Saturday, October 8, 2016

#WSW16 Celebrating Women in Sport – Phyllis McLean

Launched in June 2015, Women’s Sport Week featured original and curated content across local and national media, supported by Government and the wider sport industry, as the nation looked ahead to an exciting summer for women’s sport.

Women’s Sport Week was designed and launched to celebrate, raise awareness and increase the profile of women’s sport across the UK. Focusing on media coverage, elite competition, grassroots participation and workforce, the week featured original and shared content across local and national media, supported by Government and the wider sport industry, as the nation looked ahead to an exciting summer for women’s sport.

This year Women’s Sport Week runs from 3rd to 9th October and each day we will be sharing a news story celebrating Scottish Swimming’s Women in Sport. Today we meet diver Phyllis McLean, National Chair for Synchronised Swimming in Scotland.

How did you get involved in synchronised swimming?  

Gosh, I was a competitive swimmer a long while ago now and got fed up pounding up and down the pool but loved the water, so joined the nearest synchronised swimming club – Clydebank Marlins as they were known then!  I didn’t realise when I joined then that I would still be pounding up and down a pool but to music!   After I got married and had three wonderful boys I thought I could give something back to the sport that I enjoyed so much and still do.  So here I am back many years later coaching, organising events and holding the position of Chairperson for Scottish Swimming.

What is your greatest achievement in synchronised swimming and what has made you most proud

I think my personal achievement was being selected for the London 2012 Olympics as a Technical Official.  It was a great honour me and for my family.  However, to help Lauren Smith to achieve Scotland’s first ever synchronised medal for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi 2010 was a very proud moment for us in Scottish Synchro.

How important are female sporting role models in encouraging girls to participate? 

I think it is very important to have female role models as in this day of media it is so much easier to see what or where our female sporting heroes are competing or endorsing. 

What stops girls participating in swimming and other aquatic disciplines – Is there anything we can do to overcome these barriers?

I think that women need more sporting role models and I think that the only way that's going to happen is to have more coverage of women's sport on TV and in the media generally.  I guess this also comes down to funding also to gain more exposure.

What transferable skills can girls gain from synchronised swimming, and what are the wider benefits of these? 

Athletes need to be very disciplined, self-motivated and work hard as they do in any sport.  This can also be spread across the swimmers everyday life, whether it be at school or university.  Synchronised swimming is a team sport but can also be an individual sport so it offers the best for athletes to get creative, express themselves and challenge themselves.

Who is your female sporting hero and why?

Nadia Comaneci the gymnast from Romania.  At the age of 14 got the perfect ‘10’ for her bar routine.  I can stillemember thinking ‘WOW’ The first person ever to achieve 10. 

What are your ambitions for the future?  

Right now my ambition is to ensure the smooth running of our Scottish National and Age Group Synchronised Swimming Championships that are being held at the end of the month.  I have the LEN Europeans coming to Edinburgh in 2018 so looking forward to the hard work to create a great event.