"It will be the best decision you’ll ever make even if you can only give an hour or more you will learn so much about yourself and other around you."


Name: Rebecca Foreman

Age: 24

Hometown: Carnmoney

Current voluntary roles in sport: swim coach



1.What playing experience did you have prior to your voluntary roles within City of Belfast Swimming Club? (briefly mention netball/swimming personal achievements)

Before volunteering I competed in both swimming and netball, reaching a good standard in both, Irish level in Swimming and Ulster level in netball.

2.What first attracted you to volunteering in swimming? (pass on knowledge, pathway to employment etc)

Honestly, I never seen myself continuing in sport after I left swimming, as I quit due to injury, but I did go back to swimming to keep fit in university. That was when I was asked if I could help some of the other coaches with their sessions. At first I was doing as it would help with future employment but now 4 years later I have my own squad and really love it.

3.What coaching/administrative qualifications did you have prior to your various roles? If none, how were you supported in carrying out your voluntary roles?

The only qualification I had prior to starting my role was a level 1 swim teacher. However, I did have 10 years’ experience as a swimmer. Therefore, that give me confidence to take up my role within the club.  



4. How long have you been involved in your voluntary positions and what has sustained your involvement?

I have been involved for 4 years. I have stayed involved because of the love I have towards the sport and the enjoyment I have with the children in my squad and the rest of the club. I feel true fulfilment seeing the children achieve their own individual goals (from personal best to national medals). I enjoy being able to offer my support to the swimmers.

5. Have you gained additional qualifications in your voluntary roles? How have these supported you?

Yes, quite a few. I’ve gained qualifications as a club coach, a swim teacher (level 1 and level 2) and I have had good support from everyone within the club.

6. Besides additional qualifications, what have you gained in these experiences? (Personal development, new friendships, employability skills, enjoyment)

All the above. I can truly say I wouldn’t be the person I am today without swimming. Since I started volunteering I have gained new friendships all over Ireland which is another form of support for myself. Personal skills more confidence in giving presentation, talking in front of people. By being involved in this sport it has given me the tools I needed to father my own career for example I wouldn’t be able to go to Africa to do sport psychology this summer without the experience, skill and confidence swimming has given me.   

7. Greatest moment as a volunteer? (Team winning, greater uptake in sport, nominated for an award, gaining a new qualification).

See everyone enjoy the sport. My role within COB is to get the children ready for weekly competitions and get them through the up and downs of the sport.
I have also been lucky enough to be part of the coaching staff to win awards with our involved in Straight2Swimming.
S2S is the world’s first tailored swim program for pre-and post-surgical scoliosis patients under 18 years of age, run by City Of Belfast Swimming Club and supported by K2M. This program helps to promote fitness, confidence, well-being and helps encourage scoliosis patients back into sport.



8. What are the three best things about volunteering in sport?

1 – gaining new knowledge about myself and sharing my own knowledge with the swimmer.

2 – the enjoyment of the sport (even with the early morning)

3 –  Having so many children look up to you as a role model

9. What advice would you provide to other women and girls considering a voluntary role in sport? (given the typical barriers such as lack of time, balancing work/studies etc.)

Do it! It will be the best decision you’ll ever make even if you can only give an hour or more you will learn so much about yourself and other around you.