Galway's Shark Swimming Club has been named the Connacht Swim Club of the Year for 2017 for overall excellence, and also won the Clubmark Award for corporate governance.
It is a timely reward and testatment to the club and its members who are soon to celebrate 40 years as a swimming club in the west of Ireland.
Shark Swimming Club’s chairman Seamus Lennon said the coaching philosophy at the club was that children decided their swimming goals, and the coaches accompanied them on their swimming journey.
The club’s first aim was to provide a safe and friendly environment so swimmers could flourish in all aspects of their development.
"The key is to ensure the club is at all times, a child-centred club. Then the focus is on swimming and to provide the children with a swim coaching regime which is child-centred."
Lennon paid tribute to the coaching team of Rosin Lally, Lorraine Copley, Noel Barrett and Brendan Kelly, led by head coach Trevor Collins.
"The club is extremely lucky to have such a strong, reliable, encouraging and loyal coaching team. This loyalty stems from strong roots in the club with coach Roisin Lally having taught and coached Shark children for over 38 years.
"Coach Brendan Kelly’s, mother, Maura Kelly, was a founder member of the club 40 years ago this year and a coach in the 80s. Brendan was a swimmer with Shark for 12 years. This collaboration of solid roots and new coaching staff has paid dividends for the members, who have responded so well to their guidance that has resulted in podium places at senior competitions."
Swimmer Rory Boyle said the club boasts "a motivating and supportive group of people".
"Since I have joined they have improved my self-esteem and confidence, as well as nurturing my love and passion for swimming."