Head Coach wins Coach of the Year at Devon Sports Awards

Caroline Furze

Tavistock Swimming Club is delighted to announce that their head coach, James Lake, triumphed over coaches in a wide variety of other sports to be named “Coach of the Year” at the Devon Sports Awards 2019 in July.  These awards, often referred to as “the Oscars of Devon Sport”, recognise those who inspire people to participate at all levels of sport and physical activity. 

James, who describes his coaching philosophy as helping his swimmers to enjoy their swimming while working to achieve their goals, learnt to swim with the club and went on to swim competitively at national level.  He returned as a coach after completing his university degree. The club has around 100 swimming members, aged from 7 to 67, and they range in ability from those swimming only for fitness to those competing at international level.  Despite this variety, James is involved in coaching them all.  Members describe him as having “an incredible passion for teaching, coaching and encouraging others to progress in swimming” and “an exceptional talent for gaining the best from any level of swimmer”.  As well as coaching at club level, six days a week, he regularly teaches younger children.

James, who was presented with his award by Spotlight's Jenny Walrond at the glittering ceremony at Sandy Park, Exeter, explained his love of coaching: "I’m always over the moon when I see a swimmer improve a personal best performance.  Sometimes people join, not knowing what they want, and go on to hit levels which they never knew they had in them.  That’s what sport is about; giving it a go”.