Plymouth Leander head coach Jon Rudd was named coach of the year at the BSCA annual conference in Birmingham in recognition of a stellar year for his swimmers. Rudd is of course the coach of Ruta Meilutyte who has won just about every title there is going this year as well as setting a hatful of records in the process, but the accolades don’t stop there. Plymouth Leander swimmers Grace Vertigans and Ben Proud also had years to remember with a medal at the world junior championships and a British record respectively to their names.
This is the second year in a row that Rudd has taken the title, but he was quick to pay tribute to the work done by his assistant at Plymouth, Lindsay Dunn, who as strength and conditioning coach is credited with getting Meilutyte into such phenomenal physical shape.
That was the top prize given at the annual awards bash for Britain’s coaches, but there were several other coaches who received honours. James Gibson was presented with the Coaching award of excellence for his part in Fran Halsall’s bronze medal in the 50m freestyle at the world championships, Britain’s only medal in the pool of course, while Millfield’s Jol Finck was named Youth Coach of the year in recognition of the work he has done with James Guy, surely the outstanding British male swimmer of 2013.
In the Paralympic field, Billy Pye was named Disability Coach of the Year, while UEA Norwich’s Alex Pinninger received the Disability Coaching Award of Excellence. Pye has a long record of success and 2013 was no different as he coached Ellie Simmonds to another hatful of medals at the World Championships in Montreal. Pinninger meanwhile is the coach of S14 superstar Jessica-Jane Applegate who won a full house of medals in Montreal, and set a world record din the 200m freestyle for good measure.
The final coaching award of the event, the Alan Hime Memorial award, is presented in recognition of a coach new to the international scene. Following a stunning 100m breaststroke British record of 1:07.36 from his charge Sophie Taylor at the World Junior Championships, a performance that secured a silver medal to go alongside a bronze over 50m, the deserving winner was Richard Denigan from City of Leeds.
The BSCA also conferred life memberships on Russ Barber (City of Sheffield) and Mark Rose (City of Manchester Aquatics), a fellowship to Brian McGuiness and concluded the evening by presenting a lifetime achievement award to Paddy Garrett.
You can hear from Jon Rudd and Jol Finck in the pullbuoy podcast.