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Meet the Team

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Our Team

  • Franchise Owners

    Franchise Owners

    Liz and Phil Gabriel

    "My Puddle Ducks journey started back in May 2009 when I was looking for opportunities to set up my own business and I fell in love with the Puddle Ducks brand. My training and business set up took place in Autumn 2009 and Puddle Ducks Nottinghamshire and North Leicestershire was born on 4th January 2010 with just 16 customers and 3 pools! 

    By 2014 the business had grown so much that my husband Phil also came on board full time and now spends the majority of his time managing our own Swimming Pool and The Health Club and Café that came with it when we bought it in July 2017.  

    We celebrated our 10th birthday in January 2020 and are now lucky enough to operate out of several venues, along with a fantastic team of people!

    As well as teaching thousands of children to swim and love the water we have also helped to forge many friendships and make lots of wonderful memories along the way. We feel very privileged to be part of so many children’s formative years and look forward to lots more Puddle Duck's fun in the years to come!" 

    Liz and Phil - Franchise Owners

  • Welcome to the Office Team!

    Want to know who is behind the scenes and helps to ensure that everything runs "swimming-ly"?? Say hello to some not so familiar faces - Our Office Team!!

    Becky - Customer Services Manager

    "I joined Puddle Ducks in January 2017 as a Customer Service Manager, so I manage all customer communication from new and existing customers via email and telephone.

    My youngest son Jack is in Swim Academy and I love how much his confidence has grown since he started his lessons with Puddle Ducks.  He started off extremely anxious in the water and wouldn’t even put his face below the surface.

    The individual tailoring of the activities and the lovely teachers have really helped him combat those fears and turn him into a child who now is happy to zoom down water slides whilst on holiday, which is amazing to see. I have 3 children and working school hours in this job allows me a brilliant work life balance."

    Andrea - Marketing Manager

    "I first joined Puddle Ducks with my eldest daughter Abigail in 2013 and then with my younger daughter Jessica in 2015. Both my girls have been with Puddle Ducks from Floaties to Dippers and are both in Swim Academy now they are at school.

    Each of my girls are very different in terms of confidence levels so it has been great to experience first-hand how the teachers adapt the activities within a lesson to ensure a happy swimmer who progresses at a rate that is just right for them.

    When a part time marketing role became available in August 2017, I jumped at the change to help market a brand I love, whilst enabling me to drop off and pick up both my girls from school each day."

  • Our Teaching Team

    Nikola Nascimento

    Head of Teaching

    Baby and Pre School and Swim Academy Teacher

    Where do I teach?

    The Key Health Club, The Nottingham Sherwood Hotel and The Hilton Hotel.

    All about me:

    "I became a customer of Puddle Ducks in October 2010 when my first-born son Isaac was a just a few weeks old and I loved the classes from the start. Once Isaac was a Splasher I was looking for a new career, that would both fit in well with Isaac and one that I would also really enjoy, so I trained to become a Baby and Preschool swimming teacher with Puddle Ducks and so in September 2011 my teaching career began!

    12 months later I was enjoying it so much  I also trained to become a Puddle Ducks Swim Academy Swimming teacher, as our Puddle Ducks children had grown and many were now of school age, so it was great to be able to still teach them and remain part of their swimming journey.

    My second son Samuel came along in February 2013 and after only a term off I was back in the water doing the job I love!

    I was promoted to Senior teacher in October 2014 so was now in charge of observing the other teachers in the team, to ensure we are all teaching to the same high Puddle Ducks standards.

    I love the face that my role has developed and changed so much over the years, but I still get to enjoy the buzz of teaching and seeing the children progress. In July 2017 I was delighted to be appointed Head of Teaching and more recently I was appointed as a Programme Assessor for Duck HQ. This means that I can now assess and sign off new trainee teachers and my Head of Teaching role means I am in charge of all things technical within our franchise."

    My favourite activity:

    "My favourite activity...ooo it’s so hard to choose, but I absolutely love all things to do with PJ week! It is so important to me to see how all the children have learnt personal survival skills and can put them in to practice."

    My most memorable moment:

    "I go to work with a smile and go home with an even bigger one! It is so rewarding to see children and their parents go through their swimming journey! When parents tell me their child talks  about me at home, I feel most proud that I play an important role in their life and their love for water."

  • Jayne Ascott

    Baby and Pre School and Swim Academy Teacher

    Where do I teach?

    The Key Health Club, Kirby Muxloe School and Hilton Hotel Leicester. 

