Wednesday June 21 marked an extremely exciting Stingrays Swimming Session. One of the very first members of our swim squad coached the session. It was an incredible evening full of confidence and pride.
The opportunity arose from a North Yorkshire Sport lead incentive called Pass On Your Passion. The campaign focussed on female coaches in North Yorkshire. Members of the sporting world were invited to nominate inspiring female coaches. I was nominated by Fiona Garnett, Swim Development Officer at Tadcaster Community Swimming Pool, for my coaching of Stingrays.
I then received an email stating I had been awarded a Pass On Your Passion award. The email gave me a huge feeling of self-pride as my hard work and coaching skills were being acknowledged. I also experienced a huge wave of excitement at the same time. Through being awarded, it was now my responsibility to Pass On My Passion for coaching and swimming to a female I coach. I instantly thought of Freya.
Freya is an incredible 13-year-old who swims with Stingrays. Over the last year I have seen her swimming skills improve enormously due to her hard work and dedication. Belonging to Stingrays has given her the key to unlock her confidence around others, given her the skills to make conversations and enthusiastically stand up to say what she believes in. For these reasons, I saw no one better to Pass On My Passion to. I chose Freya to coach a session of Stingrays. She was over the moon when I told her that I wanted to reward her in this way.
I was so impressed with the hard work and determination she showed when planning for the session. I wrote a session plan and she learnt it. She even added her own tips and tricks for the swimmers to concentrate on to improve their technique. She created cards as a visual aid to help both herself and the swimmers know what was next.
The time came for Freya’s big moment. It was time for Freya’s Stingray Session. She showed no nerves and took the responsibility in her stride. She was ready and she could do it! She not only coached the session without fault but also took part – something I know I would struggle with. She used a clear and confident voice throughout and the session was enjoyed by all the other swimmers. We finished by congratulating Freya for her hard work and her squeals of joy could be heard across Tadcaster as I passed her the baton from the campaign.
It filled me with joy to be able to watch the session and see the pride in everyone. Freya has now been asked to make a presentation to her class and tell everyone about her Stingrays Session. She is spreading the word of inclusion, empowerment and showing everyone what she can do.
In other Stingray news, we now have nine swimmers. The improvements in all their skills can be easily seen. Their stamina and strengths are increasing, their techniques are almost pristine and their friendships are ever stronger. The most exciting part is Stingrays now have team swim caps and hoodies featuring our team logo. These fantastic symbols of belonging to a group really enforce the aims of Stingrays and how we train as a team. The inclusive ideas behind Stingrays are shining through everything we do and give the young people something which in the past has been limited by lack of opportunity.
I am full of pride and admiration for all my swimmers and the amazing things they do.