Swim England

A nation swimming

Denton Artistic thank 'wonderful' staff and swimmers after winning national award

The first winners at the 2021 Swim England National Awards have been named and see Denton Artistic Swimming Club and Leyland Barracudas Swimming Club as winners.

Elizabeth Fitzgerald and the coaching team at Denton Artistic Swimming Club were named as winners of the Sport Innovation Award for their incredible efforts throughout the pandemic.

They delivered more than 300 hours of Zoom training and choreographed new routines for their swimmers despite not having access to a pool during lockdown.

Speaking on their win, Elizabeth said: “Thank you so much for awarding us the Sport Innovation Award.

“We are a little club with big plans and we decided as soon as lockdown hit that we wanted to keep the team together and work hard.

“Our tireless coach, 13-18 coach Sophie put together a timetable of amazing activities with myself, our coaches Sue, Aimee and Leslie planned the sessions.

“Our wonderful committee and team manager Nikki safeguarded all of the sessions. And while all this was very important, none of this would have been possible without our wonderful swimmers. Thank you so much.”

In her acceptance of the award, Elizabeth made sure to note all those who have tirelessly supported the club throughout the past 18 months.

She named the key volunteers as being Gillian Rankin, Jon Ward, Rachel Linley, Gayle Adams, Liz Ascroft, Rachael Rankin, Jayne Elliott, Lisa Robinson, Judith & Gary Dutton, Sara Porter, and Lisa Brady.

In addition, the club had volunteer coaches organising online activities and keeping members engaged. These were Cliff Taylor, Mike Wilson, Lee Williams, Paul Ascroft, Carole Jepson, Simon Welsby, Tracy Pedley, Gavin Simpson, Rachel Blundell, Michael Stott.

Young volunteers in the club included Grace Adams, Mia Ascroft, Rosie Linley, Sophie Welsby.

Engagement Innovation Award

The Barracudas Taskforce at Leyland Barracudas Swimming Club were named as winners of the Swim England Engagement Innovation Award.

This group of volunteers was established at the beginning of the first lockdown period in England and succeeded in keeping their club communication strong.

Adopting new software allowed them to deliver training and activities virtually, some of which included quizzes, challenges, baking competitions, cook-a-longs, as well as educational content such as the importance of nutrition and hydration.

Their enthusiasm for this new way of life never wavered, maintaining motivation and interest levels throughout that period.