    All about me:

    "I originally joined the South Leicestershire Puddle Ducks team as a teacher in 2011 and what drew me to the role was the opportunity to train for and teach baby swimming. At that point, I was teaching school age swimming and was becoming increasingly alarmed by how many older children just couldn’t swim. I realised how important it was to start teaching swimming and life preserving skills from a very early age and so really wanted to get involved in baby swimming. 

    I also joined the Notts and North Leics. team in April 2016 to take on a teaching session in Loughborough and then fully joined the team in April 2017 when the Leicester pools became part of the Notts and North Leics. franchise.  I teach all Baby and Pre School classes, Swim Academy Levels 1 -4 and Elite Swim Academy level 5 and 6.

    What I love most about my role is meeting all of our lovely customers and getting to know them.  I get to meet some real characters and it’s never a dull moment in the pool!  It’s such a privilege and so rewarding to be part of their swimming journeys, from the very beginning, in earning their trust to seeing them grow in confidence and achieve some amazing things!" 

    My favourite activity:

    "For me it has to be PJ week! This week is so much fun even though there is a serious side to it and it’s great to see our swimmers and parents enjoying every minute!"

    My most memorable moment:

    "To see my swimmers achieving and progressing each week is always very memorable for me so to choose just one is so difficult!!! So I will have to say that my most memorable moment is when Leicester City Football Club won the Premier League and I taught my lessons wearing a blue wig....."

  • Alex Shelton-Knight

    Baby and Pre School Teacher

    Where do I teach?

    The Key Health Club and Hilton Leicester

    All about me:

    "Like many of the team, I started out with Puddle Ducks as a customer with my eldest daughter in 2014. We both loved the classes so decided to take the plunge to train to become a  Baby and Preschool teacher when the opportunity arose and my teaching career began in April 2018. 

    I was a midwife in my former work life so absolutely love the nurturing side of my Puddle Ducks teaching role but also the improved work life balance it provides with my two girls Macy and Imogen who are currently in Swim Academy and Little Dippers."

    My favourite activity:

    "I just love Rudolph the red nosed Reindeer on the float at Christmas, I always have such a laugh doing this!"

    My most memorable moments:

    "This is a hard one as there are so many! I'd say the moments when any of my Dippers get their 5m award is always something that will stick with me, especially the ones who have been working really hard or have over come confidence issues."

  • Rachael Slater


    Swim Academy Teacher

    Where do I teach?

    The Key Health Club and The Portland Centre

    All about me:

    "I joined Puddle Ducks as a Swim Academy teacher in April 2018. I have been a swimming teacher since July 2014 and I also teach school swimming.

    What I love about the Puddle Ducks Swim Academy programme is that it incorporates fun into the lessons whilst teaching children such an important life skill. I love teaching and seeing children progress and achieve things they may have thought they couldn’t do." 

    My favourite activity:

    "I love everything to do with PJ Week as we always have lots of fun but it is the most important lesson we teach!"

    My most memorable moments:

    "Over the years, I have had customers come back to me with stories where their child has had to put what they have learnt into practice. It makes me so proud to know that my swimmers are able to go away and understand how to be safe around open water."

  • Lizzi Ryder Gadd

    Swim Academy Teacher

    Where do I teach?

    The Key Health Club and The Portland Centre

    All about me:

    I have always worked with children and loved every aspect of it. When a close friend suggested that I re-train as a swimming instructor, I jumped at the chance! Lockdown has delayed my training but now that I am fully qualified, I can't wait to start! 

    My favourite activity:

    I have so many but I absolutely love watching the children in my Level 3 and 4 classes learning how to blow bubbles to enable them to sit on the bottom of the pool. They love to do this fun activity and it is great to watch them do it! 

    My most memorable moments:

    I love to see how much each child progresses and grows in confidence each week and how a little change can make all the difference. A child in one of my Level 1 classes would not put her face in the water. Her Mum didn't have a lot of water confidence but bought herself some goggles so that she could wear them in the lesson with her daughter. She immediately put her face in, just like her mum! It was lovely to see and now that parents are no longer in the water, I know that she will carry on going from strength to strength.

  • Laura Spackman

    Baby and Pre School Teacher

    Where do I teach?

    The Key Health Club 

    All about me:

    Both my boys swim with Puddle Ducks and we have all thoroughly enjoyed the classes. My eldest, Wilf is now in Swim Academy but I still get to enjoy being in the water with my youngest son each week.

    I was previously a primary school teacher and absolutely loved working with the little ones. Having taken some time out to be with my boys, I now can't wait to get in the water and back to being a teacher again!  

    My favourite activity:

    I'm sure that I will have many.... 

    My most memorable moments: