By Coach Kate
December has been a very full month for the Rising Stars swimmers and coaches.
On the 3rd of December nearly all of the Rising Stars swimmers, aged from 8-10, competed for Team COSC in the Amersham Novice Gala, a fast-moving team event with lots of relays. Three coaches and 27 swimmers all arrived in good time to have team talks, a pre-pool warm up and a run through of the relay order. Coach Jess controlled the flow of swimmers up to the starting blocks and calmed any pre-race nerves. Coach Joseph and I were stationed at either ends of the pool to observe the starts, turns and finishes. And a huge thanks to the volunteer parents who supported the event as officials and team managers.
It was a brilliant night, lots of first-time racing for the younger swimmers, and for all it was their first go at relays and medley relays. I was so impressed with the team spirit and energy from all of our swimmers - they clearly loved it. It would be very difficult to pick out our shiniest stars but Anna, Emma and Kailuo all swam up an age group, Vera smashed her fly race and Carlo, having finished the last leg of a medley relay, had to get straight back onto the block for the squadron relay. I think every swimmer would have a proudest moment from this gala even if it was just racing for the first time.
We were all particularly proud of their behaviour and politeness on poolside, they were a credit to the club! We came a very respectable 5th place with lots of PBs (and a few DQs...) but lots of happy faces at the end of the day.
Then a week later, many of our Rising Stars swimmers competed alongside our Age group swimmers at the COSC Development Meet on 11th December.
And finally, we wish all the best of luck to Coaches Joseph and Megan as they move on from COSC.
Joseph, Meg and I all began our journey with Rising Stars at pretty much the same time. Joseph was just back from finishing his biology degree at University and Meg was beginning her final year at school. Rick Hall (our then Head Coach) rounded us all up and very convincingly persuaded us to reform and rebuild the Rising Stars Programme: Joseph with Gold, Meg on Bronze and I had Silver with an overview of the whole programme.
It has been one of my greatest pleasures to work with them both and all the wonderful swimmers who have passed through our hands over the last eighteen months - the warmth and care that they have invested in this programme will live on, as Meg has begun her University degree in Nottingham and Joseph is about to move to Kansas to begin his career as a scientist.
Joseph has been my right hand always - ‘no problem, Kate, how can I help?’ Endlessly hauling lane ropes, sensitively dealing with swimmers’ tears and pre-race nerves, and always encouraging any of
my slightly mad cap plans on how to keep the sessions fun and lively.
Meg has been an equal part of creating Rising Stars and what it has become. She returned last night to coach a blinding water polo session, culminating in a riotous match of The Coaches (Joseph, Meg and Rosie Leveson) vs The Whole of Rising Stars…
The best of luck to two of my finest Stars as they move on to other projects and I will look forward to welcoming the next intake of Rising Stars coaches as we silently build our team of water polo players for a reunion & rematch possibly next Summer!