Coaching Team

Black Lion is lucky enough to have one of the largest and most experienced groups of coaches. We place a great importance in supporting our coaches by enhancing their experience and qualifications.  With a mix of professional coaches, qualified volunteers and a number of enthusiastic assistants, our ongoing training program ensures our swimmers receive the best possible coaching.

Martin Jurco - Director of Performance

Martin joins us with an amazing wealth of knowledge and experience, both as a swimmer and coach. He has a great pedigree and his involvement in swimming is spanning over 30 years.

As a swimmer Martin competed for many years at National and International level as both an age group and Senior swimmer. He is a national champion in 200m Butterfly, placed 4th at World and European Masters Championships.

Martin is a Level 4 ASCA (American swimming coaches association) and Level 3 UKCC Performance Coach, who has been Head Coach at Leander Swimming Club for 4 years and was a lead coach & assistant coach at Guildford prior to this. Martin has also coached on the Swim England Beacon programme and has been selected as an England Talent Coach at Regional & National Level.

Martin’s coaching philosophy has been honed by some of the best coaches and his achievement include youngest Olympic Trials qualifier and national medalists. Martin has a proven track record in developing individual athletes as well as teams to their full potential.

Jay Parsons

I have been involved in teaching and coaching for nearly 20 years. I pride myself on delivery a good standard to teaching and coaching and trying to get the swimmer to think about why and what they are doing. I was a swimmer with BLSC from the age of 11. I was a late swimmer in relation to most. I soon worked my way through the squads and eventually into the Elite Squad. I only managed to get to county level.
I started coaching when I was 16 assisting with the BLSC Masters. I got the taste and went on to coach my own squad and work alongside a number of coaches while at BLSC, eventually assisting the Head coach with the Elite squad. During my time at BLSC I coached a number of swimmers to County and District Level plus helping 2 swimmers achieve their NQT.
I later became assistant coach at Beaver Swimming club at Hoo, helping them go from 8th in Medway to 3rd within 2 years. Other key achievements were, 1st County Champions and taking 3 swimmers to Southern’s and narrowly missing out on a NQT. After that I joined Gravesend and Northfleet 2004 and Spent 18 months as their Head coach. Swimmers to county and District Level, before leaving due to work commitments.

After rejoining BLSC, I currently oversee the smooth running of the BLSC LTS programme making sure swimmers are assessed correctly and are achieving the high teaching standards BLSC aim for. I oversee a small team of teachers and assistants and help mentor their development and nurturing the future swimmers of the club.

DBS/CRB Checked
ASA Assistant Teacher
ASA Level 2 Teacher
Sports coach UK – Fitness & training
Sports coach UK – Injury prevention & Management
National Coaching Foundation – Coaching Children
Fellow of the Institute of Swimming (FIOS)

Paul Caller

I was first introduced into swimming when I joined Gillingham Swimming Club at the age of 7 where we trained at the Strand open air poolWhen the Black Lion pool was built and the club relocated.I swam at various levels throughout my time and competed at district, County and Regional levels, I gave up swimming at age of 18 and then rejoined the club when I was 26 where I joined the masters section, during my time in the masters I competed again at district, County, Regional and National level achieving various PB’s along the way, topping this off with swimming in the World masters at Ponds Forge Sheffield.
I started helping at BLSC with the land training which were held on a Sunday night and then got into coaching some of the Masters sessions before taking over the Gold squad lead coach position some 3years ago and also jointly coaching the master.

DBS/CRB Checked
RLSS Rescue Test – Life Saving
ASA Level 1 Coaching
ASA Level 2 Coaching
Official J2S (level 2 judge + Starter)

James Marshall

Started teaching in my early teens at the same club which had become bae systems social club. By my late teens I was writing most of the training sets/programs and started coaching and A level in sports science. I remember doing some asa and rlss courses during those 8 years but couldn't tell you how far I got. I stopped everything when I went to university.
I started teaching at bae club again 4 years ago when my daughter stared lessons the last two years of which I was also head coach before the pool owners went out of business and the club had to stop.I started coaching at black lion a few months ago.

DBS/CRB Checked
ASA Level 1 Teacher

Neil Castle

I have been coaching/teaching swimming for past seven years started at Sittingbourne & Milton SC.Moved to Black Lion when my eldest son was invited to swim for the club. Since then I have been assisting with both Elite and performance squads. In the past I was a coach with a local football club Iwade Herons were I both assisted and coached a football team from the age of 8 until they reached 12years when I stopped due to my eldest sons commitment to his swimming and as he was proving to be a far better swimmer than a football player I needed to give him my full commitment.
In my early days at school I played football,squash & badminton also ran cross country for the school.

