An Olympic and Commonwealth swimming champion from the North East is hoping to make a splash with his new business venture – a unique swimming academy.
Chris Cook – double Commonwealth Champion and Olympic finalist – has launched Swim Buddies, an academy based at The Education Village in Darlington which will cater for all children at every level, aged four to 11.
The South Shields-born athlete aims to recruit a number of swimming teachers over the next few months and he already has plans further into the Durham and Tees Valley area in the next year.
Mr Cook, Swim Buddies director and ambassador, said: “In a study by ASA, one in three children leave primary school without being able to swim.
“One of my favourite memories was learning to swim and I believe a happy and fun introduction to any sport is vital for youngsters.
“The academy is our opportunity to give the best learn to swim experience we possibly can.
“We will also document each child’s progress which will enable us to tailor sessions to specifically target skills that each swimmer needs to accomplish.
The international swimmer, who represented Great Britain for almost 10 years, learned to swim at Temple Park Leisure Centre in South Shields.
His career saw him rise to being double Commonwealth champion, British and Commonwealth record holder, European medallist, world medallist and Olympic finalist.
Since retiring from swimming, Chris, who now lives in Yarm, Teesside, has been inspiring young people in schools across the UK, including through The Education Village which provides motivational training.