Meet Our Coaches

Coaching is an art form and a science. To be a good coach takes so much more than a fancy degree or having done it before. Quite often coaching is an amalgamation of roles including but not limited to manager, physiologist, councillor, teacher, personal trainer and of course friend.


Such a diverse array of needs requires a diverse and committed coaching team. If you train with Durham City you have the combined knowledge of all of our coaches and athlete support personnel at your disposal. We know that not every coach suits every athlete; that’s why we structure our club the way we do. We know that what works for one person won’t work for everyone; that’s why we support our coaches learning and promote development and a growth mindset.


Take a look at some of the profiles below to meet our team coaches.



Swimming | Water Polo | Athlete Support Personnel 

Mike Perry


Born in Glasgow and raised in Merseyside, Mike Perry, our Head Coach joined us in 2015 with (what was) Bronze Squad.  After finishing his first season with Bronze Squad, he moved quickly on to become Silver Squad coach and from there, onto what is now the Performance Squads, P1 and P2.   


Previously a national swimmer himself, Mike understands the pressures of balancing competitive training, home and social life and education and works with athletes to give them the skills they need to be able to balance all these aspects of their lives.


I really enjoy the psychology of sport and I find that an interpersonal approach to training and performance is the best way to go. I love working with individuals and helping them reach their goals.





BSc Sports Coaching - University of Sunderland

Swim England Senior Coach

Swim England Teacher

Royal Lifesaving Society Mentor

Team Manager Mod 1&2

UKAD Clean Sport Advisor

Level 3 Award in Education & Training

Level 3 Mental Health First Aid

SSDC Dryland Certified

BTN Nutrition

Swim England Safeguarding


Experience and Swimming Career


Ashton Central and St.Helen’s Swim Training Scheme

Warriors of Warrington



National Age Groups for 100, 200 Breaststroke, 200 and 400 Individual Medley.



Ben Hatchett

Originally from North Wales, Ben re-joins the club in January 2022 after two-years as Head Coach at Richmond Dales. In the role of Assistant Head Coach, Ben will be primarily be responsible for the development of our budding age-group swimmers in our Performance 2 (P2) group. 

Ben has a keen eye for physiology, data and statistics and is hopeful to begin a Professional Doctorate (DProf) in September 2022.

"Coaching is about rapport, developing people and providing a positive environment. The physiological component of competitive swimming is about sequencing and piecing together the jigsaw to have maximum affect"

MSc Performance Coaching (University of Stirling)
BSc Sport Science for Performance Coaching (Sheffield Hallam)
Swim England Level 3 Senior Coach
Team Manager 1 & 2
UK Sport Safeguarding & Protecting Children


Martyn Dunbar


Martyn, born and bred in Durham and Managing Director of his own decorating company; has been working with Durham City Aquatics since 2016. He describes being badgered by now fellow Coach Steve Ward for many months before he decided it was time to give something back to the club in which he had been a swimmer for so many years.


Martyn has experience as an Assistant Coach to both Mike and previous Head Coach Ben Hatchett. Since then he has taken those all important next steps and has recently embarked on the Swim England Coach course. Now the Lead Coach on A-Squad Martyn continues to work with other coaches to experience as much of the job as possible.


“Coaching is about helping the kids achieve their goals and being open to new coaching techniques is key” - Martyn Dunbar


A keen mountain biker, and an avid photographer Martyn has been given the title of Nisi Visionary for the companies filter brand in the UK. You might see some of Martyn’s work around this website and our social media channels.



Swim England Coach

Team Manager Mod 1

Mental Health for Sport and Physical Activity



Experience and Swimming Career


Lead Coach A-Squad

Assistant Coach Performance 1

Assistant Coach Performance 2




Steve Ward


Steve Ward has been with the club since the “dawn of the millennium”. He has a whole world of experience not just from coaching swimming, but also from learn to swim, officiating and water polo.


After studying a BSc in Civil Engineering at the Heriot Watt University, Steve returned to Durham where he is now a Consulting Engineer and a member of the Institute of Civil Engineers. He was ‘roped into’ coaching when the club was looking for volunteers way back when his own children swam for the club.


Steve says, “Seeing the satisfaction of wonderful people celebrating their achievements, large and small, and knowing that you may have contributed in some small part to their skills is so rewarding.” Adding that “Engineering is about concrete, steel and paperwork, coaching is about people


After his years of service, managing a team of swimming teachers, delivering courses to officials and coaching all as a volunteer; the club awarded Steve with the Lifetime Member Award in recognition of all he has done and is continuing to do for the club and the sport. He was also the clubs nominee for the Contribution to Sport Award.


Steve is currently coaching the Entry Squad program and remains on hand to answer all of our technical queries.



Swim England Coach

Swim England Teacher

Licensed Swim England Official (Swimming)

Licensed Swim England Referee (Water Polo)

RLSS National Rescue Award for Swimming Teachers and Coaches