20 Oct 2009

A number of swimming’s most dedicated volunteers were honoured at the annual ASA Aquaforce Awards ceremony in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The Awards, which took place on Saturday 10th October, celebrate the outstanding contributions that volunteers make to the ASA and also offer the ASA, county associations and clubs an opportunity to thank everyone who works hard to deliver the sport.

In total five awards were handed out.

Colchester’s Maggie Hargraves took the top honour in the Outstanding Contribution at Club Level category. As a coach and Secretary for Colchester Phoenix, a club for disabled swimmers Hargraves played a key role in forming the club in 1993.

Hargraves is unstoppable; obtaining sponsorship and coaching both elite and recreational swimmers. She campaigns endlessly for disabled people to take to the water and works tirelessly to ensure that they are given the same training opportunities as able-bodied swimmers.

Dudley’s Stewart Nicklin won the Outstanding Contribution by an 18-25 year old Award. From a young age Nicklin has showed an interest and aptitude for teaching and coaching and after qualifying as a Level 1 and Level 2 Teacher he was given the role of Junior Head Coach at Stourbridge Swim Club, a role in which he excelled.  In 2004 Nicklin was given the opportunity to become Head Coach and has shouldered the responsibility of organising a team of teachers and coaches very successfully, especially for someone so young. 

The Aquaforce Award for Outstanding Contribution at Regional and County Level went to Terry Bream of Northamptonshire who is one of the longest serving volunteers in Northamptonshire beginning as a timekeeper 21 years ago.

After his son stopped swimming, Bream continued to dedicate his time to advancing competitive swimming.  He is one of only three qualified referees in Northamptonshire and is very much in demand. In addition to this Bream has invested considerable amounts of time and enthusiasm into inspiring others to join the ranks of volunteers and officials.  His dedication and willingness to give his time and energy has made him an invaluable person to his County and Region. 

Brian Dent of Mansfield picked up the Aquaforce Long Service Award after being involved with Sherwood Colliery Swimming Club for 64 years.

Since qualifying as a swimming teacher in 1967 Dent has joined the Club Committee and acted as Club Chairman, Polo Secretary and Club President for 10 years.  He is also a qualified Official and regularly helps out at the Club Championships.  

He encourages every swimmer to achieve their full potential and it has been his responsibility to oversee the young swimmers progressing through successfully.  His input in the club as a committee member is incredibly valued for the passion and expertise that he offers.   

The Young Volunteer Award went to Jonathan Woodford of York. Woodford is just 17 years old and volunteers at the New Earswick Swimming Club nearly every day of the week. 

At 14 Woodford began helping the club’s non swimmers in the learn to swim programme.  He rapidly became involved with other groups and at the age of 16 he successfully completed his ASA Level 1 Teaching Aquatics course and began to lead his own lessons and became involved with the club’s competitive training squads.  More recently he completed his ASA Level 1 coaching swimming course and has gone on to take over as Lead Coach to the Age Group Development 1 squad. 

Yvette Heywood, the ASA’s National Volunteer Co-ordinator, said: “Volunteers are the backbone of our sport and the Aquaforce Awards are key in recognising their hard work throughout the year. Everyone’s contributions to swimming have been outstanding and all are very deserving of the award.”

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