday's" session feedback. Of course, you will also receive feedback on a weekly basis from your coach. Unlike other coaching packages, your Swim-Freestyle coaches do not believe in limiting the frequency of email or phone contact your are "allowed" with your coach - "if you need us, we are here to help" - Steve & Sam. 

A 1:1 coached pool session (as detailed above), or open water session (as detailed below) is essential as a starting point for your online coaching plan. This enables your coach to meet you, see you swim, and decide on the best starting point from which to take your swimming forwards. Once your online coaching is underway, the occasional 1:1 session would always be encouraged - while your coaches will gain insight from your feedback online, your proprioception of your own stroke can sometimes be a little different to what's actually going on, and so it's always useful for your coaches to see you swim from time to time!  However, any subsequent face-to-face sessions, will always be at your request. 

Cost: £55 per c/m 

Please do contact us for more information or to chat about your swimming. 

Coming soon, for 2023! 

Online coaching packages to include run & bike elements for those training for triathlon, duathlon, aquathlon & Otillo! 

1:1's included in our Online Coaching package.
See above for details!

Limited Availability

3 athletes per coach

Open water coaching at Ellingham Lake 

Steve & Sam are proud to offer their coaching services in the beautiful clear waters of Ellingham Lake. These sessions are available during the lake opening times of:

Saturday's: 6:30am - 8:30am
Monday's: 5:30pm - 7:30pm  
Wednesday's: 6:15am - 8:15am (every other week)

Ellingham Water Ski & Wakeboard Club
Ellingham Drove,
BH24 3PJ.

We offer group and 1:1 sessions where we can work on any element of open water swim training and racing, including stroke technique, acclimatisation in open water, breath control & breathing patterns, buoy turns, race starts, and swim exits & transitions. All abilities welcome from 'first time' open water swimmers to experienced swimmers & triathletes.
To give your coaches the very best view of your swim stroke, they coach from a Standup Paddle Board along side you. However, they are happy to swim alongside you during the session, if you'd prefer. 

For our premium package, your coaches use the latest technology, which enables them to coach/talk to you as you swim to provide relevant stroke corrections without the need to stop or interrupt you swimming. One of the great advantages of this equipment is that it gives you as the swimmer, the opportunity to recognise the changes as you make them, and how they feel compared to your previous stroke technique. This technology also enables your coaches to provide post-swim stroke analysis & feedback. (Depending on the package you opt for. Various options are detailed on our bookings page)

Cost per session:
£35 for 1:1 coached open water session.

Group sessions available on request.

121swimcoach@gmail.com or 07530177980 (Steve)
sam121coach@gmail.com or 07790202521 (Sam) 



Do you have a fear of water?
Would you like to build confidence in the pool or open water?

As Swim-Freestyle's very own Certified Advanced Aquaphobia Coach, Sam (scroll to the top of the page to 'Meet your coaches') is qualified to professionally teach water-phobic people or timid non-swimmers, or anyone who does not like water. If you want to improve your quality of life and learn how to overcome your fear of water in a safe, professional environment, Sam would love to support you through the Aquaphobia Learning Programme, where lessons are gentle, calm, and always progress at your own preferred pace.

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"As someone who has first-hand experience of coping with a phobia, I understand how overwhelming and debilitating a phobia can be, and how quickly a phobic response can occur & escalate into a full-blown panic attack. I also understand how incredibly difficult it is to make that initial step towards overcoming your fear by exposing yourself to the phobic stimulus (i.e. water). I want to congratulate you for making that first step in considering some lessons, and reassure you that you will be safe and fully supported as we make gentle progress towards overcoming your water phobia" - Sam Aplin. 

Aquaphobia Learning Program (ALP)

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The ALP is a 12-stage approach to overcoming your fear of water, providing you with the confidence, skills and techniques to enjoy the unique freedom that being in water can give. 

Distinctive from swimming programmes, the ALP focuses on eliminating and desensitising fear, with the physical mechanics of swimming being secondary. The aim of the program is to teach you how to relax, float, feel happy and in control in the water, and reduce all stresses in a safe and careful way. 

Each course is tailored to your personal needs and degree of fear, progressing at your own preferred pace. When you have achieved a stage, we will progress on to the next one in sequence, with no set timescale or pressures. You will learn key swimming skills that really boost enjoyment and relaxation. 

About your lessons 

How long will my lessons last?

The duration of the lesson is dependant on your level of water phobia - we have 55 minutes of available pool time per session.

How many lessons will I need?
A minimum of 6 lessons are recommended to see progress, however this is dependant on your level of water phobia. 
What is a typical lesson like?  

Your first lesson will be your induction. This will take place in a quiet place away from the pool and typically lasts for 30 minutes. We use this time to get to know each other, and to assess your level of water phobia. If you feel ready, I will then introduce you to the changing rooms, the locker systems, and a walk onto poolside so that you are familiar with these before your next lesson.

Subsequent lessons will take place in the pool environment. I will be in the water with you during all water-based activities (until you are ready to complete these unaided). I will always provide a demonstration before I ask you do try any activity, and we can do any activity together if you'd prefer. 

Please feel free to wear a t-shirt / clothing over your swimming costume for extra comfort if you'd prefer. 
What Covid-19 Safety Measures have you got in place?

I understand that Covid-19 can exacerbate levels of fear and anxiety. Both myself and pool facilities have safety procedures in place to minimise risk, including one-way systems throughout the facility and social distancing rules. Inside and outside of the pool environment, we will follow the 2-meter social distancing guidelines. I will be wearing a clear visor during all lessons so that any activities involving close contact can be undertaken in a safe way. My visor will only be removed temporarily for any activities which involve submersion of the face. 

What if I have any other questions or concerns?
Please do get in touch, I would love to chat with you.  
You can contact me by phone, email or our facebook page.
All contact details are at the bottom of this page. 

What we offer 

1:1 Pool Lessons

Wildern Leisure Centre Pool, Hedge End.

Saturday's: 11:45 - 12:45 (+ 15 mins chat beforehand)
Cost for 1:1: £42
(55 mins of pool time + 15 chat beforehand)

(price includes pool entry fee & pool hire) 

2:1 & 3:1 lessons available dependant upon your level of aquaphobia. 

These sessions are suited to those who are fearful in or in close proximity to water. 

1:1 Open water sessions

Acclimatisation & Building Confidence in Open Water, at Ellingham Lake. 

2:1 or 3:1 sessions available on request.

Saturday's: 6:30am - 8:30am
Wednesday's: 6:15am - 8:15am

Cost for 1:1 £42 (55 mins)
(price does not include lake entry fee) 

These sessions are for those who can already swim, and would like to swim in open water but are fearful or lack confidence in an open water environment. 

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Do get in touch to find out more, or to chat about which option is best for you. 

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We would love to hear from you!