Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

MENTOR MAGIC; TEES ACTIVE 12th ANNUAL SPORTS AWARDS 2008/9 the Power Behind the Stars

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

MENTOR MAGIC; TEES ACTIVE 12th ANNUAL SPORTS AWARDS 2008/9 the Power Behind the Stars

Article excerpt

EVEN the greatest sportsmen and women can't do it all on their own.

Behind the best team or individual nearly always stands a trusted coach or mentor.

Their contribution can often go unrewarded accept by their own charges. We want to bring them out of the shadows.

That's why the Evening Gazette Sports Awards recognises the importance of such committed people with our Coach/Mentor or the Year category.

This is often one of the most difficult to judge as a result of the depth of coaching skills on Teesside.

Recent winners include swimming coach Graeme Antwhistle and Boro's Academy director Dave Parnaby.

Graeme is a hugely important part of Borough of Stockton Swim Scheme (BOSSS) and winning the award capped an outstanding year for the then 27-year-old from Billingham.

Graeme's swimmers at the time included the hugely promising Jessica Dickons, Jemma Lowe, Andrew Winspear and Matthew Allison, who have thrived on the national and international stage.

He said modestly: "I keep saying that the success is all down to the swimmers themselves, I just sell it to them.

"They train 20 hours a week in the water and five hours on the land, hopefully they believe in what I'm trying to sell and that's the way forward.

"Hopefully we all enjoy it along the way as well. This award is part of recognising the talent that is in the club and hopefully what I'm trying to achieve within the club as well."

Graeme has been head coach of BOSSS since 1998 and is among the top 10 coaches in the country, having been selected for UK Sports' Elite Coach programme, which aims to accelerate the development of the nation's most exciting coaching prospects.

He plans to produce more champions, adding: "At the end of the day I want to stay within Stockton and continue coaching the swimmers I'm coaching.

"That's my main priority. I've swam with the club since I was three and it's what I'm about.

"I want to continue to produce hopefully Olympic standard swimmers.

"Five years ago we only had one national swimmer, so to have several in the top six in the UK and hopefully moving on to join Jessica and Jemma in the big European competitions is pretty special. …

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