Why Kirkintilloch & Kilsyth were named the best in Scotland by Scottish Swimming

Kirkintilloch & Kilsyth ASC have been named Scottish swimming club of the year by the sports's governing body.

Kirkintilloch & Kilsyth ASC celebrate their Scottish Swimming Club of the Year Award (pic by Ricky Rowe for Scottish Swimming)

The club received the accolade at Scottish Swimming’s annual awards night at the Radisson Blu hotel in Glasgow.

The club was one of three shortlisted for the award which aims to recognise work done by clubs to develop swimming and swimming-based activities in their local community.

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Clubs had to evidence how they were making a contribution in a number of areas including culture, pathways, programme management, people development, partnerships and facilities.

The citation naming KKASC as winners said: “The winners this year describe themselves as more than just a swimming club.

“Their vision is to provide an inclusive club, providing a progressive health, swimming and leadership programme to promote confidence, self-esteem, health and skills in a culture of learning, encouragement and support where each individual can maximize their potential.”

Club development co-ordinator Alan Scobie, who nominated the club for the award, said: “Everyone at KKASC is thrilled to have won the prestigious award, and it is great recognition for all of the work that the club has put in over the last four years delivering on our club development plan.”

In an extensive selection process, the club submitted their achievements and development initiatives for the last 12 months, before being shortlisted. A Scottish Swimming panel then visited the club to meet, interview and talk to club members.

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Club head coach Heather Allan said: “As a popular, family friendly club at the heart of the community, we have been able to offer something a little bit different than most traditional swimming clubs.

“As well as an extensive accredited swimming programme with swimmers at District, National and now at British standard, the club is also finding success in our other very popular programmes in water polo with our players firmly on Scottish teams and trialling for British Squads for the first time and our Synchronised swimming section that continues to be successful at National Skill levels.”

At the awards night, KKASC was represented by a host of club volunteers, committee members, coaches, officials and swimmers across the swimming, water polo and synchro teams, including some of the volunteers who had been part of the entire journey, Heather Allan, Katie McDonald, Allison Smith and Robert Neil. With the club of the year coming right at the very end of the night, a loud shriek went up from the Kirkintilloch & Kilsyth table when they were announced as the winners and they were not ashamed to admit that a few tears were shed, such was the emotion of the night.

Paul Donald, Scottish Swimming’s West Regional Development Manager, said “This award is always the most popular award of the night and there was no more deserving of the award than Kirkintilloch & Kilsyth.

“It is very clear to see the hard work and determination that the club has put into their development, I couldn’t be more pleased for everyone associated with the club.”

Club chair Nina Teasdale spoke for everyone at the club when she said: “Winning the Club of the Year is a special honour for our club.

“Our pride is only matched by our gratitude to those very special people, both past and present members, who have worked very hard over the last four years to make this happen, our army of volunteers, coaches, officials, committees, our swimmers and our parents, everyone played their part.”

Alan Scobie added that a number of local groups had helped the club over the last few years through, funding, advice and support.

He said: “We would like to thank East Dunbartonshire Council for their support through the Community Grants Scheme over the years and a number of other very important community groups. Iain Campbell and everyone at the Kirkintilloch Leisure Centre, David Keating and everyone at Kilsyth Swimming Pool, Gemma Wood at Glasgow Life, Stuart Alexander and the Kirkintilloch Sports Hub, Lindsay Cameron and David Walker at East Dunbartonshire Swimming Development, Katie Clucas and Andrew Bannerman from East Dunbartonshire Active Schools, Karin Jackson and the East Dunbartonshire Sports Council, Russell Imrie and David McKean from Lenzie Academy and St Ninians High School and the support of Lindsay Hunter at Scotia ASC and Adam Riley at M&B ASC. All of these groups and the support and assistance of Paul Donald, Neal Rayner and Sharon Macdonald at Scottish Swimming has made this day possible.”

The club is not resting on its laurels and has some very ambitious plans for their next four year development plan. Amongst other things, the club is already well on the way to developing a new Springboard and Platform Diving section, winning the Scottish Water Polo Championship and developing a full swimming performance programme.

Heather Allan added: “We have a very clear view of what we need to do to take our club forward over the next four years with our approach that allows our swimmers to develop at their own rate, using a flexible programme, where our swimmers can fit their swimming around their school and university studies, rather than making swimmers stick to a rigid swimming programme regime.”

This approach is already attracting a number of swimmers in their late teens to the club, who would have been lost to the sport had they been forced to choose between their studies and their sport and it is an area that Heather is keen to explore further.

With all club sections now in a position to deliver strong performances, Kirkintilloch & Kilsyth ASC is certainly the one to watch over the next few years.

If you would like to find out more about Kirkintilloch & Kilsyth ASC then you can visit their website at www.kandkswim.org.uk.