May Volunteer of the Month

Congratulations to Christine Merrifield who has won this months Volunteer of the month. Thank you for all that you do.

Christine is a Level 2 Synchronised Swimming Coach and has worked as a volunteer for over 25 years. She has coached Artistic Swimming at least three times a week as well as volunteering extra coaching and support for swimmers leading up to Grade assessment days. She has been a member of committees over many years, regularly attended upskilling, acted as an official at competitions and as a judge on Grade assessment days.

Christine’s core discipline is Artistic Swimming and it is thanks, in part, to her commitment and dedication that St Austell Synchro Squad is the only Artistic Swimming Club remaining in Cornwall. In years past when St Austell Synchro was part of the St Austell Swimming Club, Christine took the role of Chairperson for the whole committee – this spanned 3 disciplines - Swimming, Synchro and Water polo. In fact, Christine sat in the role of Chair for two consecutive periods when there was no one else willing to take the position. This role took hours of voluntary time – meetings, welfare interventions, negotiations with venue, staffing management etc. In total there would have been close to 300 club swimmers per year benefitting from her involvement.

Christine has sat on the County Committee for many years and was elected President of Cornwall County ASA in 2014. In that role she travelled the country, attending National and Regional events representing Cornwall County and the South West Region. She has facilitated learning and communication between the County members and the Synchro Discipline which will have been a benefit to all those involved. Furthermore, Christine is a member of the SW Regional Synchro Swimming Committee Workforce Group, sharing her knowledge and insight to enable the sport to evolve and sustain itself.

Christine has volunteered more time to keep her qualifications, safeguarding and training up to date. She recently attended the necessary course and exam to upgrade her qualifications to a Level 2 Judge to enable her to judge at an advanced level which is of benefit not only to her own club but also to the many hundreds of swimmers who enter competitions and attend Grade assessments – without such officials the events could not run. Christine Is a qualified Team Manager (Modules 1 & 2 – overnight stays), and in that capacity she has attended residential Regional Training Camps as Coach and Team Manager as well as taking the opportunity to attend any CPD courses in the Region. She is passionate about Artistic Swimming and attends the National Conference at Sport Park each year, returning to Cornwall to share her knowledge by running workshops for her club.

In 2019 Christine played a key role in helping form a new committee and establish a new Club – St Austell Synchro Squad. It was a big step for a small group to move away from the backing of a larger entity but with Christine’s complete knowledge of the sport of Artistic Swimming, her historical understanding of how the discipline has evolved, the new Figure, Routine and Land Grading System established, the choreography developed to include acrobatic movements, we felt confident in setting up and looking to grow the discipline in Cornwall.

Christine continues to be the driving force for development in Cornwall as she sits on the newly formed volunteer network groups looking for opportunities to promote the sport.

Posted by Swim England South West on May 1st 2020

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