DOUBLE Olympic medallist Nick Gillingham MBE was guest of honour at Redditch Swimming Club’s annual presentation evening held at the Studley Road Social Club in Redditch.

The three-time Olympian spoke to the 230 strong audience of swimmers and parents about his career, starting at competing for his local school in Walsall through to standing on the podium at the Olympic Games.

The 47-year-old held the audience spellbound by detailing key steps throughout his career.He revealed his secret was gradual improvements each time he raced and encouraged the swimmers to improve just a little bit each time they train and swim.

The British swimming legend then presented awards to several of the event winners from Redditch’s 2013 club championships and to the top swimmers in each age group.

Head Coach Chris Britt then announced the winners of two very special annual awards. The Swimmer of the Year award won by club captain Paul Wilkes.

One of Wilkes’ many achievements in 2013 had been to win the Worcester County 100m butterfly title for the tenth consecutive year, as well as having again qualified for and competed at the ASA National Championships in Sheffield.

The winner of the club’s Most Improved Swimmer was Faith Mowat, who had qualified for nine events at the 2014 County Championships, with good medal prospects in some events, despite not having qualified for any events at the 2013 championships.

The Alan Field Awards to the top boy and top girl in the eight years and under age group, based on results from the 2013 club championships, were presented to Bryony Lowe and Jake Hemming.

Afterwards, Gillingham signed autographs and allowed everyone to be photographed with his Olympic silver and bronze medals.

Following the presentations, chairman Alun Lewis announced the club will be working with Gillingham, and current GB International swimmers Joe Roebuck and Amy Smith, on a series of skills development sessions.

These are set to be held throughout the year at the Abbey Stadium pool in Redditch.

The first of these will be a breaststroke session coached by Gillingham in early April.

Any prospective swimmers are welcome to join one of the most competitive clubs in the Midlands by contacting Britt on 01527 853257.

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