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Swim Coach Haller gets UK recognition

Legendary swimming coach Dave Haller was recognised for his lifetime achievements in sport at the UK Coaching Awards last night (Wednesday 19th November).

And the coaches who supported gymnast Frankie Jones through from novice to Commonwealth gold picked up the prestigious coaching chain prize.

More than 30 years ago, Haller was asked by a promising young swimmer if he could sort out his breast stroke technique and help him fulfil his dream of winning Olympic Gold. Two years later, he watched with pride as Duncan Goodhew won the 100m final.

Goodhew was neither the first nor the last medallist for Haller, whose athletes have included David Wilkie, Sharron Davies and more recently David Davies.

An Olympian himself, representing Great Britain in Tokyo in 1964, Dave has been one of the UK's most successful swimming coaches over the past 45 years, including 10 Olympic Games as Great Britain National Coach, 12 Commonwealth Games as National Coach to England, Hong Kong and Wales. He was awarded an MBE for services to sport in 2008.

Coaches of Frankie Jones, who retired this summer as the most successful Welsh athlete in any Commonwealth Games with one gold and five silver medals, were named winners of the Coaching Chain Award.

The Award recognises the coaches who have contributed to an athlete’s success, from firing their interest, or encouraging them in a sport, to developing their talent, to coaching them at the elite level.

Her coaching chain consists of six women; Del Walker, who coached Frankie at the beginning of her career; Vicki Hawkins, her club coach when she started rhythmic gymnastics; Nadya Aleksandrova, who coached Frankie for six years, Lisa Higgins, who prepared Frankie for 2012 and Nia Thomas and Jo Coombs, who have coached Frankie since she returned to Wales after the Olympics.

The UK Coaching Awards, run by sports coach UK (scUK) recognise the important role excellent coaches play in increasing and sustaining participation, and developing and realising talent – at the elite and grassroots levels.

To mark the big year of sport in the Scotland, the ceremony was held at Glasgow’s City Chambers.

Welsh Gymnastics were a finalist in the Governing Body of the year category after increasing membership from 6,000 to 16,000 in three years and winning 10 medals at the Commonwealth Games.

Other Welsh finalists were rhythmic gymnastics coach Jo Coombs in the High Performance Coach of the Year category and boxing volunteer Terry Grey in the lifetime achievement category. Royden Healey represented Wales in the community coach category.