One of Scotland’s leading swimming coaches has had his years of dedication and contribution to the sport recognised with the Performance Development Coach of the Year award from sportscotland.
Phil Potter, 40, has been the head coach at Heart of Midlothian ASC for the last 16 years and is responsible for leading on youth training programmes and developing coaches across a number of venues in Edinburgh.
As the pool stars of tomorrow benefit from Phil’s expertise, the dedicated coach balances his duties with Heart of Midlothian, his lead coach role with Scottish Swimming’s national programme and his head coach responsibilities with the district regional programme.
Phil played a key role as head coach during this year’s Commonwealth Youth Games, in the Bahamas, where Team Scotland landed eight medals in the pool.
Commenting on his success, Phil said: “I competed as a swimmer to a decent level and when I retired, I saw the opportunity to give back to the sport. I have now been at Hearts for the last 16 years after a spell as assistant coach at Warrender Baths Club.
“This year has been a real highlight for me. I’ve had swimmers qualify for the Commonwealth Games next year as well as excellent results at the British Championships and in Scottish age groups.
“Personally, getting to coach on the Commonwealth Youth Games team in the Bahamas was a fantastic experience.
“I’ve always loved my job and Edinburgh is a great city to live in as well.”
Heart of Midlothian duo Keanna Macinnes, 16, and Lexie Waller, 16, also produced outstanding results at the FINA World Junior Championships under the guidance of Phil.
Keanna broke the Scottish junior record, taking bronze in the 200m butterfly while Lexie finished ninth in the 200m backstroke event.
Praise for Phil
Phil was nominated by Scottish Swimming’s performance director Ally Whike, who said: “Phil has worked tirelessly over the past few years to support the development of Lexie and Keanna through the Heart of Midlothian Club pathway.
“His strength lies in the ability to link this to character and personality, supporting both athletes through challenging and successful times in and out of the pool. Over the years he has coached both for the long term to a place where they are already challenging on the senior stage at a British and International level.
“Phil is an outstanding example of individualised performance development coaching.”
Phil picked up his award on an evening where inspirational coaches, officials and volunteers from across Scotland were celebrated across 13 categories for their significant contribution to sport in 2017.
The prestigious sportscotland Coaching Officiating and Volunteer Awards 2017 were held on 8 November at Stirling Court Hotel where leading athletes congratulated the winners and thanked them for their work in supporting and developing sport in Scotland.
Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland, said: “Every year across Scotland, thousands of dedicated sporting enthusiasts devote their time, knowledge and skills to help others achieve their sporting goals. Our Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering Awards provide us with a chance to celebrate the great sporting achievements that are taking place every day and congratulate individuals on their commitment to Scottish sport.
“Phil has had an incredible career; his commitment to coaching is exceptional. Not only is he responsible for training the stars of tomorrow, but he is truly passionate about helping them be the best they can be. I hope other coaches are encouraged to follow his exemplary lead.
“At sportscotland we are implementing a world-class sporting system at every level in Scotland and we can only do so with the support of the many dedicated coaches, officials and volunteers. I hope that many more people are inspired by our winners’ stories and recognise the opportunities that exist to get involved in sport at every level from volunteering at your local club or school to coaching or officiating on the world stage.”
At the event, hosted by BBC Scotland’s Bryan Burnett, coaches, officials and volunteers involved in swimming, athletics, lawn bowls, tennis, football, rowing, shinty and curling were recognised for the many hours they dedicate to helping others compete at the best level they can.
Find out more
Be inspired by the stories of all the 2017 winners.
Visit the sportscotland website for information about the COV Awards.