DBS/CRB Checked
ASA Level 1 Teaching Aquatics
Level 2 Football coaching
First aid in sport with the Football association
Child protection with both the ASA & FA

 Neil Parker

Bio to follow...

DBS/CRB Checked
ASA Level 1 Coaching
ASA Level 2 Coaching

Jenny Colwell

Bio to follow....

ASA Level 1 Teacher

Mark Beckwith

I have been involved with the club on and off since 1989, as a competitive swimmer, member of the masters, an assistant teacher and a parent. I was terrified of the water when I was 7 and was slowly coaxed into getting into the teaching pool. This then led to a hugely enjoyable time at BLSC going on to hold club records, swimming for Kent and the South east counties.

I started at the academy when my own children were starting to learn to swim. I believe swimming should firstly and most importantly, be fun, and then all the other many, many benefits that competitive swimming brings to a child’s life will follow.

I still prefer racing to training and still have targets/times to reach. I also still have friends from my initial time at the club. I even ended up marrying a swimmer!

Katie Isaacs

Hi, I'm Katie Isaacs the lead coach for Age Skills. I've been a competitive swimmer for 8 years with Black Lion Swimming Club and have competed from county to national level and hold club records. I'm also a swimming teacher for the Black Lion swimming academy. I enjoy seeing the progression of each swimmer and watching them achieve their full potential. I believe that swimming is more than an individual sport. My favourite memories of swimming are always the team galas where everyone would scream and shout for their teammates to encourage them to do well in their event. There you would feel like a team member and have the greatest support you could have which would be your teammates as well as your coach behind you in every race you represented the club.


John Fisher

I'm John and I mostly help out with land training and occasional pool coaching. I am married to Ruth who helps out with sports massage and I have 2 boys one of whom swims in Performance. I am a qualified geologist. I became interested in geology when I was was young spending time collecting rocks, fossils and model dinosaurs. I managed to convert my hobby into a job through University study and currently work in London. My job has given us the opportunity to travel and live in a few different countries but 5 years ago we made the decision to come back to the UK and settle in Kent so the boys could experience some of their childhood in Britain.

I was into sports from a young age, my parents were both teachers at our local school in Gloucestershire and my Dad was a very competitive Sports teacher. In recognition of the work he did with sports in the local community he was selected to carry the Olympic torch when it came to Cheltenham back in 2012. As a young boy I suffered a fair bit with asthma and the doctor suggested to my Mum that I should take up swimming. I joined the local club and during my time there managed to compete in County, Regional and National champs as well as having the opportunity to represent my home county Gloucestershire. I gave up swimming at the age of 15 after a few years of disappointing results. It was a tough decision at the time but I wanted more time to focus on other sports (rugby) and my school work.

Swimming gave me a lifelong passion for fitness and being active. At the moment I focus this passion into training for and competing in endurance running which I'm learning is much more about your mental preparedness and attitude than physical fitness. In ultra running there is a saying that 'it's 90% mental and the other 10% is in your head'! Little voices in our heads try to box us in but when you break through the barriers of what you thought you are capable of and see where a determined and focused attitude can really take you it's a gamechanger.

I hope you enjoy your journey with BLSC, there will be a lot of ups and downs but keep focused on your goal to reach your potential and be the best you can be.

Steve Howard

I originally got into swimming as a child - ironically having nearly drowned at Black Lion sports centre. As a teenager I swam for another local swimming club and took the first of several swimming courses to become a swimming teacher. University and life generally then got in the way before my daughter Lilly joined Black Lion three years ago, at which point I decided there must be something better I could do with my evening than Candy Crush Saga whilst watching. Two coaching courses and an officials course later - I’m still here. It’s my belief that with swimming coaching it is the experience and approach that count as much as the qualifications, and so to that end I always make an effort to go and observe (and where they will let me, assist) other experienced coaches around the South East. You can never know enough!

DBS/ CRB Checked
Educare Child Protection Programme Certificate
ASA Club Instructor
ASA Preliminary Teacher
ASA Level 1 Coaching
ASA Level 2 Coaching
ASA Official J1 (Level one judge)
RLSS Pool Coaches Rescue Test
ASA Team Manager Level 1
Fellow of the Institute of Swimming (FIOS)