Regional Award Winners

The Region recently chose award winners for the 2018/19 year. Please see below our list of award winners.

Congratulations to all our award winners, most of them will recieve their awards at the ACM being held on 8th September at the Holiday Inn, Taunton. However, those who are unable to attend will recieve their awards at a more local basis.

Youth Volunteer of the Year 

Kerry Rutherford - Swindon Dolphin ASC

Kerry is 16 and has been poolside coaching younger swimmers for about 5 years. She currently coaches/ teaches at least 10 hours a week with squad swimmers, para swimmers and learn to swim swimmers. She recently passed her level1 teachers. She enjoys passing on her swimming knowledge and skills to younger swimmers who are just setting out on their own competitive swimming journey.   She regularly coaches the para squad and has supported swimmers with a variety of disabilities in a number of ways for example she has supported an adult para swimmer during training sessions through being a training partner in the water.  Kerry completed the Young Volunteer programme last year and following on from that, she has volunteered at various competitions as a timekeeper.  She is now about to undertake the Judge 1 qualification. She has had a difficult six months due to significant health issues but this has not stopped her loving swimming and teaching/ coaching swimmers.  Kerry can find some social situations difficult however she shows great confidence in supporting others and is passionate about helping them to develop their swimming to the best of their ability. 

Volunteer of the Year

Martin Walters - Exeter City Swimming Club

Martin has been involved with Exeter City Swimming Club for around 10 years.  He is a knowledgeable and dependable member of its committee and has held the role of Competition secretary for 6 years.  He never misses a committee meeting and is always willing to assist with new tasks and challenges.  He is able to provide other club members with advice and the benefit of his knowledge and experience. He always maintains a positive outlook and is a friendly face to new members. 

Martin is also a committed licensed Swim England official and last year qualified as a referee. He approaches his role as an official in the same way as he does any task that he undertakes: with a huge amount of commitment, enthusiasm and professionalism.   Despite being required to officiate at the meets that Exeter hosts, he also provides his knowledge on meet race recording, assisting others with this task and thanks to his excellent IT skills, he has been able to help develop other volunteers' knowledge within the club, which is not only selfless, but hugely beneficial to the on-going development of Exeter City Swimming Club and its volunteers.

Technical Official of the Year

Maureen Davies - Truro City

Maureen has been a technical official for many years.  She is respected throughout Cornwall for her integrity and this respect extends to the Region and at National Level.  She has officiated at meets outside the County and Region and encourages others to do so. For example the British Masters Championships in June 2018 and the 2019 World Para championships in September.

In the last 12 months Maureen has successfully managed her team of officials and carried out her own officiating duties. This is at a time when able volunteers are in exceptionally short supply.  She runs her team of officials brilliantly and is always available to help provide the necessary officials for both County and Club events.  As County Technical Officials Officer Maureen attends County meetings providing invaluable suggestions, comments and reports.  She is also an excellent 'trainer' and has established a high standard team of officials in the County of Cornwall. 

Club of the Year

Bristol Penguin Olympic Swimming Club

At the beginning of the 2018-19 season Portway Swimming Club merged into Penguins.  The clubs had been working together for some time and the transition happened smoothly.   Club membership has grown from 120 in 2010 to a current figure of 415.  This base is a key part of Penguins financial sustainability.  There have been challenges - lost pool time, giving up learn-to-swim.  However, the club has adapted, making better use of the pool time and land training and developing its club pathway.   Penguins has formed reciprocal partnerships with Clifton College Swim Academy and Badminton School around the provision of teaching and coaching in return for pool access.

This year BPOSC ran its first open meet with Keynsham SC, a one-day swim camp with Severnside Tritons and it is actively involved in the City of Bristol and South Gloucestershire swim networks.  Coaches have taken part in County and Regional pathway camps for swimming and open water and it helps run the Southern Junior League.   The Club holds open water sessions inviting other local clubs, and swimmers work towards the Swim England open water club awards.  Penguins host several galas each year for local clubs and run three galas for primary schools.  Social events have expanded with an annual day out, BBQ and swim at Portishead Lido and Christmas and summer parties.

The Club has increased the number of qualified swimming coaches, licenced officials and team managers and smaller teams of volunteers have been established to work on areas such as finance and welfare. To add to accredited courses, the club runs its own annual CPD workshop around key areas of relevance.

 All the above has helped to retain more swimmers and make Bristol Penguins an enjoyable place for its members to develop as swimmers and individuals. 

