Chair’s report 2020

Well where do I start with this year? It started so well with a great show at Counties followed by a fantastic display by our younger swimmers bringing home a raft of PBs and medals at the development gala. And then as we all know, Covid restrictions hit. During lockdown we had fortnightly quizzes and weekly land training via teams to keep up the Vikings spirit.

It has been heartening to see the enthusiasm and dedication from the swimmers during lockdown and also on return to the pool. We were fortunate to be able to return immediately to the pool through using Beeston Hall School. The relationship with Everyone Active at Victory Pool has continued to benefit Vikings. Through lockdown I had weekly calls with their area manager and was able to guide and influence the pool into allowing us as much pool time as possible and show them that swimming can be undertaken in a safe Covid way. We now have more pool time than before, at times that benefit us and allow for optimising training. However, this has come at a cost and like most businesses Everyone Active are now starting to charge full price and for extras such as antiwave ropes and blocks for training and the Level X time trials. So it does mean that for the time being, usual ropes must be used and blocks are still not allowed.

In order to achieve returning to the pool with the pool time allocation we had been given we had to look at the way our squads were set up. This is why we have gone from 4 squads to 3 and some children were moved around. Each child was assessed by Sam and the coach they had had previously, alongside the requirements of the squad and the aims. Swimmers of course will still be moved up when it is appropriate for them. I know for some children they may have been disappointed but undertaking training in the wrong squad can put enormous stress on a young athlete’s body, so they must be in the right squad for their ability and development.

The learn to swim continues to grow at Aylsham and I have run three successful courses for adults which has brought in extra income for the club. John is working on fundraising, so far we haven’t been successful but we will keep trying. Please remember to use easy fundraising for online purchases as the club really does benefit from this and it soon adds up.

I have been having discussions with North Norfolk District Council about being the partner for their Academy programme. This programme is run across 5 different sports and this year swimming has been added. We have been invited to visit schools across North Norfolk to identify children who have the potential to succeed in swimming but because of parenting or financial issues are prohibited from pursuing swimming at club level. We will work with the child, Everyone Active and NNDC to give them access to the club which will not only be of benefit to the child but will help boost our numbers and we will receive income for these children. Covid dependent, we will start this in January 2021.

Financially, the club is looking a little better than it was last year so please help us where you can with easy fundraising and raffles etc.

Following the learn to swim programme at Beeston Hall his summer we asked Roxanne if she would like to join us as a coach and thankfully she said yes. Roxanne predominantly coaches Squad C and Development. I have had to take a step back from coaching due to work commitments but we have consistent coaches in Sam, Guy and John who continue to coach our swimmers working on technique and increasing stamina, ready for competitions.

So, to sum up, I feel that the club is still turning the corner from some years ago but is in a much better position. There are some local clubs who have lost a lot of swimmers over Covid due to other interests taking over and pool providers not being as accommodating as Victory. It is starting to support itself financially, now has a great coaching team, led by Sam who is continuing to develop all the swimmers, we continue to build links and pathways with other clubs and we still punch well above our weight with regard to top times and medals for the small club that we are.

With the introduction of the Level X time trials we can really see where we all are as swimmers and help us set goals for the coming year. Counties at present look likely to be held in May, with Regionals in June. Under what format these will be, we do not know at present. There may be an opportunity for some galas next year but we will have to wait and see. Until then, we will continue to train to be the best we can be when we return to racing properly.

Finally, I would like to thank all of their committee for their hard work over the year and the support that they have given me and the swimmers. The committee are still looking for some squad reps and a fixtures secretary so please do come forward if you feel you can help as a smaller committee means more work for everyone.

There is still a long way to go, and who knows what the next year will bring, but hopefully with your support we will continue to be better and achieve more than we thought possible.