Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Volunteers Week 2020 – Volunteer in Open Water Swimming

Open Water swimming has grown significantly in popularity in recent years and Scotland can boast some of the most scenic, natural venues for the sport.

With more people taking part, whether as part of a wild swimming group, triathlon or competitive open water events, there are plenty of roles for volunteers. As part of Volunteers Week, we caught up with Richard Collins about his volunteering journey, and what makes Open Water swimming so special for him.

What’s your role within Open Water? ​

Discipline Chair & Team Manager

How did you end up in that role?

Having applied for the Team Managers post in 2015, an opportunity to head up the organisation became available in 2018, with my military bearing and organisational skills the Open Water Committee thought I would be a good fit for the role.

What do you get out of volunteering? 

Volunteering in the Open Water organisation gives me the opportunity to help develop the next future open water swimmers while ensuring that parents and coaches are educated on the differences of the sport compared to pool swimming. 

Any highlights from what you do? 

Highlights include having electronic timing at SNOWs in 2019, taking the event to the next level of professionalism while also being the first Scottish Swimming Open Water event to do this, giving the swimmers the experience of what to expect at international events. 

Having the opportunity to coach and mentor the next generation of junior Open Water swimmers both from Scotland and also Great Britain at the BESTFEST event in 2018 & 2019, and also being able to interact with swimmers, parents and coaches to help them understand the sport and how to best prepare for events. 

How would you encourage more people to volunteer in our sport? 

Open Water swimming is unique and is completely different from Pool Swimming. Not only does it get you off the poolside and to visit some of the most beautiful parts of the country, from the Highlands down to Stirlingshire and everywhere in between. The committee who help organise the events are one big family from across the country who come together 5 times a year for our events. However like most minority sports, we are always on the look out for more people to assist us be it officiating, helping with registration or refreshments while also been in the great outdoors. Open water swimming can be quiet daunting to some, however everyone who has made the transition be it swimmers or volunteers wishes they had done it sooner and love the sport and been outdoors.

To find out more about volunteering please click HERE.