Swim England

A nation swimming

John Bird presented with the 2017 Alfred H Turner Award

South West region’s John Bird was presented with the prestigious Alfred H Turner Award at the 2017 Annual Council meeting.

John’s involvement in swimming began after his children joined Plymouth Leander. Less than a month later, his enthusiasm grew when the club coach passed him a copy of Swimming Times magazine.

This was followed by a light-hearted suggestion that John might like to help out with timekeeping at a small gala. From these humble beginnings, John ended up as ASA President in 2015/6.

Prior to becoming president, John was active at club and county level. This culminated in his election as Devon County Swimming Secretary and then county president in 1998.

During this time, he was team manager to Kelly College Swim Squad and the college biathlon and triathlon teams.

The Alfred H Turner Award

The Alfred H Turner Award and the Harold Fern Award are given to two individuals or organisations making the most outstanding contribution to aquatics at club, county, regional, national or international level.

In selecting the winner of the award each year, the Sport Governing Board give consideration to:

  • outstanding achievement in advancing the sport through competition/coaching/officiating
  • outstanding achievement in the administration of the sport
  • outstanding achievement in advising the sport

Read more about the Alfred H Turner Award, including past winners, in the Swim England Handbook.

A long standing relationship with the sport

John became a member of the Western Counties Executive Committee in 1985. He remained in various capacities until the district was re-designated as the South West Region in 2005.

At this point, he was elected the region’s administration officer and managing board member.

In 1995, John first represented the district on the ASA Swimming Committee and when a number of sub-committees were formed. He became secretary of the Events Management Committee, developing the work previously carried out by the late Graham Sykes and others.

This included finalising and maintaining the swimming competition calendar which included county, district/regional, national and major international championships, league and ESSA championships.

John was appointed chairman of the ASA Swimming Committee from 2000 – 2002. He then returned to the Western Counties as district secretary in time to lead the district through the regionalisation process.

John was a member of the working group that was instrumental in advising what changes were required to the ASA constitution following regionalisation.

He is still responsible for maintaining and updating the South West region’s constitution.