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Jim Wilks reflects on being Swim England President during a historic year

Former Swim England President Jim Wilks has reflected on his historic year in the role.

Jim, from the North West region, had the honour of being selected for the position by the Swim England board during a Commonwealth Games year.

It gave him the opportunity to visit and attend the Games in Birmingham which Jim recalled as one of his many highlights throughout the last 12 months.

“What a 12 months it has been!” He said.

“I don’t think anything quite prepares you for it. Over the years I’ve done various jobs at local, regional and county level but then you come into this big Swim England presidency role and, it’s amazing, absolutely amazing.

“You get to travel all across the country and get to see so many incredible events every weekend.

“It’s really been a fantastic experience.

A surreal feeling

“There been so many highlights throughout the year, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

“I’ve been fortunate because it gave me the opportunity to attend the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and that was rather special.

“It was one of those moments where you think back to when you started your career in the sport, and suddenly you think ‘I’m here, how did this happen’?

“And there was a nice link with my family for the Games as my grandfather was born in Smethwick so that made it extra special to be there.

“But it was fabulous. Fabulous to attend and to be involved in such an incredible event in some way.”

As well as attending the Games, Jim and his wife Norma attended a number of clubs and events up and down the county to help promote the aquatic disciplines.

He’s enjoyed his time in the position and has felt honoured to witness some of the nation’s future stars throughout his tenure.

“All the events have been great.

“I specifically remember attending the Diving National Skills competition in Leeds and it was absolutely incredible to see those youngsters starting off in their careers.

“Hopefully some of those divers will go on to become Olympians in the future and it showed just one example of all the incredible talent across aquatics in this country.”

Jim recently handed over the ceremonial chain to new President, Doug Whitham, at the 2023 Swim England Artistic Swimming National Junior and Senior Championships.

And after passing on the presidential reigns, he showed his support for Doug as he takes on the role.

“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.”

Reflecting on his time in office, Jim said that it was an honour and a privilege to be Swim England President.