Friday, November 16, 2018

Aberdeen swimming coach picks up sportscotland award

“The integration of the programme is very important to us, we’re not looking to exclude any athletes or make it able bodied only. It’s about making sure every athlete is included, challenged and able to achieve their potential in the sport.”

An Aberdeen coach has been recognised for his stellar work in para swimming after he was named sportscotland’s Disability Coach of the Year.

Gregor McMillan is the Head Coach of the University of Aberdeen Performance Swimming squad and some of his brightest prospects have had seasons to remember as Toni Shaw won six medals (two gold, two silver and two bronze) at the IPC European Swimming Championships and Conner Morrison won silver at the same competition.

A key part of Gregor’s coaching ethos is to have a fully inclusive programme for both able bodied and para swimmers, with the only goal being to ensure each swimmer is able to reach their potential.

As well as having a great understanding of inclusion and para swimming and creating an equitable environment for swimmers with a disability, Gregor goes to great lengths to adapt his coaching practices to ensure the best fit for each athlete and has linked with both Scottish Swimming and British Para-Swimming to further develop his knowledge and understanding of the para-swimming pathway.

Gregor is working hard with Toni and Conner as they look to make the step up to world level with an eye on Tokyo 2020, but it’s not his athletes winning medals that gives him the most satisfaction in his work, it is seeing improvements in all his athletes both in the pool and away from the pool.

He said: “The success of the guys in the last year has been down to their hard work. They’ve put the building blocks in place in terms of commitment and attention to detail. The progression for them will be to try and step up from European level to try and be successful on the world circuit this season, and beyond that Tokyo is the next goal.

“The most rewarding thing about what I do is seeing athletes develop, both physically and personally. Getting results from perseverance and hard work is so rewarding and I enjoy seeing that on a daily basis.

“The integration of the programme is very important to us, we’re not looking to exclude any athletes or make it able bodied only. It’s about making sure every athlete is included, challenged and able to achieve their potential in the sport.”

Gregor picked up his award on an evening where inspirational coaches, officials and volunteers from all over Scotland were celebrated across 13 categories for their significant contribution to sport over the past 12 months.

The sportscotland Coaching Officiating and Volunteer Awards 2018, were held at Glasgow City Chambers on Thursday, November 15th where leading athletes congratulated the winners and thanked them for their work in supporting and developing sport in Scotland.

Stewart Harris, sportscotland Chief Executive, said: “Every year across Scotland, thousands of dedicated sporting enthusiasts devote their time, knowledge and skills to help others achieve their sporting goals. Our Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering Awards provide us with a chance to celebrate the great sporting achievements that are taking place every day and congratulate individuals on their commitment to Scottish sport.

“Gregor has done an incredible job in para swimming, the improvements in his swimmers are testament to that. The commitment, dedication and support he offers all of his swimmers can’t be overstated and he’s a fully deserving winner of this award.

“At sportscotland we are implementing a world-class sporting system at every level in Scotland and we can only do so with the support of the many dedicated coaches, officials and volunteers.”

At the event, hosted by BBC Scotland’s Bryan Burnett, coaches, officials and volunteers involved in squash, wheelchair basketball, para swimming, badminton, rugby, judo, lawn bowls, swimming, football, athletics and boccia were recognised for the many hours they dedicate to helping others compete at the best level they can.

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