10 Dec 2023

Chris had a successful swimming career himself. As a junior athlete he won medals at County, Regional and National level in swimming and biathlons. He has held club records at City of Southampton and Eastleigh Swimming Clubs and he represented Hampshire in the Inter Counties and swam in the English Schools finals. His coaches were Lorraine Coombes, a world silver medalist in the 50m breaststroke, Dave Heathcock, who is now Head Coach at Ealing and Gary Abraham, a Commonwealth, World and Olympic medallist.  

In 2010 Chris formed Southampton Dolphins Swimming Club, where he developed and nurtured many talented swimmers who have gone on to achieve great results at Regional and National level. The club took part in its first Hampshire County Championships in 2011 and Chris was able to improve the club’s competitive results for eight consecutive years, culminating in swimmers winning medals and qualifying for the finals of the 2016, 2017 and 2018 British and English National Championships.  

Since 2015 Chris has been one of the selected coaches on the South East Region talent camp. In 2017, Chris was selected as a skills coach for the Hampshire Talent Camp and in January 2018 he was selected by Swim England for the England Talent Coach Support Program.  

In his eight years of coaching at Southampton Dolphins, Chris coached five national medal winners, a British Championship finalist, English schools gold medallists, National Biathlon silver medallists, European Biathlete Gold and Bronze medallists, over thirty South East Region medal winners and over 250 county medallists. When he left the club in 2018 he had eighteen automatic South East Regional qualifiers and sixteen swimmers with top 20 GB rankings in multiple events. Swimmers that he coached to the end of February 2018 went on to win seven National medals at the Swim England Summer Meet later that year.  

Chris took up the position of Head Coach at Staines Swimming Club in February 2018. Whilst at Staines, two of Chris’s swimmers were selected to swim at the Golden Series in Paris, two were selected for County talent camps, two for Regional talent camps and one for the England talent camp. In May 2018, Chris helped Staines Swimming Club achieve its highest ever South East Regional finish and in the summer of 2018, Chris’s swimmers secured their best national results for many years; with four British Championship final appearances and a top ten finish. At the Home Nations Summer Meets, his swimmers won 11 medals (5 Gold), achieved 21 final appearances and 34 top 10 finishes! At the South East Region 2019 Championships, his swimmers swam in 14 finals and secured two gold and two bronze medals.  

Chris also has experience of coaching swimmers with disabilities. One of his S9 multi-classification swimmers, Maya Brisco, won gold in the CP (cerebral palsy) World Games in August 2018. Maya won the 400m freestyle and secured four world medals. Another of his swimmers, Sienna Davies secured three British Gold medals at the British Deaf Championships in 2019. In April 2019, Chris coached Ross Philp to four British Championship/World Championship Trials events, resulting in Ross securing a place in the junior final, the highest ever placing for a male swimmer from the club.  

Chris coached Masters Swimmers at the 2019 British Masters Championships in Swansea. His swimmer, George Wilson, achieved double gold in the 100m freestyle and butterfly with times that qualified him for the 2020 European Masters.  

Not only is Chris a successful swimming coach, but he also has a wealth of experience in swimming teaching and early age swimmer development. In 1999, whilst at Solent University, Chris started working at Shirley Swimming Pool where he managed a very successful swim school for several years, expanding it from 300 members a week to over 1800 members by 2010. He set up Staines swimming club’s teacher and coach education program and provided ongoing training to teachers and coaches. Chris says that it has been hugely rewarding to see swimmers from the age of five years and upwards grow and develop as swimmers and individuals.  

Chris is also a Level 3 Personal Fitness Trainer and a Level 2 qualified fitness coach (including Level 2 Circuit Training & Level 2 Kettle Bell Instruction). He is very much an advocate of land based strength and conditioning work and believe this plays a huge part in the success of the competitive swimmer. He introduced a comprehensive land training programme to all competitive squads whilst at Staines. He also set up a partnership with a local physiotherapist practice to offer swimmers specialist paediatric physiotherapy, sports rehab and massage. The practice also designed an athlete screening programme to monitor swimmer mobility and growth.  

When Chris is not on the poolside he loves going to the gym and running. He has trained with Shi Fu Yan Min, a 34th generation shaolin warrior monk in the shaolin arts which include; kung fu, tai chi quan, qi gong and meditation. Chris says that his understanding of the biomechanics of body movements and relaxation methods have really helped him with his technical swimming coaching. Chris’s other interests include tropical fish keeping and working on his V8 Holden.  

On accepting the Head of Development role, Chris said  

“I’m delighted to be joining Winchester at this exciting time for the club. I’ve been impressed with the vision, philosophy and the direction that the club wants to progress in. The development role is really where my passion lies and I will be looking to help the club develop its community ethos and inclusivity by providing structure, capability and opportunities for all the younger members. I am really looking forward to working with all the coaches and developing our land training provision so all can benefit in the pool.” 


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