Pride of Dolphin

Two of Swindon Dolphin’s long serving coaches received deserved recognition at the 2012 Pride of Swindon Awards. Tessa Farr and Tony Stratford, who have so far given a combined total of seventy years of service as coaches at the club, both received nominations, with Tessa being selected as one of the 20 individual winners. The show at STEAM was attended by Lord Mayor Ray Ballman and the awards were presented by Shirley Ludford from local radio station Swindon 105.5.

Tessa first joined Dolphin as a swimmer but hung up her goggles and swimming cap at the age of 16 before returning to the club as a teacher and coach in 1982. Since then Tessa has served as Chief Coach and Assistant Chief Coach, the latter a position she still holds today. Until her recent retirement Tessa combined her coaching at the club with working for Swindon Borough Council. With the Borough Tessa taught many hundreds of children and adults to swim, a number of which have progressed from non-swimmers to competing at a national level. Tessa was typically modest about her recognition. “I feel very humbled to receive this award as there are so many others who commit a huge amount of time to the club and to swimming in the town,” said Tessa, “but it is still a great honour to have my friends and the members at Swindon Dolphin nominate me”.

Tessa Farr ~ Pride of Swindon Winner


Just as important as Tessa’s contribution to coaching has been the stability that she has given to the club, something that Dolphin’s other nominee, Tony Stratford, has also provided. Tony joined Dolphin forty years ago and, like Tessa, has held the position of Chief Coach. Whilst Tony is best known for his coaching he has also played a major role in enabling Swindon Dolphin to achieve one of the highest Swim 21 accreditations in the South West. This has transformed not only the teaching and coaching but also the way in which the club is organised and managed.

Current Chief Coach Louise Clayton was delighted to see two of the club’s senior coaches rewarded. “It is testament to both Tess and Tony’s hard work, commitment, dedication and skills that they have been recognised, not just for their contribution to Dolphin but to the town as a whole. They should both be very proud of the difference they have made.” Both Tessa and Tony received certificates to mark their nominations with Tessa’s name to appear on a roll of honour in Swindon Central Library.

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