Mel Marshall and Danielle Brayson were among the winners at the annual UK Coaching Awards on Thursday evening, the pair rewarded for their success in 2019.
Since transitioning into coaching following her retirement from international swimming, Mel’s motivation from the outset was to support others to reach their full potential in the sport.
She started working with young protégé Adam Peaty when he was 12, forming a close connection that was built upon mutual respect, common purpose and enjoyment of the sport. Adam has gone on to become a multiple Olympic, World and European gold medallist, world record-holder and a household name, but Mel has helped hundreds more swimmers besides, and was part of the Great Britain coaching team at the 2019 World Championships in South Korea in July.
It was perhaps 2019 that was her best year to date, with Peaty defending his two World titles for the third consecutive World Championships, also breaking his own world record with the first ever sub 57 second mark. Marshall’s other rising star, Luke Greenbank, also hit new heights winning a breakthrough bronze medal in the Men’s 200m Backstroke, before the duo combined as part of the Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay team that took gold, the first time Great Britain have ever won the event at world level.
Mel also supports the next generation of coaches coming through the England Talent Coaching Programmes through the delivery of workshops and by inviting coaches into the National Performance Centre environment in Loughborough.
Scot Danielle Brayson was equally deserving of her Talent Development Coach of the Year accolade, the City of Glasgow Swim Team Performance Development Head Coach leading a mixed ability group to success at various levels.
Danielle coaches a group of 25 high claibre junior and para-swimmers and has played a huge role this year in the rapid development of Louis Lawlor, which culminated in him not only representing Great Britain at the London 2019 World Para-Swimming Championships, his first senior championships, but also winning a surprise medal. Danielle also provided compassionate support to Louis and his family, outside her normal hours, after his mum sadly passed away earlier this year.
Danielle also has a leading volunteering role with the Scottish National Youth Squad, and helped Mark Ford and Katie Shanahan secure places on the GB team for the 2019 European Youth Olympic Festival. They returned with four gold and four silver medals between them, with Shanahan also selected to compete internationally at the 2019 European Junior Swimming Championships, where she won a further bronze medal in the 400m Individual Medley.