After 18 years, popular Leighton Buzzard Swimming Club head coach gets the push (into the pool) to mark retirement!

On Graeme’s final day a presentation was held for him at Tiddenfoot

Friday, 17th September 2021, 4:06 pm

There’s no doubt that retiring head coach, Graeme Bell, has gone to great lengths to inspire members of Leighton Buzzard Swimming Club over the years.

Graeme joined up with the club in the same manner that most of the adult volunteer helpers did – because his children joined to learn to swim.

In the first six years at the club he joined the coaching team and helped teach the younger swimmers.

Graeme Bell gets a send-off

Always keen, he soon took his swim teacher exam to become a qualified teacher. With his dedication to the club and swimmers, he progressed to become assistant coach, a position he held for the next six years.

In this time Graeme not only coached the LBSC swimmers, but also became involved with the Bedfordshire County Team assisting with coaching at the new Inspire 50m pool in Luton and accompanying teams away to galas – always giving great encouragement to all the swimmers.

Finally, six years ago, Graeme was appointed as head coach at LBSC, a position that requires a huge commitment with there not only being training sessions most evenings (and some early mornings) every week, but also committee meetings and galas to attend.

With training sessions not only taking place at the local Tiddenfoot pool, but also, at various times, pools in Aylesbury, Bletchley and Luton he spent many hours a week on the poolside.

Splashdown: Graeme Bell

Galas over the years meant travelling on Saturdays to places like Worcester, Hereford and Birmingham for the National League events with long coach journeys involve. Graeme jokes that whilst he wanted to get home quick after late finishes on these, the swimmers always wanted to stop for a burger on the way back!

On Graeme’s final day as head coach a presentation was held for him at Tiddenfoot Leisure Centre between the early and late swimming sessions.

Much to Graeme’s delight, many of the swimmers who he coached when he first started with the club and who have left to go to universities around the country also came down to wish him well.

With Graeme’s motto being ‘swimming has to be fun’ he allowed the lifeguard to ceremoniously push him into the pool before refereeing a final water polo session with the senior swimmers! Graeme will now be using his new found free evenings to spend more time with his family.

Leighton Buzzard Swimming Club was founded in 1921 and, had it not been for Covid restrictions, would have celebrated its centenary in style this year.