Golden moment as swimming coach Mary Clark scoops top national award
PROUD swimming coach Mary Clark was delighted to pick up a top award at the 2012 Kellogg's ASA Swimtastic Awards.
The Immingham-based Pilgrims Swimming Club coach scooped the Top Teacher of the Year Award.
Mary travelled to Ponds Forge, Sheffield for the glitzy ceremony.
As well as picking up the gold award, she also met – and swam – with some of the stars of British swimming, including Paralympics double gold medalist Ellie Simmonds and open water Olympian Keri-Anne Payne.
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Clark, 58, said: "It was amazing and unbelievable.
"The ceremony had an Olympic theme, so bronze, silver and gold awards were handed out in each category.
"When they called my name out for the gold honour I was stunned.
"I was so excited and so proud. It is nice to think people have taken the time to nominate you for something and that they think you are doing a good job.
"It was a great day. I was made to feel like a star.
"To pick up an award and actually swim with Ellie Simmonds and Keri-Anne Payne is just amazing."
After literally making waves with the some of the sports top names, the actual awards ceremony was also a star-studded affair.
Paralympic gold medalist Josef Craig, Olympic diver Nick Robinson-Baker, Olympic waterpolo team captain Fran Leighton and Olympic synchronised swimmers Jenna Randall and Olivia Federici were all present at the prestigious event.
The Kellogg's Swimtastic Awards are organised by the ASA, the national governing body for the sport, and celebrate the achievements of swimmers from around the country.
Clark, who has a disability affecting her left arm and hand, has been teaching at the Pilgrims club for 30 years.
Her husband, Brian, was one of those who nominated her for the award.
He said: "Mary specialises in special needs children and adults, making sure they are included in class lessons. She often teaches children with autism, ADHD, diabetic, aspergers, cerebral palsy and many more.
"Over the years with her swimming she has raised over £100,000 for various charities and is well known in the community for all her work.
"I believe Mary deserves to be recognised for the first-class lessons she gives to all her classes, and making sure they reach their potential as well as enjoying themselves."
Olympic bronze medalist and BBC sport presenter Steve Parry hosted the awards.
He added: "The whole country is on a high after the Olympics, which is fantastic, but we need to recognise the heart-warming and courageous stories of our swimming community up and down the country – that's exactly what the Swimtastic Awards is about.
"It's a brilliant way of honouring the people who have achieved their personal goals in the pool."
For more information about getting into swimming, visit www.swimming.org.