This is my story


Aqualife Swimming takes a unique and holistic approach to swim education, focusing on the creation of confident, safe and enjoyable relationships with the aquatic world, from the swimming pool to the sea.  

From babies to adults, Aqualife tailors lessons to the individual, working with each swimmer to help them achieve their goals and benefit from a life-long love of water.

We offer a range of engaging classes designed to develop ability, confidence and love of all things aquatic! Adult Aquafit, Aquanatal, Parent and Baby/Toddler classes, STA accredited children’s lessons and our special Junior Lifeguard programme for 8 years plus swimmers.  Bespoke Family Workshops and 1- to-1 private lessons are also available with instruction tailored to specific needs and requirements.

I am also a STA Tutor and provide instructor training for teachers.

I live in Kent with my husband and two children, 9 year old son and 5 year old daughter.  I am passionate about everything aquatic and love travelling and exploring the world, above and below the water!


In a nutshell

  • Name: Penny Watkins, Founder and Instructor
  • Company: Aqualife Swimming
  • Established: 2013
  • Web:
Penny Watkins


Word of Mouth referrals


Renewal rate

Other local swimming schools offering the full range of lessons we provide

You are obviously passionate about what you do.  Was that your main driver for setting up your own swimming school?

I taught diving and snorkeling in Greece, Egypt and the Canary Islands for many years and felt passionate that teaching swimming should be more than just what happens in the local pool.  Giving inspiration to swimmers about the magic of the oceans, knowledge of aquatic creatures and environment and how being a strong, confident swimmer can open up a world of aquatic enjoyment.  This was the ethos I wanted to bring to Aqualife and all our swimmers.

What is a typical workday like for you?

It’s definitely full on! When I am teaching on the weekends I am up and out early or teaching evenings so back late.  The rest of the week is admin/marketing etc which is fitted in around school runs, after school activities.

How does it fit in with your family life?

Although running my own business is chaotic, the flexibility I have to work around the family is great.  Being able to take and collect the children from school, be around for events and of course have the school holidays free is very much worth all the hard work!  Working weekends is difficult but they often come with me and help out.

What’s your biggest day to day challenge in running your swimming school?

Not enough hours in the day and working 7 days a week in term time is exhausting!

Can you tell us about the process of setting up the business?

I worked for a small swim school whose owner was retiring and their pool was closing down, a number of clients said they would love to continue swimming with me so I decided to look for pool space.  I was very lucky and managed to secure a few hours at a time and gradually increased this to where we are today.

Once I had pool space I started to advertise locally on Facebook groups and Website pages.  The majority of clients have come from word of mouth recommendations.

What do you love most about running your business?

First and foremost I love that my job is my passion!  Being able to be creative and bring my ideas to life through our lessons whilst providing an essential life skill is incredibly rewarding.  From teaching adults to babies it is amazing to be part of their aquatic journey.   I have always been a maverick so having no boss is also a major plus!!