A DEDICATED swimming coach, who devotes more than 60 hours a week to the sport, has landed a prestigious national award.
Ben Higson has been named the sportscotland Development Coach of the Year in recognition of his “inspirational” work with junior swimmers across Dumfries and Galloway.
The 26-year-old – who has been coaching for just three years – is head coach at Dumfries Amateur Swimming Club, as well as the regional coach for Dumfries and Galloway.
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The sportscotland Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering Awards provide the opportunity to thank coaches, officials, and volunteers for their dedication and recognise their achievements.
Fiona Wernham, Head of Coaching and Volunteering at sportscotland, said:
“We are delighted to have awarded Ben with the sportscotland Development Coach of the Year Award, he is a very deserving recipient.
“It is down to the dedication and commitment of people like Ben that young people are encouraged to be the best they can be in their chosen sport.
“The work that Ben puts into swimming, across Dumfries and Galloway, is amazing and we congratulate him on this award.”
On winning the award, Ben said: “It was a real surprise to win the award because I had no idea that the parents on the committee had put me forward.
“You don’t do it for rewards for yourself, it’s more about the kids reaching their goals, but it’s great to know that all your hard work is being appreciated and making a difference.”
Ben, who is originally from Duns in the Scottish Borders, is credited with putting Dumfries and Galloway’s junior swimmers to the forefront of the sport in Scotland.
With tailored training regimes for each individual, Ben has helped nurture countless youngsters to district, regional, national, and international success.
The committed coach said: “When coaching kids it is all about motivation, but it’s not just about getting them in and coaching them, you have to mentor them as well.
“It’s about making them realise that they can do all their training as well as fitting in their homework, seeing their friends, and everything else they want to do – so it’s about being a role model.
“When I first got involved in coaching in Dumfries I wanted to make sure the kids had the same opportunities I had when I was growing up and it’s great to now see so many of them getting the results at the top end of competitions.”
“I have a passion for sport, and more so a passion for swimming. I love the sport so much and the fact that all the kids work so hard makes it easy for me to try to help them achieve the results they want to.”
Ben received a commemorative trophy, certificate and cheque for £300 towards his development to recognise his achievement. The 2012 awards saw the highest ever number of entries across all nine categories, with 200 applications flooding in from across the country. More information on the awards and the winners can be found at www.sportscotland.org.uk/COVawards.