Tim Reddish dedicates Hall of Fame induction to his family20 November 2023
Throughout a 13-year career in the pool, para swimmer Tim Reddish won 25 medals, including five at the Paralympic Games.
He’s made an outstanding contribution to the sport as an athlete, coach and administrator that has led to him being appointed an MBE, OBE and CBE for his services to swimming and disability sport.
At the 2023 Swim England National Awards ceremony in Birmingham, he was inducted into the Swim England Hall of Fame for his lifetime of service to aquatics.
Five time Paralympic medallist Tim Reddish has dedicated his Swim England Hall of Fame induction to his family.
Speaking at the ceremony Tim admitted that if it wasn’t for the support of his wife, Val, he would’ve never reached the level that he achieved.
He said: “I’ve been really privileged and honoured to be awarded so many things. Yes, I’ve worked hard but the family’s worked hard and it belongs to the family. It belongs to Val if not as much but more, because without their backing and support it never would have happened.
“There’s always people behind the scenes and Val’s been the driving force really. When I’ve had bad times when it’s not been working, Val and the kids have been there to keep me going.”
Reaching Paralympic success
Always a keen swimmer, Tim swam throughout his youth and after his sight deteriorated he was recommended to aim for the Paralympics by his colleague, British Olympic silver medallist Maggie Kelly.
“I’d swam until I was a teen and I’d been a swimming teacher and a coach so I was just swimming for fun at the time.
“She came back after the Olympics when I’d just been diagnosed and said ‘you ought to give the Paralympics a go’
“When I was first diagnosed disability sport wasn’t funded but when I was going blind swimming gave me desire and I suppose discipline and routine.
“It was something that I knew I could do. I had to learn a whole new way of functioning but I didn’t need to learn a new way to swim.”
He went on to three silver and two bronze medals across the Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games but said that his favourite memories of his career were the moments that swimming brought to him outside of the pool.
“I have some incredible memories of things like a 16 year old Chinese blind swimmer wanting to meet me at the Beijing games after he’d smashed all my records.
“But he wanted to meet me and thank me for getting involved and inspiring him. It’s those sort of things that are special to me.
“The Ukrainian swimmer, Viktor Smyrnov. My last race internationally was his first race internationally.
“I won gold on the podium, he won bronze, and he came to Manchester this year for the World Championships, which was his last event.
“And he rung me and said, ‘are you coming up to see me?’ So I went up to see him and, and we spent a good hour together, just reminiscing.”
‘It will always be there’
Tim’s dedication to the sport both in and out of the pool have left a major impact on British Swimming. He was appointed National coordinator and later National Performance Director where he led the British team to success up until the Beijing Paralympics.
And of his many honours from a CBE to being awarded Freeman of the City of Nottingham it’s giving back to the sport and the community that means the most to him.
“I’ve been appointed a deputy lieutenant for Nottingham Shield. So I’m one of the King’s representative of Nottingham and that’s not just just because I’ve won medals.
“It’s because people believe that I’m worthy of those honours and recognition because I’ve put things back.
“It’s not just about the medal; it’s about what you do with your life, giving back to the community
“There’s not one honour that I love any more than the others but things like the Hall of Fame are special.
“Not everybody understands what it means. They don’t realise it’s the highest honour that an organisation gives somebody.
“It’s amazing because it doesn’t happen all the time and a lot of the things I do are what I’ve gone out and made happen.
“The outcome is like the medal and the Hall of Fame is recognition.
“And to know that Swim England are recognising that is important because the Hall of Fame is their perpetuity. In years to come the Hall of Fame will always be there and it’s their for my friends and family to remember.”