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Horwich swimming coach David Dewhurst wins Youth Champion Award

Horwich swimming coach David Dewhurst has been named as the second winner of the Swim England Youth Champion Award.

Dewhurst received the accolade from Swim England’s National Youth Advisory Panel, recognised for his contribution to young people in the swimming and aquatics community.

The 61-year-old has been at Horwich Leisure Centre ASC for more than 25 years, firstly as a parent – having taught his children how to swim – then as a committee member, swimmer and eventually as a coach.

He first got involved in the sport aged seven, when his dad taught him the basics of swimming.

Dewhurst then went on to join a club and compete for his school swimming team.

He said: “While my dad was teaching my younger brother, I was noticed by an amateur swimming coach and he asked my dad if I would be interested in training at a higher level.

“It wasn’t many weeks later that I was training six days a week!

“I can remember being a member of a swimming club which had three coaches, and my father had significant input helping out behind the scenes.

“Like many other kids of my age, I had completed every badge and award that was available by the time I was 11.”

Inspiring young coaches

During his time at Horwich, David has held a variety of voluntary positions alongside his coaching, including membership secretary, technical official (starter and referee) and team manager

He has encouraged many young swimmers to get involved in the running of the club.

More than 20 have progressed into swim coaching or teaching and David often provides them with mentoring support while they develop their skills.

He offers countless hours of his time to mentor and teach young coaches and teachers new methods and practices, supporting and encouraging their development and independence as they continue their aquatic journey through volunteering.

Giving back

Gareth Rose, Horwich Leisure Centre ASC club chairperson, said: “Anybody who is swimming or working with David benefits from his experience. He always finds the time for anybody.

“He interacts well with parents and committee members alike for the benefit of all swimmers and the club in general.”

David added: “My greatest enjoyment is derived from developing skills in young swimmers and finding ways to motivate them to stay in the sport.

“It’s been a real delight over the last few years to have been given the opportunity to work with older swimmers and develop them from poolside helpers to young teachers and coaches.

“It’s especially nice to see them go on to use knowledge I have shared with them, and pass it onto the next generation. It gives me a sense of purpose.

“I view the time and effort I expend in coaching and encouraging others as a sort of payback for the enjoyment that my family and I have taken out of swimming – and I like to think that I have given others the opportunity to do the same.

“Winning this award means a lot to me and I’m delighted to have been nominated for it by the Youth Advisory Panel. I can only thank those people I have been lucky enough to be influenced by along the way.”

If you know of other individuals who champion the voice of young people in the swimming and aquatic community, then please help us recognise and celebrate their work by nominating them for the Youth Champion Award here.