South West Regional Award Winners

Firstly we have to apologise for cancelling our Awards Celebration afternoon which were due to be held at the Holiday Inn Taunton, this was due to the period of National Mourning following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

In this news item we are celebrating the successes and introducing our Winners and nominees for the awards in the Region. 

Message from the Regional President, Chris Elliott

I am incredibly proud to be part of the swimming family and to be able to share these awards with you. I am also sorry that we could not meet in person to celebrate this occasion due to the unfortunate passing of our Queen. 

On behalf of everyone at Swim England South West may I congratulate all of our finalists and winners for their achievements. 

The awards are about celebrating those who support, inspire, compete and enjoy swimming and our sports of Water Polo, Diving, Open Water and Artistic Swimming. This is also about thanking those who work behind the scenes encouraging everyone to do their best within their given sport. 

Award Categories and Nominees

Here are the Award Categories and their nominees: 

  • Coach of the Year
    • Dean Fouracre, Swindon ASC
    • James Lake, Devonport
    • Roberto Pavoni, Plymouth Leander
  • Club of the Year
    • Swindon Dolphin
    • Swindon ASC
  • Volunteer of the Year
    • Caroline Patternote-Chilton, Devonport
    • Sue Clinton, Clevedon
    • Ben Mardon, Exeter Water Polo
  • Official of the Year
    • Paul Robbins, Trowbridge ASC
    • Dave Avery, Dawlish SC
    • Paula Brand, City of Bristol
  • Youth Champion Award
    • Ayushi Turner, Bristol Henleaze
    • Grace Woolley, Swindon ASC
  • Young Volunteer of the Year
    • Eva Farmery, Clevedon
  • Spirit of Aquatics Award
    • Abigail Daly, Devonport
    • Grace Woolley, Swindon ASC
    • Courteney Roberts, Swindon ASC

And the Winners are....

Coach of the Year - James Lake, Devonport
James has turned the club around as it struggled after lockdown as the main training pool was closed and numbers and morale was low. 
Since the life centre reopened he has given the swimmers extra zing, 
by making swimming fun but instilling technique, land training and improving the standard of swimming.  
He has mentored the volunteer coaches so their understanding of how and what to teach has improved and means a standardised consistent level of coaching. 
Swimmers numbers have increased due to the way James has lead the club.
The introduction of head sets means swimmers get feed back quickly, 
James has pushed to get these ordered and serenades the swimmers at times and tells dad jokes to make them laugh. 
The swimmers enjoy their swimming and in particular the multi class swimmers are doing so well they have qualified for British nationals.
But importantly the swimmers are enjoying swimming again, having fun, having the support of James who has turned the club around from a few swimmers to a thriving membership.

Club of the Year - Swindon ASC
This club has welcomed the para group in to their  group and made sure they have felt welcome at all events encouraged them to join in club championships making sure that they were part of the team at all times,  showing encouragement to them all making sure that they all talk to them and knowing their  names, the young swimmers are kind and caring showing that they believe the club values everyone counts know matter how big or small they are and how well they do is an achievement at all times.
They have been extremely supportive of their Team GB para swimmer at Tokyo Paralympics and have held their first licensed meet. 
The club now runs 3 sessions a week for para swimmers which are tailored to meet the swimmers individual needs. 
Swim England have recently recognised the club as a Start Para Club and we are holding Inspire to Try para swimming taster sessions to hopefully encourage more swimmers with disabilities to try club swimming. Because of the links with Level water and progressing swimmers with disabilities into club swimming, Swim England have written a case study about the  pathway to share with other Clubs. 
Despite the Club being over 140 years old, they only recently held their first licensed Club Champs. The meet was extremely well organised and a great experience for all. Swimmers were heard to be asking when the next meet would be. Since Covid, Swindon ASC has grown and will hopefully continue to do so and welcome more swimmers into their friendly, welcoming, inclusive Club. I believe that Swindon ASC deserve to be recognised for their inclusivity of our newly formed para squad; their support for all swimmers at all levels from first Club Champs to Paralympics and for their first venture into licensed meets - hopefully the first of many to come!