Coach of the Year

Emma Collings-Barnes - Mount Kelly

Emma is currently Director of Swimming at Mount Kelly a role she took over in September 2018.   Since then Mount Kelly swimming has gone from strength to strength, growing in numbers, raising the standard and generally creating an incredible team spirit. The compassion for all her swimmers is only matched by her drive to improve their technical ability.  Emma gives everything, putting in many hours supporting her team, her staff and first and foremost her swimmers.  Her ability to create a teamwork ethic is unparalleled.  The results Mount Kelly swimmers have achieved this year are a direct result of this dedication.   These include winning the Arena League B final, coming 1st and 2nd in the Challenge 68 at the winter nationals, having 57 qualifiers at the British Summer Championships.  Two swimmers were selected onto the European Junior team for Great Britain and one was selected onto the Italian team.  Two swimmers qualified for the world juniors and two for the world championships.  These achievements have meant that this year Emma has been selected onto the Coach 2024 program.  

Long Service Award to Aquatics

Chas Wallace - Dorset Schools Association previously member of Wimborne Swimming Club

Chas’s swimming ‘story’ commenced in 1957 when like most volunteers his first pool side experience came when his children started to swim and he offered to spend one night to help with a session.  From 1957 until 1996 Chas held various coaching and teaching posts at Clubs in the South and South East having become an ASA Advanced Teacher in 1967.  In addition he organised exchange trips with a swimming club in Montbeliard, France, for a number of years and also organised galas for the local Guides and the Sea Ranger Association.

Chas retired to Wimborne, Dorset in 1996 immediately going onto the poolside to help Wimborne Swimming Club an involvement that continued until the club disbanded in 2007.

However he still maintained his previous swimming links as in 1990 he had been asked by the local Lions groups to advise how best to run an event for young people with disabilities. He developed a handicap system to cater for all levels and enlisted the help of local clubs and officials to run the event.  He continued to organise this annual event until 2013 travelling from Dorset to do so.   

Chas was also an official, initially on the Middlesex County and Southern Counties list and then from 1996 until 2006 on the Dorset County list, when at the age of 81 he retired.

Chas has spent a lifetime dedicated to swimming and he still continues today by supporting Primary School swimming events in Dorset - there are 20 galas held across the eight areas of the County throughout the year - and he volunteers his service whenever or even without being asked.

Youth Achievement Award

Tia Crews - Devonport Royal Swimming Association

Tia has faced a lot of adversity in swimming, from injuries to illness and everything in between. This hasn't dampened her spirit and care for the sport.  She has become a constant source of support for younger swimmers in her club, giving them advice during sessions, at galas and on poolside.  Whilst still swimming and competing herself she has had a key impact on these swimmers who look up to her and follow her example.  She has now started to embark into some assistant coaching.  Tia is quiet, unassuming and modest but cares about the sport, her teammates and her club.   Her role as a swimmer, mentor, inspiration and person deserves recognition.

Adult Achievement Award

Dan Kinsey - Weymouth and Portland Water Polo Club

Dan started playing for Weymouth and Portland WP Club at aged 11.  He continued with the sport whilst at University and represented Wales before returning to the club as first team captain and coach.  As a PE teacher he was also significantly involved with other sports.  In 2015, at the age of 35, he suffered a serious stroke that affected his right side and speech.  However in 2018 through determined, hard he returned to work and coaching following rehabilitation.  Dan now coaches all sides in Weymouth and Portland Water Polo Club and oversees the development of a large group of young players.  In addition he organizes and coaches age group and senior Dorset county teams.  This determination to return to the sport he loves has been amazing.

Personal Achievement Award

Suzanna Hext - Swindon Dolphin ASC

Suzanna joined Swindon Dolphin in March 2017 initially to improve her fitness following a severe riding accident that had left her paralysed. Her GB Para Classification was completed in January 2019 and she was classified as an S5, SB5 and SM5 and since then she has amazed everyone who has seen or met her. At the beginning of 2019 Suzanna’s aim was to reach the Regional Championships. In February 2019 at the BUCS championships in her first ever long course competition she set a new long course 50m S5 British Record.  Later that month she set (subject to ratification) British Short Course records in 50m & 200m Freestyle.  In March 2019 whilst swimming at the British Para-Swimming International Meet in Glasgow Suzanna underwent her International Classification and was selected to represent Team GB at the British Para Championships in London in September 2019 in the 50m, 100m and 200m Freestyle.  She also qualified for the British Championships in the 50m, 100m and 200m Freestyle.  Suzanna has surpassed even her wildest dreams by not just qualifying for the Regional Championships, but also the British Championships and World Para Championships.  Her drive, belief and enthusiasm are simply amazing.

Posted by Swim England South West on September 5th 2019

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