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Legacy of Hall of Fame inductee Alan Donlan ‘will never be forgotten’

Tributes have been paid to former Amateur Swimming Association President Alan Donlan, who has died at the age of 87.

When past President Alan Donlan was among the first group of inductees into the Swim England Hall of Fame, he expressed his astonishment that a ‘mere mortal’ was being honoured alongside a ‘group of celebrities and international medal holders’.

Yet, Alan’s contribution to aquatics were certainly worthy of being recognised among some of the sports’ biggest names.

For almost 60 years, Alan tirelessly devoted his life to swimming.

He held positions at every level of the sport, including club, county, district and region, culminating in being installed as ASA President in 2007.

But it was his role developing and administering the ASA’s education programme that he will be most remembered for.

One the course of 40 years, he used his vast experience to enhance the programme and was instrumental in developing the national and international reputation behind it.

“When I first saw the education system of the ASA, I was horrified,” he said. “I set about getting it changed and bringing it all up to date.”

He was the longest serving secretary of any ASA committee in the history of the organisation having sat on the Education Committee from 1973 until 1999.

Incredibly honoured

That service was recognised by Swim England in 2019 when Alan was one five living inductees out of 26 initially included in the Hall of Fame when it was launched as part of the national governing body’s 150th anniversary celebrations.

He stood proudly alongside Olympians Duncan Goodhew, Sharron Davies and Steve Parry at the Hall of Fame ceremonial dinner and said at the time: “It’s an incredible feeling.

“I was staggered when I found out. I was incredibly honoured and it makes you feel very proud.

“When I found out who my fellow inductees were, I was astonished that I, a mere mortal, should be alongside a group of celebrities and international medal holders.

“My years of service to the swimming world would not have been possible without the support of my wife, [Winifred], of 59 years standing.

“Finally, my thanks to whoever nominated me and, just as important, those who decided I was worthy of selection.”

Andy Salmon, Swim England chief executive, said: “Everyone at Swim England is deeply saddened to hear of Alan’s passing and we send our condolences to his family and friends.

“His dedication and contribution to aquatics was unwavering across many decades and he played such an important role in the development of the ASA’s education programme.

“His legacy will never be forgotten and his induction to the Swim England Hall of Fame is testament to that.”