Meet the Kellogg’s ASA Swimtastic Awards Winners 2011

The Kellogg’s ASA Swimtastic Awards 2011 made their way to Sheffield’s Ponds Forge for the very first time on Saturday 5th November, with the cream of British Swimming, Diving, Synchro and Water Polo joining unsung swim stars from across the UK in a celebration of swimming.

This year the event was even bigger and better than ever with a glittering ‘Oscar-style’ awards ceremony hosted by former Olympian, Steve Parry, and a ‘Swim with the Stars’ session where nominees had the chance to make a splash with their sporting heroes.

Trophies were awarded to winners and runners-up from a number of categories. Meet some of the lucky winners below:

Charlotte Blake scooped the top award in the Young Swimmer of the Year category after she impressed the judges with her dedication to swimming, in addition to her other duties at home.

As well as being a young carer for her mum and sister, 10 year-old Charlotte trains five times a week at her local pool, cycles to school every day, helps with household chores and assists her teachers in school swimming lessons.

A gold award also went to seven year-old Olivia Story, who was nominated for the Disability Swimmer of the Year award. Olivia was put forward for the award by her swimming teacher who was moved by her courage and determination in the pool.

Olivia has been learning to swim since she was three years-old and has become a very confident swimmer. Sadly, Olivia lost three limbs at the age of two due to meningococcal septicaemia. Despite her disability, she has developed into a strong swimmer who doesn’t let anything hold her back.

Kim Brown, Olivia’s mum said, “I’m so proud of Olivia for winning this award, she has just gone from strength to strength in her swimming lessons.

“Following her amputations swimming just came naturally to Olivia, she loves being in the water as she can be free and now she just wants to be in the pool all the time.”

Marion Limbird from Gloucestershire was awarded the coveted Parent of the Year award, which was introduced for the very first time this year. Marion dedicates a huge amount of her time to support Gloucester City Swimming Club, as a parent with two children at the club, a club chaperone and Welfare Officer.

Marion’s sponsor said that as a mum, she knows that her children will be well looked after, as she is so attentive with the swimmers. Marion always reminds the swimmers to have a drink, tells them when it is time to get changed and she is always ready and waiting with a warm smile before and after races.

73 year-old Ian Sandison took the top prize in the Senior Swimmer of the Year category. Ian from Fife, Scotland, impressed the Swimtastic judges with his involvement in the Big Scottish Swim over the past two years, where he has raised funds for the charity, Sue Ryder.

In 2010 Ian completed the one mile open water swim in just 40 minutes, raising around £5,000 for the charity. He also took part again in 2011 with his son and two grandsons. The family achieved their combined target, completing the swim in less than 100 minutes and raising over £1,260.

Ian is the oldest swimmer to take part in the event and although he has now hung up his wetsuit he plans to return in 2012 as a VIP starter.

The Fundraising Award was presented to Paul Bates, who has raised over £14,000 for Cancer Research and the British Heart Foundation as part of Big Ricks Channel Swim team. Paul set up the swim team in 2008 in memory of his friend, Mark Rickhuss, who sadly suffered a heart attack whilst helping his friend to complete a channel swim in 2005.

Paul, along with his friends have raised money for the British Heart Foundation by completing open water swimming events all over the UK and they recently swam the channel in honour of Mark.

The annual RLSS Lifesaver of the Year Award was won by 18 year-old James Johnson from Stowmarket, Suffolk. Over the past 20 months James has been directly involved in saving the lives of two people and the RLSS put him forward for the award because of his outstanding lifesaving skills and awareness.

James Johnson said, “Today has been fantastic! Both my girlfriend and I attended the Swim with the Stars session. It was brilliant and so nice that I could share it with someone close to me.

“I’m extremely proud to win this award and I think it’s a nice way to turn what was a really horrible situation into something positive. It’s great to see so many people coming together to make a fun event out of people’s achievements.”

SwimNE was awarded the Kellogg’s ASA Swimtastic Swim School of the Year Award. The school, which was founded in 2006 by brother and sister team Philip and Jill Groom, was chosen by the judges as it offers a number of swimming lessons to people of all ages, always with a smile, plenty of encouragement and high fives.

Owner, Philip Groom said, “This award is fantastic recognition to the whole team of teachers who through their dedication and enthusiasm provide some of the best swimming lessons in the North East and I am proud to accept the award on their behalf.

