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Harpenden swimming teacher named an inspiration for helping swimmers conquer fear of open water

PUBLISHED: 15:00 27 July 2018

Heather Schelhase.

Heather Schelhase.

Penny Bird

An open water swimming instructor was named one of the most inspirational women in Harpenden.

Heather Schelhase, who was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, runs open water pool sessions in Harpenden for her company, Amanzi Open Water.

She offers professional swim coaching for adults and children who want to swim in open water, helping to bridge the transition from the pool to a lake or the sea and teaching good front crawl technique.

The coaching teaches ‘sighting’ techniques so swimmers can swim straight without the sides and lanes of a pool to guide them, and is suitable for both recreational and competitive swimmers.

Heather founded Amanzi, which means ‘water’ in Zulu, in 2016. She moved to the UK in 2004 and started teaching swimming in 2009.

She said: “I have always loved swimming. I swam when I was happy and swam when I was sad but the end result was always feeling amazing afterwards.

“I had wonderful swimming opportunities when my family and I lived in Connecticut for two years and was able to swim in the Long Island Sound and a variety of rivers.

“Lots of swimmers find the open water appealing but also find the activity totally daunting and sometimes an unreachable goal. I am passionate about helping new swimmers embrace the open water.

“By listening to each swimmer’s fears, which are very real, we work through the triggers to overcome what holds the swimmer back.

“Open water swimming has not always been easy for me and because of this I totally understand what a new open water swimmer feels like, so each swim will be a different experience.”

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