This is to say a big "thank you" to all at Horsham Amphibians Triathlon Club for some great times over the last few years. With new HATs coaches now coming through and my own Bri Tri Club and private coaching growing, I recently decided to draw to a close the swim coaching I've been doing at Horsham.
HATs has been really important to me at key stages over the last few years. I joined the club, Amphibians 2 as it was called then, when I was getting back into triathlon after some difficult times away from the sport. Ray Powell in particular was very friendly and welcoming and we became close competitors as well as close friends - I think Ray has beaten me more though! He and I did some epic cycling together, round Mont Blanc and Lands End to John O'Groats.
Another HATs member and close friend, Nick Finch, and I set up ZigZag Cycling together, the forerunner of ZigZag Alive. Many of our early test rides were with HATs members, willingly putting themselves in our hands as we mapped out and explored great routes over the Downs.
Initially I had been frustrated at getting more involved in coaching at HATs though, so when Brighton Tri Club was formed, much closer to home and keen to develop its own coaching, I joined as one of the very first members and to be involved in creating something new. HATs then found themselves without a coach and so I came back to help out with the swim coaching. This was fantastic timing as I was able to gain experience and quickly learn from coaching at two clubs at once - notching up close to 100 hours swim coaching in a year. Its been wonderful seeing so many people getting more out of their swimming, gaining confidence and improving. Several HATs' members kindly agreed to be my case study material for key tri coaching qualifications. And when I changed ZigZag Cycling into ZigZag Alive, amongst the first clients were three HATs members all after plans for achieving their big ironman ambitions.
I'm really pleased to see HATs is developing its coaching team - Ray and Teresa James on their Level 1 course this weekend, Coach David Pegler and Head Coach Chris Neilson all doing a great job. My own responsibilities as Head Coach at Brighton Tri continue to grow and with ZigZag Alive business increasing and the Mallorca Experience Tri Camp also in preparation I felt it is time to say a reluctant but heartfelt "fare thee well" to HATs.
Many many thanks for all the support and great times. 'Hope we can keep in touch (and I can get ahead of Ray!).