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Doug Whitlam elected Swim England President for 2023-24

The new President of Swim England, Doug Whitlam, says he wants to pay tribute to volunteers during his 12-month tenure.

He was recently presented with the ceremonial chain by current President Jim Wilks, at the 2023 Swim England Artistic Swimming National Junior and Senior Championships.

Doug, from the East Midlands region, will attend numerous events up and down the country throughout the next 12 months as part of his Presidential duties.

And after being nominated as Vice President in October 2019, he is excited about taking on the presidential role.

Speaking at the Championships he said: “I’m looking forward to visiting different parts of the country, seeing those various sports, but in particular my main focus will be on those volunteers.

“So such as today I took a little bit of time out to come down to the area where all the officials, judges and volunteers are to have a chat with them and find out some of their back stories.

“And because of my involvement on pool side as a coach I really do appreciate the work that all the volunteers do. Whether it be the officials, the backroom staff, every single one of them.”

Doug’s presidency was postponed for two years to allow for former President, Ian Mackenzie, to continue in his role for an extra 12 months after he missed out on being able to carry out the usual Presidential duties due to the pandemic and the cancellation of a number of Swim England events.

He was initially nominated to take on the role in May 2021 before handing over the ceremonial chains to Jim, who was selected by the Swim England board to be President during the Commonwealth Games year.

Doug says that having this extra time has allowed him to speak to gain a greater understanding of the role.

“It’s given me the opportunity to speak to those that have been president, to understand some of the elements that go with the role too.

“I’m excited to continue being a part of these incredible sports where the standards are constantly being pushed and risen all of the time.

“So I’m really looking forward to it and I’m grateful that my health is good enough to allow me to enjoy it properly.”

“My hats off to them”

Doug has been heavily involved in swimming for more than 40 years.

He first got involved through his children and became a swimming coach in 1979 at Derby Phoenix Swimming Club, something he still does to this day.

After being the clubs head coach for 21 years he also held the role of both President and Chairman of Derbyshire Swimming, where he helped to negotiate the county’s new 50m Moorways pool.

In 2019, he accepted the role as the East Midlands regions President and served the region for two years before being nominated as president-elect.

He was even awarded an MBE in 2001 which referenced his services to swimming in the Derbyshire area.

And Doug was quick to thank both Jim and Ian for their work and for helping him to prepare for the role.

“Oh, my hats off to Ian in particular because he took on the position knowing it was going to be 18 months.

“A number of people then spoke to him about whether he would consider carrying on for another 12 months to give him the opportunity to experience being President properly.

“So he took on the role and I know how active and involved he was in everything across our sports.

‘It’s well deserved’

“And Jim who put his head above the parapet, willing to be president during the year of the Commonwealth Games which he has done admirably.

“I’ve had a number of occasions spent with him both at the Commonwealth Games and prior to that at other events too.

“He even attended our own county championships that we had in February this year, which interestingly were the very first county championships to be held at the new Moorways 50m pool.”

After handing over the Presidency to Doug, Jim said: “Because of Covid and then the Commonwealth Games, Doug has had to wait a long time for this role.

“But now he’s got his opportunity and I know he’s absolutely thrilled and is really looking forward to it. And so he should do as well!

“It’s well deserved. He’s done a fantastic job over the years for his county and his region. And he’s got his recognition now and that’s how it should be.

“It’s been a pleasure to hand the chain of office over to him.”