Annual General Meeting

2012 / 13 has been a good year for Monnow swimming club.

The club has witnessed incredible growth in membership, due in no small part to the legacy of the Olympics.  Over the summer months, at a time when we would normally see a reduction in membership we welcomed many new swimmers, of all ages and abilities. It was particularly interesting to see older boys joining, and staying.

This growth has continued and this week we welcomed yet more members taking our current swimming membership to 87 compared with 62 this time last year.

Monnow invested heavily in the coaching staff in the past year.  We upgraded the L1 qualifications of Kate and Cheryl from coaching to teaching in the early part of the year, and then in February of this year they both successfully passed their L2 teaching qualifications, which increased our L2 coach head count to 5.  We sent 2 of our older swimmers, Eloise and Francis on a L1 teaching course and they now help out with training on several evening each week. All of this training would not have been possible without the support of the Community Chest board who gave the club £1500 last year toward this investment.  They were very impressed by the Monnow application and have since commented on how pleased they are with our growth and commitment to both the swimmers and the coaches.

Towards the end of the year we were delighted to appoint Jane Sambrook as our head coach. This is the first time in many years that Monnow has had a head coach who will provide an overall training plan to the coaches and ensuring that our swimmers are prepared for competition.

Throughout the past year Monnow have been working towards being awarded the Swim Wales Dragon Mark.  This is an acknowledgement that the club is run well and meets the standard expected by Swim Wales. It is an indication to swimmers and parents alike that Monnow is a proficient, safe club with excellent training facilities; it also means we get a £140 reduction in the club’s annual registration fee.  Throughout this task I was helped greatly by Sam and Fiona as we put together all the documentation and wrote the strategy.

We welcomed Alan Roberts back to Monnow this year to act as our club President. Alan was instrumental in  establishing Monnow and has since gone on to support Swim Wales and officiate at many competitions, along with Sheilah. We are grateful to both of them for their continued support of Monnow and the wealth of knowledge they bring back to Monnow.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all the committee for their hard work this year. They are all volunteers and fit their Monnow tasks in around their busy schedules. I know that this year we are losing some of you, and I want to say thank you for your support over the past few years and I hope you and your children will continue to be part of Monnow for many years to come.

As Fiona has already told us, Monnow is now in an excellent financial position. She has worked incredibly hard this year, continuing the good work of Julie, to make sure everyone is contributing correctly to the club.  We are now in a position to be able to invest in new schemes, such as the Head Coach position, and to start creating our own library of training videos.  We started last weekend with a Butterfly masterclass from David Wren and over the coming months will run many more of these sessions, videoing David and the swimmers so they can learn from an experienced international swimmer and see their own progress.

Monnow swimmers have been seen at many events over the past year.  We had an excellent turn out for the Monmouthshire Gala, which was reinstated in October after a break of several years. Teams from Monnow, Chepstow, Caldicot and Abergavenny competed for the George Haines trophy and Monnow were victorious.  The club championships was well attended and several records were broken; at the Awards Evening a few weeks later we were able to celebrate the swimming achievements of the members, with awards for all swimmers who competed in the 2012 challenge, swimming 2012 km between them during the summer break.  Our performance at open competitions has also been recognized, with many comments feeding back to the coaches about Monnow swimmers at the sub regional and regional competitions. Some of our swimmers won medals, all saw improvements in their PBs and all of them did the club proud with their performance and attitude.

Our annual Christmas party was a huge success, and after a slight blip with the arrangements all swimmers had a great time on the inflatables at the Boys’ pool. We finished that evening off here at the Rugby club and it is here that we can now call home. Monmouth Rugby Club have very generously offered the use of their facilities, including a room upstairs to be the home of Monnow Swimming Club. I hope that in the coming years we can forge closer links between the 2 clubs and take advantage of the training facilities and staff that we share to offer all our members a greater breadth of coaching, nutrition and physio advice.

Finally thank you to you the parents who ferry your children around for training and competitions, enduring the sweltering heat of some of the venues and the comfort of their seating.  I hope we can continue to rely on your support as we start a new chapter in Monnow’s history, with a growing membership, a head coach and highly qualified coaching team and plans to extend our service to younger swimmers in the year to come.