Meet Our Coaches

Coaching is an art form and a science. To be a good coach takes so much more than a fancy degree or having done it before. Quite often coaching is an amalgamation of roles including but not limited to manager, physiologist, councillor, teacher, personal trainer and of course friend.


Such a diverse array of needs requires a diverse and committed coaching team. If you train with Durham City you have the combined knowledge of all of our coaches and athlete support personnel at your disposal. We know that not every coach suits every athlete; that’s why we structure our club the way we do. We know that what works for one person won’t work for everyone; that’s why we support our coaches learning and promote development and a growth mindset.


Take a look at some of the profiles below to meet our team coaches.


Swimming | Water Polo | Athlete Support Personnel 

Julie Pugh


Julie originally moved to Durham to study her passion, Archaeology Durham University.   Whilst studying, she played water polo for Durham University where she also went on to complete her Assistant Coach qualification. She was keen to continue playing after graduation, so joined DCA.   Shortly after, she was asked to take over as coach. She’s now been coaching with Durham City Aquatics, for nearly 20 years! 

Significantly, Julie played for Sunderland Ladies in the National Women’s Water Polo League for a number of years. 

What Julie especially enjoys about coaching is seeing our players come together as a team and improve over the course of a tournament.

Her biggest and proudest coaching moment was taking our water polo players to a tournament at Sheffield and winning a FIRST PLACE trophy.

Something you may not know about Julie is that she loves to ride a trials motorbike! 


Kathryn Salmon



For many years, Kathryn took part in Water Polo with Durham City.   She started out as a volunteer, helping inexperienced coaches with young players, developing their skills in the water. Over time she developed her own coaching skills where eventually, she was asked to take on her own groups and coaching responsibilities for the club and water polo section.   She has now volunteered as a water polo coach with the club for over 10 years now, thoroughly enjoying the players develop their abilities and confidence in the water.


Kathryn has always lived in Durham, and came from a former pit village west of Durham and if anything, plans to move to more rural areas.  She loves the countryside and the environments supporting it.


She studied physical geography at Northumbria University followed by a Masters in Risk at Durham University where she focused on Natural Hazards. Kathry has always been passionate about geography and most importantly the natural aspects of geography. This was consolidated, during her time at secondary school where natural hazards often resulted in an unusual school day.  

During her time with the club, Kathryn was awarded, a trophy for volunteering at the club.  Great recognition of all of the work she has done as a volunteer with the Water Polo Section.

Kathryn particularly loves interacting with a wide variety of children, working to develop not just their skills in the water but socially too. Water polo is a fantastic confidence builder and team sport that develops a huge range of skills alongside strong swimming. 


Her greatest joy as a coach, she says, ‘‘simple, when I have a breakthrough with a swimmer. Seeing someone go from struggling with a particular skill (usually eggbeater) to finally understanding and excelling. That to me is a huge achievement not just to the individual but also for myself giving, a great source of pride. Combined with seeing the swimmers move on and achieve their own awards for ability and sportsmanship. Gives me a great sense of achievement and accomplishment.”

Outside the world of swimming, she loves to horse ride, saying ‘’it’s a great way to relax, a good hack out, a decent round of jumping fences or a good gallop, pure bliss. Other hobbies include painting and photography although my painting is a little rusty as I don’t have as much time for it as I would like.”




Swim England Assistant Water Polo Coach