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Coach of the Month - Elite Swimming - Dave Champion

Introducing Dave Champion!

He's been a coach on the national team at the Olympics, World Championships and the Commonwealth Games. Dave is the Head Coach at our club partners Team Ipswich Swimming, he's been there since 1988! That’s a long time, seeing a lot of swimmers pass through the lanes, thus giving Dave a wealth of coaching experience. They are seeing some great success in the pool this season, currently heading into the Arena League, leading the table in the London League.

We caught up with him poolside to dig deep into the tactics, experiences and tools of an elite swim coach.

Dave Champion

Left to right: Zoe Cray – Dave Champion – Phil Gallagher

How did you get into coaching? and why?

Dave: To make a difference.

What is your greatest coaching achievement?

Dave: Coaching Karen Pickering MBE to be our first female World Champion in 1993. I was lucky enough to coach Karen for almost all of her career, which included multiple Olympic Games, World Championships and the like. One of the memorable for me was Karen winning the 200m free in Manchester in 2002..... a truly amazing moment!

What is the single hardest decision you’ve ever had to make in coaching position?

Dave: Karen swam 2.08 at nationals just a few weeks before the Commonwealth Games in Manchester. It was hard not to give in to the pressure and change what we’d planned.

What tools, tactics or strategies do you use to combat adversity?

Dave: Keeping a circle of people to talk to. You can’t go wrong with a mentor!

If you had the chance to speak to your younger self as a coach, what would you say?

Dave: Don’t panic and keep your eye on the ball. Performance is a long game!

What are your future aspirations?

Dave: To do a better job, to keep learning and to try and get kids to believe in themselves more. My assistant, Zoe Cray, was also a swimmer of mine and a former British Record holder in the 50m back. Zoe has her own group now and it very cool to see the transition. Coaching is a combination of great athletes and great support and I’ve been lucky enough to have been blessed with both in my career so far.

How can parents best support a youth athletes training objectives?

Dave: Just by being there for them and supporting them no matter what.

What are your objective thoughts on Youth Sport Nutrition designing PROTEEN®, the first safe supplement for high level youth athletes to support their recovery post training/match?

Dave: With todays busy lifestyles, I think that anything that gives parents a choice is a great thing. Not all young athletes can consume enough naturally to help them support the amount of training that they undertake, so it’s always good to have an alternative strategy.

What is your favourite quote?

Dave: I have loads but I really like “if nothing changes then it stays the same”.

We couldn't agree more, Albert Einstein was quoted "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results'. 


It's been a pleasure working with Dave and Team Ipswich Swimming Club, this weekend we got to see first hand what a positive environment Dave has helped create at the club for young people to develop, both personally and in a sporting capacity.

That's why he's our first EVER Coach of the Month! 

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