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Volunteers Week - Artistic Volunteers


Today we spotlight an entire family of Volunteers, Artistic Swimming Judges (among other things) Karen, Tom and Kerri Brennan. Karen tells us how they got into Volunteering, their highlights and what they have coming up:

Tom started to get involved in poolside help, when Kerri was 4 and joined Welwyn Garden Swimming club. Sitting at the side of the pool was pretty frustrating and boring, if we are honest, watching your child, not listening or ducking under when coach is talking. (we have all seen our kids do this 🤣🤣) rather than moan at our daughter, and make going swimming a chore, we decided to help the coaches, be an extra set of eyes, encourage those children sitting on bottom of the pool, to engage.

This lead to Tom being poached for a committee role and myself taking on the Club swim shop. Tom went on teaching aquatic courses and then coaching, timekeeper and judging courses.

Whilst our daughter competed we needed to drive her there so why not get involved.I spent time with WGSC committee sourcing kit for WGSC and selling it Sunday evenings, our team always looked well turned out. My parents did it for me when I swum for Edmonton phoenix, with my dad being on the committee.

At age 10 Kerri wanted to try Artistic swimming, Tom helped poolside. I helped decorate costumes and headpieces.

Once Kerri turned 14 she did the poolside helpers course, and at 16 her level 1 teaching aquatics and her level 1 Synchronised swimming coach award. To help youngsters up and coming get the best from 2 aquatic sports Kerri loved. She trained up as Judge, timekeeper, Level 2 in both Competitive, and Artistic swimming (formerly Synchronised swimming) Tom also transferred his Aquatic skills to Artistic swimming, gaining his Level 1 artistic swimming coach, to go alongside his level 2 teaching aquatics and level 2 coach awards.

Tom was approached to become the chairman of Aqualina. He accepted, and 10 years later still going strong. He was Herts president 2019-2021 and in 2012 was awarded the accolade of running with the Olympic torch, he was nominated for all he has done for grass roots sport.

Kerri was just 18 when she took over as Head coach of Aqualina, Tom and I wanted to support her fully, so we gained our judge qualifications (over time) Tom’s a level 2 and earlier this year i got my level 3 along side Kerri, this is really helpful for east region, as in Artistic swimming we can run more events. I too trained as level 1 and 2 coach in artistic swimming.

Up until last year Kerri and Tom had fully supported both Welwyn Garden Swimming club and Aqualina Artistic swimming club, but with a new little fish in the family, ( our grandson Rex) something had to give, so both Kerri and Tom hung up their whistles for WGSC, who thankfully had lots of helpers.

We all three, coach, judge and give alot of time to Aqualina, where we have watched swimmers grow, and enjoy it and now some of them represent GB at aged just 14. It feels like they are an extended part of our family, we have an amazing rapport with the swimmers and we enjoy giving up our time, to see them flourish.

Tom was Head Coach at WGSC and heads up Herts Artistic swimming committee, we all are on the East region artistic swimming committee.

We have given up a few weekends this year for big major events, judging, or team manager or head coach. Our next big event is the Combo Cup. Sat 2nd July 2022. At London Aquatic centre. I will judge, Tom is team manager and Kerri is Head Coach.

Before then we have an East Region competition on 11th June and then a wedding to sneak in on the 18th June! (3rd date thanks to covid) where a team of synchronised swimmers will perform!

We love what we do and the joy it brings. Yes we keep busy, but we love it and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Why don’t you give it a try? You may surprise yourself.

Fancy training as an Artistic Judge? Volunteer Training and Development