Volunteer of the Year - Sue Clinton, Clevedon ASC
Sue Clinton’s 2022 represents another year of selfless day-in, day out dedication to the sport of swimming, her 25th year of invaluable contribution to the sport, particularly for those starting out on their journey.
Sue’s impressive catalogue of voluntary work is broad and varied from working with para-athletes, with current and potential club swimmers, local schools and officiating at club and county events.   
Sue is pivotal to the improvers section of our club, bridging the delicate stages of learning to swim through to club membership, making that hugely important first impression on young swimmers. An active member in the local community, Sue plays a key role with many local primary schools in the region encouraging children toward swimming and has regularly organised an annual primary schools swimming gala.
The return of this event in 2022 was a real milestone and reflects Sue’s commitment and tenacity in overcoming obstacles.  
 Rarely seen away from the pool, Sue provides ASA teaching at the local pool, the age range of her students spanning the pre-school to the post retirement (with whom she is particularly popular) and everywhere in-between.
As a qualified official, Sue is always on hand to support our own club and local area events to ensure our swimmers have the opportunity of registering official times – another notable achievement for 2022 and the return from COVID.

Official of the Year - Paula Brand, City of Bristol
Since returning to face to face competition and grade days in 2022 Paula has volunteered as a Level 3 judge at every event that the City of Bristol's various swimmers/teams have entered. 
This has been invaluable to the squad, as without this volunteering by Paula, the teams and individuals would have been unable to enter many competitions within the region and nationally. 
Many swimmers would have missed the opportunity to compete and with it the subsequent medal success. 
When attending competitions as a judge, Paula's has prioritised this role over coaching her own team at competitions.   
 Paula has mentored two volunteers as they trained and successfully gained their level 1 judges qualification in spring 2022.
 Both volunteers come from a non artistic swimming background and the support from Paula was vital in their weekly training.  
 In addition to volunteering as an official, Paula is a coach at the club supporting the younger swimmers in particular as they start their artistic swimming journey, 
this is in addition to having a full time role away from the club.
 We can certainly say that in 2022 the success the Artistic Swimming Squad at City of Bristol would not have been achievable without the voluntary role Paula undertakes as an official judge, for which we are very grateful.

Youth Champion Award - Ayushi Turner, Bristol Henleaze
In late 2021, 12-year-old Ayushi Turner set herself two huge challenges- swim twice as far as she had ever done before and support the fantastic renal services at her local hospital. She independently devised the fundraising challenge of swimming 10 miles at her school’s pool and got in touch with us at the hospital’s official charity for support. 
Ayushi, from Bristol, was inspired to fundraise for the hospital by her grandad, who is an outpatient at Southmead Hospital’s Bright Satellite Dialysis Unit. He has been receiving dialysis treatment three times a week for the last four years. 
Money raised by Ayushi is supporting the Renal Department at the hospital, who give dialysis treatment to around 450 patients every week.  
Ayushi completed the 644 lengths of the 25-metre Badminton indoor swimming pool on 25th June. She was supported and encouraged by her teachers, family and fellow pupils, some of whom swam alongside her on the day.  
Ayushi said of the challenge: “Southmead Hospital has always been there for me and my family and the service we have received has been amazing. That’s why I wanted to give something back. I love swimming and trained many hours, but I had never done the entire distance in one session.  Ayushi reached her initial fundraising target of £1,000 with ease so doubled it a month before the event. This was soon reached and by the end of the month she has raised an absolutely phenomenal £5,015.04!! 
We have been astonished by the maturity, hard work, fundraising nous and single-mindedness that Ayushi has demonstrated in achieving her goal and can’t recommend her strongly enough for this award.  
She is such an inspiration and a little packet of power who is dedicated to her sport.