“The future is very bright for us and we hope we can continue to build upon the success already achieved and continue to improve the swim school to inspire children to enjoy swimming and keep swimming in their lives.”

Students from James Allen’s Girls’ Preparatory School in Dulwich, London, attended the event to collect the ESSA Dolphin Award. The award is presented to a school that has excelled in the Dolphin scheme, which supports and encourages schools to make every child a swimmer before they transfer to secondary school.

The school was presented with the award as in 2010/2011 they achieved 100% success as part of the scheme, with all children in years 4, 5 and 6 able to swim 100 metres.

Liam Hibbitts was also chosen by the Swimtastic judges as the winner of the Top Teacher of the Year Award. Liam was described as a fantastic teacher who is able to transform the water confidence of his swimmers.

Parents of  swimmers at the Ready Steady Swim School said that he has the ability to interact and engage with swimmers no matter their age or ability, tailoring his classes to suit.

After receiving his award, Liam Hibbitts said, “I’m absolutely overawed with this award, I really can’t believe I have won it. I think we are such a success because of the amount of hard work the pupils put in each and every day.

“It’s a demanding job teaching at the Ready Steady Swim School, I commit about 25 hours per week but I love it! I try to make each session different and as long as each pupil can say they’ve enjoyed their time in the pool, I’m happy.”

The Community Project of the Year Award was presented to Martin Purcell and Hilary Fassnidge, Coaches at the Positive Health Swim Group at the London Central YMCA Club.

Martin and Hilary volunteer each week to train people living with HIV and AIDs to swim. Over the past three years they have not only helped people to gain a love of swimming but they have helped them to improve their health and fitness.

With the help of the swimming lessons many of the swimmers have also gained in confidence, enabling them to get back into employment after long periods of sickness. Martin and Hilary have created more than a swimming club, they provide an important meeting point for people living with HIV.

Hilary Fassnidge said, “We feel really excited at the fact that we have won an award for the work we do with adults with HIV. It’s so important for people to maintain their fitness, especially if they have been ill, and swimming is an ideal way of doing this.

“We have really enjoyed attending the Kellogg’s ASA Swimtastic Awards, It’s been a brilliant night and so inclusive. We brought along some of the swimmers who took part in our scheme so it has been great to share the evening with them too.”

DC Leisure collected the sought after Facility Operator of the Year Award, the Surrey based company has a 20 year track record of achievement and manages 62 swimming sites in partnership with local authorities throughout the UK.

The judges selected DC Leisure as the winner of the award, due to the initiatives that the company has implemented over the past year and their success with the Kellogg’s ASA Awards scheme.

This year DC leisure has put a strong emphasis on family swimming and has funded free swimming for all under 8’s in 46 of their 62 swimming sites. By the end of 2011, they are expected to have awarded over 65,000 Kellogg’s ASA Awards.

DC Leisure has also supported 154 staff in achieving Level 1 and 2 UKCC/ASA Teaching Aquatics qualifications, with 43 staff benefitting from IoS aquatic apprenticeships.

The Big Splash Family Swim Award was presented to the Thompson family from Leeds, West Yorkshire. The family were chosen as the winners by the panel due to the whole family’s long-term dedication to swimming.

The past year has been particularly difficult for the whole family, due to the passing of grandfather Jack Thompson, who was a popular coach at the City of Leeds Swimming Club for over 30 years. Both Jack and his daughters swam at Leeds and his wife Doreen has been active on the supporters committee, a chaperone and fundraiser for the club.

When daughter Joanne had children with disabilities, she set up the Sunderland Gateway a swim club for disabled children. Jack supported the group by helping with coaching and attending competitions.

Jack’s granddaughter Laura was working towards her coaching qualification when her grandfather died, she is now working towards level 2. His other granddaughter Rae also volunteers at all of the Sunderland Gateway competitions, making swimming a real family affair.

A special recognition award was presented to Team Kellogg’s diver Nick Robinson-Baker, who helped to save the life of fellow diver Monique Gladding after she was injured in a diving accident at the 2011 World Cup in Russia.

Click here to find out more about all of the nominees for the Kellogg’s ASA Swimtastic Awards 2011 or take a look at the images from the day here.

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