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Tributes paid to legendary swimming coach Mike Higgs

Mark Foster is among those to have paid tribute to legendary swimming coach Mike Higgs, who has died at the age of 73.

The founder of the Borough of Southend Swimming Club had fought cancer for a year, losing his battle on 13 July.

Higgs was influential in the careers of double Olympic medallist Sarah Hardcastle, as well as Commonwealth champions Jackie Willmott and Foster.

Foster, a six-time short course world champion, took to social media to share his condolences.

‘An inspiration’

In a storied career poolside, Higgs led multiple swimmers to international success, perhaps most notably Hardcastle, who won 400m freestyle silver and 800m bronze at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

Higgs’ achievements led to him being inducted into the British Swimming Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame.

The organisation told Swimming World: “Mike was a highly respected international swimming coach who had the ability to inspire young swimmers and take them to the very highest levels of competitive swimming.

“Mike was a great, inspirational swimming coach and a natural born leader to all of the other swimming coaches in Essex and across the United Kingdom.

“Mike will be sadly missed by all those that will recall his sharp wit, humour and considerable swimming knowledge experienced on poolside throughout the country and on the international stage over many years.

“Mike leaves behind his wife Pam and family, together with his many friends.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to them at this extremely difficult time.”

Photo: Borough of Southend Swimming Club