Crawley Swimming Club's head coach 'really surprised' to be nominated for top award

Crawley Swimming Club’s head coach Will Philpott is ‘really surprised’ to be nominated  for a UK Coaching Hero Award.

Monday, 7th June 2021, 11:14 am

UK Coaching has officially opened the public vote for its UK Coaching Hero Awards and Philpott is one of 75 coaches across the UK have been shortlisted as finalists for the awards initiative.

The awards recognises and celebrates the innovations and achievements of coaches who inspired the nation to keep moving during the coronavirus lockdowns.

Will said: “When I received the email from UK Coaching, I was really surprised to be shortlisted.

“I got the email (regarding my shortlisting) whilst out with my daughter at Tilgate Park and it took me a moment to actually realise what had happened and what it meant. I messaged my wife straight away and notified the chair of Crawley Swim Team and received very positive messages.

“As this is something other people nominate you for, I honestly don’t know why I was selected.”

Will, along with other coaches at the club, have been working hard to keep their members going during the pandemic and have been very active on social media and organising online meetings.

Will Philpott

Will said: “For the last 18 months, we’ve worked really hard on continual engagement for our members. When this COVID situation began, I spoke with my coaching team and the committee and stated ‘the only way this club survives, is if we continue providing a service and engaging everyone on a daily basis’. Out of lockdown, we are one of the few lucky clubs who have grown in size which is something not just me but the entire coaching team can be proud of.”

And how much does Will want to win? “The competitive nature in me really wants to win the award,” he said. “But in all seriousness, being nominated and recognising not just my efforts, but the efforts of everyone who contributed towards member engagement during the lockdowns is what matters most.

“Anything else is a bonus. It’s not about me, never has been, it’s about the members, young and old.

“They’re what’s important.”

Will PhilpOtt at K2

You can cast your vote for Will at Coaching Director of Coaching Emma Atkins, said: “Many congratulations to all our finalists and to the hundreds of other coaches who were nominated. Each of your stories were incredibly inspiring and showed how invaluable you are to your communities.

“The work of great coaches, changes lives. And that is what you’ve done over the past 12 difficult months. You have brought people together through sport and physical activity sessions, whether online or one-to-one, and provided connections and support.

“These awards, hopefully, go a little way in recognising our finalists’ achievements and sacrifices and gives the public an opportunity to read their stories – that is, the stories of coaches from 65 different places around the UK and representing nearly 40 sports and activities, who answered a call to keep people and communities healthy and happy during a pandemic. We’re indebted to your commitment to person-centred coaching.”

UK Coaching opened nominations to its awards initiative in 2020 after the first major UK-wide COVID-19 lockdown. The charitable organisation wanted to acknowledge the efforts of coaches, who in difficult circumstances persevered and re-thought coaching techniques to deliver legal digital and one-to-one training, utilising sport and physical activity to keep people connected.

Voting is open until midday on Monday, 14 June. Votes will then be counted and winners announced at a ceremony in September.

Who has your vote? Read the stories of our fantastic finalists and make your vote count.

UK Coaching Week will take place from the 7-13 June, empowering athletes, coaches, organisations, and the public to celebrate great coaching and encouraging coaches to adapt and recover their space within the sport and physical activity sector.

To find out more about the campaign, visit