Chris Cook – Former Double Olympian, Double Commonwealth Champion and founder of Swim Buddies

August 24, 2020

A double Olympian talking about dreaming big and starting small, following your heart and doing what you love, how we become what we practice and why not pick up the pen and write your own chapter. These are some of the many brilliant insights, tips and phrases Chris shared in this honest and humble conversation.

Chris also gave an interesting perspective as a business owner offering a sport service to parents as well as being a parent himself.

I learnt loads and so could you – take some time to listen in!

Below is a bit more of a background to Chris…

After competing for Great Britain for nearly 10 years, Chris hung up the trunks and retired from international swimming and began working with businesses/organisations far and wide to help inspire, mentor and coach people to embrace ‘challenge and change’ for their optimal performance. Chris has built a reputation as a motivational speaker throughout the last 7 years working from referral to referral, sharing his story and the lessons learnt from the journey with over 400,000 people. Throughout this time, Chris designed and delivered an Olympic Inspiration Programme for children to schools across Kent (UK) which reached over 300 schools spanning 6 years.

In 2011 Chris was a lead mentor on a the ‘Sky Sports Living for Sport’ – inspiration programme across the UK & Ireland. The programme was designed to assist disengaged people from society to get back on track. This role involved training up former Olympians and World Class Athletes to deliver inspirational talks and mentoring/coaching programmes. The role involved working with the most challenging of young people whilst coaching athletes to transition from sport to mentoring.

During the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Chris was selected to mentor and coach the next generation of Olympians on the ‘Ambition Programme’. This programme involved taking 350 potential Olympians to experience an Olympic games (London). Chris’s role was mentor the athletes to maximise the whole experience and to expand their personal development.

Here and now …. Currently, Chris and his wife Erica, run their own Learn to swim business – ‘Swim Buddies’ which has seen the business (located in Darlington, UK) grow from 7 swimmers in their first week in September 2014 through to over 900 children swimming with Swim Buddies every week.

Chris’s coaching, speaking and mentoring is centred around personal development. Whether it’s in the water helping swimmers or on dry land in business and life, Chris believes that success is something you attract from the person you become.


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Success Quotes or sayings:

  • Don’t have a job – have a purpose
  • Dream big and start small
  • If you follow what you love doing then you will never have to do a days work in your life
  • The power of ‘yet’
  • Can only connect the dots looking backwards – not looking forwards
  • You know who is in your camp through moments of turbulence
  • Hard work still works
  • Take your own control – pick up the pen and write your own chapter
  • Life is not linear – it is ok to fail and learn from it
  • You go to the blocks alone – you have to execute it
  • Brilliant facing your fears because you expand – anything that expands does not fully retract back
  • You can’t shrink your way to success
  • We become what we practice
  • Do what you love doing and bring it alive is the first step towards creating ‘Happy Accidents’
  • ‘Yes and’ rather than ‘yes but’
  • If you want extraordinary you have to scaffold extraordinary moments
  • It is not an information issue it’s an implementation issue – just do it!


Quick fire questions:

The books that you would recommend.

·       Awaken The Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Life by Tony Robbins


·       Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action by Simon Sinek


·       7 Strategies For Wealth And Happiness: Power Ideas from America’s Foremost Business Philosopher by Jim Rohn


Technology I use often

Zoom is definite


How do I prepare to be the best version of myself…

Know yourself is key – I create a visual to stay focussed

Reflect over own shoulder and not compare to others


In one sentence – What advice would you give to your teenage version of yourself?

Care less about what people think of me and go for it. Change opinions through showing others not telling them.


Who has made a big impact on you?

My wife who provides unwavering belief in me/us.

Ian Oliver – Coach who took me to the top

My grandad – gave me perspective. Nothing was too serious!


Whos’ Sport Story would you be really interested in hearing?

Chris Hoy


Coaching questions I would like to pose:


What can you do to ensure you have more ‘Happy Accidents’?


Who is it that walks alongside you and helps you to not fear anything and be a true version of yourself?


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