Calum Waters admits he did not make the grade as a lifeguard but is now ready to go in at the deep end with St Mirren.
The Kilmarnock left-back has joined the Buddies on a year-long loan and knows it is sink or swim as he looks to prove he can survive in the top flight.
The 23-year-old has been reunited with Saints boss Jim Goodwin, who he knows from his time at Alloa where he mixed playing football with working at a leisure centre in Coatbridge.
His job there was to ensure no one got into troubled waters in the pool but thankfully those days are behind him.
Now after emerging from a frustrating spell at Rugby Park where he was second best to Scotland defender Greg Taylor, Waters is looking to make a splash in Paisley.
The former Celtic youngster – who could make his Saints debut at home to Aberdeen on Sunday – said: “I was part-time at Alloa so I was at college then for two or three months, I was a lifeguard.
“I worked at the Time Capsule in Coatbridge. I didn’t really like it that much. Thankfully after a few months I got the call to go to Kilmarnock.
“That saved me a bit as I wasn’t very good. I used to tell people don’t drown because I can’t swim.
“Being a full-time footballer is so much better though.
“I feel I’m more than capable of playing at this level so now I just want to prove that to people.”
Waters came through the ranks at Parkhead but really made a buzz when he joined up with Goodwin at the Wasps in 2016.
He joined Killie 12 months later but his progress in Ayrshire was blocked by the impressive displays of Taylor.
With his left-back rival an almost ever present under Steve Clarke, Waters had to be content with just 13 appearances in two years.
But despite being forced to play second fiddle, he insists he held no hard feelings towards Taylor.
“Greg has been doing absolutely brilliantly for three seasons now and has been so consistent,” he said. “Obviously I knew my opportunities at Killie would be hard to come by.
“It was the right time to come out on loan and get some games.
“It is hard sometimes knowing the guy in front of you is unlikely to be dropped but the team has been quite successful so you just have to be supportive. Greg and I have a really good relationship and bounce off each other.
“When you’re in the situation I was, there is almost an added pressure on you because the other boy is doing so well. When you do get a chance, you know you have to step up and do the same job that they have been doing.
“But I want that chance to show I can play at this level and joining St Mirren is my opening. Greg has already wished me good luck and we’re still good friends.”
Waters believes Goodwin will give him every to prove he can cut it in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
He said: “The manager didn’t need to say too much to convince me to come here.
“It’s a massive club and I worked with the manager before and loved his training and style of management. It was a no-brainer.
“I’d always hoped I’d get another chance to work with him again as we had a successful spell at Alloa, so I’m buzzing to be back working with him.”
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