Coach passes on baton after 63 years with swimming club

STALYBRIDGE Swimming Club has new coaches after Brian Ward decided to step down – but his 63-year association with them will go on.

Brian Ward, left, with coaches Rachel Heap and Lee Grint

The 72-year-old has opted to hand over the reins to Lee Grint and Rachel Heap after sterling service at the Copley pool.

But just because he will longer be chief coach from June does not mean he will never be seen around the place again.

Brian will still be there alongside other members at their sessions.

“I was originally chief coach from 1983-2000 when I retired but every time the club hasn’t had one, they’ve always gone back to me,” he said.

“Now we’ve two great people in Lee and Rachel who will be chief coaches so I’m handing the role over to them.

“I first started with Stalybridge Swimming Club when I was nine-years-old, so that’s 63 years I’ve been with them.

“Of course, there have been breaks when I started a family but when my two children started there, I went back.”

The role of chief coach involves a lot more than just shouting at people when they are in the pool.

Brian has been there three days a week, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, to try and get the very best for the club and its swimmers.

And there are a few, with at least 50 in each session.

Now the end is coming, Brian is started to reminisce on his time with the club,

He added: “I look back fondly on it. We did a lot and we’ve won quite a lot during my time with them.

“Now we’ve got about 200 swimmers who are associated with Stalybridge Swimming Club and we’ve been rebuilding the competitive teams.

“I’ll still be there three days a week, I’m just stepping down as chief coach and taking a back seat, letting someone else take charge.”

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