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)