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American swimming coach teaches SZ kids in English

Release time:2017-02-10    To share:  

A Ding

It is not unusual to see swimming pools in a metropolis like Shenzhen, but a swim club with coaches teaching in English is still a special sight. David Awesome Swim Club, which is located in Futian District, is an international swim club that combines coaching styles from China, the U.S. and around the world.



“Half of our team members are foreigners speaking English,” said David Shomaker, head coach of the club. There’s no worry that children cannot understand the English teaching, because in swimming lessons, there’s repetition of actions and teachers will also show them how to do it. But if a kid really encounters language barriers, the club also has Chinese coaches who can interpret for them.

David Shomaker is an American who grew up in Washington D.C. The young man embarked on his journey in Shenzhen in 2008 and started this club in 2010. Before coming to Shenzhen, he had worked in marketing and sales for a factory in Taiwan, where he developed a love for China and Chinese culture.



As Shomaker’s family support whatever David likes, the young man started his David Awesome Swim Club without hesitation.

Shomaker learned to swim when he was only 2. His parents are both from California and grew up near the beach. They put Shomaker into a pool at an early age. He was able to swim when he was only 2 or 3 and started competing when he was 5. He’s such a big fan of swimming that that he competed all the way through university. In 2016, Shomaker won fifth place in the 23rd National Winter Swimming Championship held in Shenzhen.

Shomaker remembers his youth swimming coaches fondly. “I can still clearly remember my coaches. They were awesome and strong guys. They taught me butterfly strokes and other things in a very nice way. When I was about 5 years old, I really loved my coach. They were so nice that I was always willing to go to the pool and see them. “

“I chose swimming because of my coach and I want to recreate that history,” David expressed.

David majored in psychology and film in college. As for why he started a business not related to his majors, he explained that he’s a big fan of challenges. He said, “I have to be challenged. China is a big challenge for me because of its language and culture. Language to some extent is difficult of course, but I think understanding why Chinese people are saying something and what they are doing are equally important to succeed in a different country.”

After coming to China, David decided to enlarge his friends circle before starting a business. “So in the first 2 years, I worked with many people from different industries. That was a period of exchanging a lot of business cards with others,” David recalled.

Finally, he got a chance to work with nice pools. The club now has a few locations in Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

David’s club places a great importance on its environment and attitude. “Our coaches create a space where students want to learn for themselves. We organize activities like group traveling, competitions, and cultural events. We want to make the hard work of swimming rewarding and enjoyable,” Shomaker explained.

Shomaker has a clear teaching philosophy. “I don’t like when parents choose for their children and I don’t like when kids feel that they have to do so. We believe swimming is and must be fun. We of course teach standard strokes, but we often incorporate fun games and methods to teaching,” Shomaker said.

According to him, there are no shortcuts in swimming, “if you listen to your coach and try hard, you can overcome your fear and succeed. I think it’s also a great way to address challenges and overcome difficulties.”

The swimming courses at the club have been divided into different levels based on an elaborate progressive design. The different levels require different coaches to pass certain tests.



“Half of our team members are Chinese and we interviewed people based on their credentials. After being recruited, we have strict training courses for coaches because they need to know the levels set by our club for students,” said Shomaker.

As an experienced swimming coach, Shomaker believes that it’s good to have children involved in or around water as early as possible. As for learning the strokes, he suggests starting at four or five years old. “A lot of children began to learn swimming with breaststroke in China. Most of our kids are between 5 and 10,” David said.

Shomaker also sets high standards for the environment of his swimming club. “Look around our pools, they have to be clean. They need to have perfect water with warm temperature and safe environment,” he said.

Teaching swimming in English is a unique advantage of his swimming club. “It’s just like achieving two things at one stroke,” said Shomaker, considering many Chinese parents are willing to cultivate their children’s foreign language skills as early as possible.

Swimming in Shomaker’s mind has three main benefits. First, it’s a healthy sport that you can do for your entire life. Second, it teaches self-reliance and independence. Last but not the least, it brings families and people together.

“Half of our team members are Chinese,” said Shomaker. He felt lucky to meet excellent swimmers in China. Swimming in their eyes has irreplaceable advantages and a unique charm.

Although David’s business is getting better, he has encountered difficulties during the process. “I think most of the problems I come across in China are from cultural misunderstandings. But I’ve now learned a lot of things already,” David said.

Most of the club’s customers are Chinese moms who place emphasis on their kid’s all-around education.

“Chinese coaches approach education in a different way and they taught me what most Chinese moms expect. As a person in my position, I need to be flexible. Sometimes, I need to let something go because it may not work in China just as in the United States. It’s necessary for us to have Chinese staff and better understand the market in Shenzhen,” he said.

Shomaker gave the credit of his club’s growth to young parents in Shenzhen.

“Young parents in Shenzhen are concerned a lot about their children’s education. Without those people, I can’t stay here,” Shomaker said.

In his eyes, the most important goal of his club is to make everyone have a good feeling and to make the kids feel happy about their coaches and the environment. Group activities like a Christmas party, Halloween party and group tours are often held.

“Fear and willingness to get a medal for swimming are weak concepts and they won’t last. Achievement comes from within. If you do something you enjoy, it’s easier for you to excel in that area. You have to believe in yourself. This is the core a person needs,” David said.

Since 2010, the club has recruited over 5,000 students.