Writing this blog post sat on a Leamington-bound bus feels like light years away from 2017, when I first joined WUSAC. I never realised what lay ahead, both academically and in my diving life! For those who don’t know me, I’m Tom, the club’s Training Officer, and for the past (almost) 2 years, I’ve been in charge of planning and running all the SCUBA training that goes on in the club, whether that be a 1 hour theory session, a 2-day open water session, or a week long expedition to the coast! Some people don’t realise that I only started learning to dive when I joined university, and in my time here I’ve become a qualified Sports Diver, Compressor Operator and Assistant Instructor! I joined WUSAC simply because I’d always wanted to learn to dive and university seemed like the best time to try a new sport. I never realised I’d be coming out the other side with 3 qualifications!
I started out in exactly the same place as Denys (see his excellent blog post below) and have actually been one of his students on several occasions! I can’t reiterate enough how much I’ve been supported by the club over the past 2 years – the benefit of being the training officer is if I’m feeling stressed or just really want to dive, I can organise a session and tag along! I’m forever learning new underwater skills, and recently got to help out one of our instructors trial some new techniques and skills in the pool to put in a PADI course (I'm a BSAC diver through and through, but definitely don’t object to diving with people from other schools, it’s another great way to learn new techniques!). The instructors in this club are phenomenal – I spend a huge amount of time planning sessions with them and the amount I’ve learnt from them is staggering!
What I’ve found really satisfying is being able to teach the skills I’ve learnt back to new students, who are in the same position I was back in 2017. Comparing my knowledge now to back then, it’s quite scary how much I know about diving! One of my favourite things to do now is visit the underwater world, which is so different to anything you can experience on the surface. I was very lucky to be able to dive off the coast of Bali in Indonesia 2 summers ago; totally different to UK diving, for a start it’s like diving into a hot bath, but also the coral reefs and wildlife are amazing! I swam up close with tropical fish, sharks and even a sea turtle! Learning to dive in the UK with BSAC means you can dive pretty much anywhere, and I plan to make use of my qualifications wherever I travel on future holidays (any experienced divers out there, let me know some good new spots??)
Well, my stops coming up, so I’ll have to leave it there (yep, you really can write a whole blog post in Leamington rush hour...) but hopefully I’ve given you a good insight into my experience with the club. I don’t plan to leave it there though – hopefully you’ll still see me around in the pool and on trips! I’ve got to go and plan the latest training trip now, our yearly visit to the Cornish coastline to train up some new divers! Maybe you’re reading this and you’ve never dived before? If so, get in touch with me! I’ll give you all the details you need to join us under the deep blue, and maybe I’ll catch you in a theory lecture, pool session or dive trip sometime soon!
See you amongst the fishes,
Tom (Training Officer)
Hi everyone! I’m Denys, one of the instructors and regular members of the club. I want to use this blog opportunity to tell you why WUSAC and diving have become such a massive part of my life.
I have joined WUSAC back in my first year at the university (2014) having had no previous experience with any sub-aquatic sport. Upon joining, my mind was racing with question like ‘Is SCUBA safe?’, ‘Will I pass the training?’ & ‘Will I be accepted?’. But, perhaps my biggest worry was that I was suffering from Thalassophobia (fear of deep water). It was so extreme that I would close my eyes every time I had to swim over the 3 meters part of the pool. Oh, how wrong I was to be worried.
From day 1 the support I got was immense! I have met the best people in my life, many of whom I call my closest friends, learnt to dive under the best instruction I could only hope for and I have completely eradicated my phobia! Fast forward a year, I have passed my Ocean Diver course, done my first ever Night Dive and shortly after my first ever Wreck Dive as well as played in my first Underwater Hockey competition. I FELL IN LOVE. I became obsessed with the idea of going underwater. So in my second year I have racked up over 60 hours underwater, completed Sports Diver and played numerous national & international push tournaments. But one thought just wouldn’t leave my mind. I wanted to share my experience with others. I wanted to share the love for diving with others. And that’s when I decided to become an instructor.
Without doubt I have signed up for an Instructor Foundation Course, passing it just in time to take on my first ever try dive. It then took me 2 years of teaching and diving to rack up enough experience to gain my Dive leader qualification & there it was… my goal: Open Water Instructor. So close within my reach. Booking myself onto the exam was terrifying. I would wake up in the middle of the night thinking ‘Am I good enough?’, ‘What if something goes wrong?’. But then once again, the club has shown so much support, helping me deal with the nerves and making me believe in myself.
15 May 2019, four and a half years after I started diving, I have received a letter though the post congratulating me on passing my Open Water Instructor exams and providing me with my official instructor number. My goal was achieved. There was no end to my joy. Until I realised there is still a ladder to climb. New lifetime goals were set, new paths defined.
So here I stand, having defined & achieved my lifetime goal, having conquered my phobia and having shared my experience with as many people as I possibly could. I have gained new friends for life and experiences I could never have gotten elsewhere. And that is why WUSAC still plays such a huge part in my life. Bring on new horizons, new depths and new experiences!
With Oceans of Love,