AGM 2018 – Chairmans Annual Statement

Marlborough Penguins ASC – Chairman’s Report – November 2018

I am aware that my annual reports have started to become quite lengthy. Perhaps a reflection of my verbosity but hopefully more a result of all that the Club does and achieves in twelve months! My intention this year is to try to keep it shorter and highlight the main achievements, however. 2018 was an especially significant year as the Club celebrated its 60th anniversary. More of that later but the intention is that the Club continues to thrive and is still here for another 60 years. It is the responsibility of the current Committee and members of the Club to try to ensure that that is the case and I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all those who give time and effort to support Marlborough Penguins ASC.

In the pool

Club Championships July 2018 –122 swimmers swam in around 900 individuals over the two days of this vital event in the Club’s calendar. This compares with the 112 swimmers in 765 events in 2017. Over 300 county times were recorded and 52 club records established or broken. In amongst this we had a Summer league gala to attend on the Saturday evening so the swimmers had an exhausting weekend! We will continue to review the success of this event and look to improve areas that we feel can be improved.

County Championships 2018 – This year we had 61 swimmers qualified in 293 events compared to 41 swimmers in 236 events in 2017. We continue to be successful at these Championships, gaining numerous medals and personal best times.

Max Twining and Joe Price went on to represent Wiltshire at the Inter-Counties in Sheffield. They were joined by Head Coach Rich, who was with the County Coaching team.

Regional Championships – 9 swimmers qualified in 34 events: Max Twining, Peter Harper, Hannah Brown, Harry Findlay, Zara Newman, Harry Salmon, Nathan Hughes, Jack Haley and Nat Watson.

Winter League – The 2017/18 Winter League finished with Penguins in 5th place overall, the same as position as the season before. An excellent performance.

The Summer League – In 2018 Penguins finished in 2nd place in Division 2. An excellent performance, given the difficulties of the third gala being on the same weekend as our Club Championships. Both the Summer and Winter leagues are fundamental to the competitive programme of the Club and achieving the best possible result in each league must be one of our principal aims.

Open Meets continue to be important for our talented swimmers with many of them regularly improving their pbs and going on to gain county, regional and even national qualifying times.

Marlborough Penguins 60thAnniversary Open Meet – The third Penguins Open Meet took place in October at the Link Centre, following difficulties with the College calendar. It was a great success with 47 Penguins swimmers competing in 276 events alongside swimmers from 13 other clubs. Next year’s Meet is already in the pipeline with the Link Centre likely to be the venue if we decide to go ahead, given the very positive feedback the Club received about the venue and facilities. Congratulations have to go to all those involved in the organisation and running of this major event in our current calendar.

Masters Swimming – A small but perfectly formed group of masters have represented Penguins at various events this year.

In this year’s Counties, the highlight came with a record breaking performance in a Mixed Medley relay at the second round gala. This Sunday two Penguins will be at the Masters Inter-Counties competition to be held at Millfield School, representing Wiltshire. Lynne Blunden and Peter Seward are looking forward to a busy day!

More of our swimmers are looking to Open Water swims for a challenge and Paul Wilkins excelled himself again by completing the River Dart 10km for the third time thereby earning his gold cap. Carolyn Lucas won the county 5km Open Water title at Weymouth and came second in the South West region.

Other events –

The Club ran the Style event again this year. We continue to look at the nature of this event so that we can get the best out of it for some of our younger and less experienced swimmers.

The training programmes and planning provided by Head Coach, Richard and implemented by our teachers and coaches is maintaining the progress we have been making in the pool over the last few years and we look forward to that continuing. Richard is embarking on his Senior Level 3 Coaches course this year and we wish him every success. Rich continues to be involved in County Development as Deputy Head Coach, delivering Development Planning and Performance sessions across the county. The Learn to Swim programme is also very successful and thanks go to Sara and her team for their hard work.

Out of the pool

Inevitably, it has been a very busy year. We have achieved a huge amount as a committee and a Club yet there is always more to be done and not everything we try to do comes to fruition. The ‘normal’ every day work of running a Club continues and takes up a great deal of time and effort so thank you to all those members who help and support the Club in whatever way.

SwimMark – We passed our ‘Health Check’ for 2018 and look forward to securing our full accreditation again in 2019.

GDPR – The Club was able to meet the May 25th deadline for the new requirements for this legislation thanks to the expertise and efforts of Club members. We wait to see how things settle down.

Swim Club Manager – a huge amount of time and consideration has been given over to the adoption of an automated management system for the club and SCM was identified as the preferred option in July. It has been a great success so far, with parents and Club Officers appreciating its benefits. Thanks must go to Lynne, in particular, for her efforts in getting it up and running.

Parents Survey – Earlier this year the Club sought the views of its ‘customers’ by carrying out a survey. A very interesting exercise resulted in the Club gaining a good range of views about its activities with 97% of respondents satisfied or very satisfied with the Club provision. Much more was taken from the views expressed and where we are able the issues raised by parents are being addressed in an ongoing response.

Once again we enjoyed an excellent Summer Party and 60th Anniversary celebration held at the Rugby Club. The celebration even featured on Wiltshire radio! Well done and thanks goto those who were involved in the planning and organisation of the event.

The annual Presentation Evening in September, with its four Presidents in attendance, was a highlight of the year. It can’t be many clubs who have played host to a Club, County, Regional and National President, not to mention the Mayor of Marlborough! It was an excellent way to celebrate our 60thAnniversary. The event was superbly organised, as usual. It is always great to see the young (and not so young) swimmers coming up to collect their trophies and medals.

As promised in last year’s report, the new Club kit caused quite a stir with Penguins cutting quite a dash in and out of the pool during 2018.

Work force/Volunteers – We continue to benefit from the hard work and commitment of our workforce. We have been fortunate enough to have a number of people come forward to take up various roles during this year, which is exciting. However, as we aim to continue to grow and develop as a Club, we will still need to attract more volunteers.

During the year the Club has been looking at how it can develop training opportunities for its swimmers. A very interesting analysis of attendance and lane use was carried out by Rich and Lynne leading to more efficient use of Club sessions. The Bath training opportunity has enabled swimmers to extend their experience and swim time. Pewsey pool reopens soon and there may be opportunities to offer swimming sessions there. There are still issues with Sunday morning swimming, although we wish to continue to offer this session if the demand is there. Rich has also been looking at the structure of our Squads with more information to come to Committee.

It is with great appreciation that we say “Thank you” to Sophy Scott for her overall contribution to the Club. In particular, Sophy has been our Welfare Officer for a number of years, fulfilling the role with great expertise and understanding. Her wise counsel will be sorely missed.

Development Coach – Following a few years of frustration trying to fill this role we have recently had an application from former swimmer and current Club coaching volunteer, Abi Ward. A sub-committee has been formed to consider her application, with their recommendation an agenda item in the Committee meeting to be held after this AGM.

So, whilst I personally hope for a slightly quieter 2019, I am excited about the direction the Club is heading and I know it will mean we will be very busy.

As ever, I apologise if I have missed anything out of this report.

Peter Seward, Chairman

Back to news