Young Volunteer of the Year Award - Eva Farmery, Clevedon ASC
We’re proud to nominate Eva as 2022 Youth Volunteer of the Year given the positive impact her contributions consistently make across our club, our membership and the sport.
 Epitomising all the qualities sought in this category, her impact is material and lasting. Be that club wide coaching, commitment toward our younger swimmers or the dedication and personal development evidenced in welcoming and coaching our recently joined para swimmer and young Ukrainian member.
    From 2020, Eva has been a driving force of numerous initiatives which kept our club together both mentally and fitness wise during the challenging COVID period. That included organising and delivering weekly online fitness sessions, drawing support and creating opportunities for other young volunteers along the way.
 Friday Night Zoom workouts were always incredibly well attended, a thoroughly enjoyable weekly highlight – watch out Joe Wickes! This was supplemented with a range of ever-changing weekly challenges across various fitness challenges, fundraising, healthy food prep and the engagement we all needed back then.   
 Building on this and throughout 2022, Eva mentors other young volunteers coming through the club, helping them with the expectations of captaincy or coaching - her role model behaviours are regularly referenced as reasons why many of our captains stand for that position. 
   As a L2 qualified coach, Eva is a huge support to our head coach and wider coaching team at training, competitions and beyond, including confidently taking charge on poolside safety incidents.
She’s currently working with another club, adopting their experience to further develop some specific para swimming knowledge, to provide focussed support to help a Clevedon swimmer achieve his full potential. 
   Her volunteering extends into our committee, forming a valued bridge to our younger swimmers, the coaching team, always keen to own actions, put forward innovative suggestions and keep us honest.    

Spirit of Aquatics Award - Abigail Daly, Devonport, Courteney Roberts, Swindon ASC and Grace Woolley, Swindon ASC
Abigail Daly
 - This season has been tough for Abi outside of the pool as she has transitioned from her special school to mainstream college. 
This has affected her however, she has worked hard processing all the changes and is starting to mature. 
She has gone to an international meet got seasons best times then qualified for finals to beat her times from the morning. 
She has also been picked to do the diploma in sporting excellence programme and has supported her para swimming peers at these training camps.  She has represented her region at the Prep the Pool event, where she coped with a coaching support team she had never met and a lot of swimmers she never met at the commonwealth games test event. 
She swam in  2 individual events and 2 mixed para relays. As well as that she is representing her sport by being a baton bearer for the Queens Baton Relay on the 1st day of the England tour, she is a mentor to another para swimmer from her club showing her how to prepare for competitions away from home. She is an inspiration to swimmers and a great ambassador for the sport. Despite all the set backs she has had she has shown great resilience.
Courteney Roberts - Over the years Courteney has become a fantastic swimmer. She trains and competes alongside her peers and gives it her all. 
Over the years, Courteney has overcome her worries and anxieties.
 She cried at her first team competition because she wasn’t as fast as her able bodied peers, but with encouragement she continued.
 She has been a shining example of determination to her swimming peers. 
She always give her best and doesn’t give up.
 At just 15, Courteney is showing a maturity beyond her years and is now passing on her experiences to other para swimmers.
 Courteney trains alongside a 10 year old girl who is a wheelchair user and Courteney is always keen to demonstrate moves to her and give her tips. 
At this swimmers first competition, Courteney looked after this swimmer poolside and talked her through how competitions run despite her own anxieties at competing for the first time since before Covid. 
Courteney showed great sportsmanship when this swimmer pipped her to second place and she came third. She was very gracious in congratulating the swimmer.  
 Courteney also trains alongside a young swimmer who has learning difficulties and ADHD. This swimmer does have some difficulties listening and following instructions but Courteney is a fantastic role model for him. 
Grace Woolley - Grace is 10 years old and is a para swimmer. Grace is a wheelchair user Grace first trialled with my para squad about six months ago wanting to progress from Level Water swimming to club swimming. 
When Grace first swam trialled, she could barely swim 8 strokes without needing to grad the side. She was also used to having in water support but she was determined to swim independently. Over the months, Grace tried and worked hard to begin to swim 25 metres without stopping. This was a great achievement for her and a huge confidence boost!
 Grace is a fantastic young lady who is always smiling and always positive. She shows great determination in training whilst always smiling.
 When challenged to try something new, she takes it on with a cheery ‘yes, let’s do it!’. Without Grace knowing, her Dad entered her into 50m free style at our Club Champs. Grace arrived at the pool expecting a normal training session but wasn’t phased when faced with the prospect of having to swim 50m without stopping in her first competition when previously she had only managed 25m!!! 
Grace showed the same determination that she has shown on training and she accepted the challenge. With the encouragement from the whole swimming club and officials, Grace swam the 50m without stopping and won silver. 
She was so proud of herself as are we. 

Congratulations to all of the award winners and nominees and thank you for your commitment to aquatics in our Region. We look forward to catching up and presenting your awards to you very soon. 

Posted by Swim England South West on September 22nd 2022

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