Swim England

A nation swimming

Ryan and Michelle honoured at Sport and Recreation Alliance National Awards

Two swimming volunteers have been honoured for their contribution to aquatics at the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s National Awards 2024.

Ryan Carstairs was crowned Inspiration of the Year for his work with Swim England’s Ripple Effect Project.

Despite being profoundly deaf and autistic, Ryan has been a competitive swimmer for more than eight years and has also been training to become a timekeeper and judge – all while studying for an A-level in photography and a diploma in sports studies alongside caring for his mum.

Ryan, who was also named as a finalist in the Volunteer of the Year category at last year’s Swim England National Awards, joined the Ripple Effect project through UK Deaf Sport.

He said after being presented with his prize during the awards ceremony at Headingley Stadium, Leeds: “I was completely shocked. 

“I started to tear up at the table with my parents.

“I’m so, so, so happy that all I did in the past few months is the right track to make everyone happy and cheer up.”

Michelle Weltman admitted it was an ‘honour’ to receive the Volunteer of the Year award,

As a volunteer, Michelle has worked with LGBTQ+ aquatics club Out to Swim for more than 30 years and the London Disability Swimming Club.

Her work has pioneered inclusive approached to aquatics at elite and participation levels for the LGBTQ+ and disability swimming communities.

Michelle said: “It’s always an honour to win an award but it’s also I think it highlights the importance of volunteering, how we need to give back to the community and how important that is.”

A total of 25 finalists were shortlisted for the eight Sport and Recreation Alliance’s National Awards.

Ripple Effect volunteer Allyson Irvine was also nominated in the Inspiration of the Year – while the Somerset ASA was shortlisted in the Mental Health and Wellbeing Award category.