On 30 November, John White will travel to London as one of three finalists shortlisted for the UK Coaching Lifetime Achievement Award. The awards ceremony aims to raise the profile of coaching and the role it plays in transforming lives and inspiring an active nation.

Whilst an electrician by trade, John has dedicated his life to coaching swimming since his youngest daughter joined Margate Swimming Club at the age of six. Over his extensive career, spanning 43 years, he has been responsible for the development of three clubs within the East Kent area.

With daily 5.30am starts, late night training sessions covering six days a week and weekend swim meets, he has also managed to find time for a hip replacement, after which he showed no signs of slowing down.

Over the years, John has been a leading figure in developing swimmers in Thanet, and many have gone on to compete at club, county, regional and even national level in various GB teams. He is currently Thanet Swim Club’s Head Junior Coach, with a squad of over 50 swimmers aged between 7 and 11. Some of those he has coached are now bringing children or grandchildren to start their own journeys in the sport.

As well as his dedication to coaching swimmers, he has also been a mentor to a steady stream of volunteers and coaches, many of whom have gone on to gain accredited qualifications and paid employment in swimming, in locations as far afield as Dubai.

Sadly John plans to hang up his poolside flip-flops in December and retire from coaching swimming, but his contribution to both the Thanet and East Kent swimming communities will leave a strong legacy for many years.

The Kent Sport team would like to wish John our very best wishes for the awards evening and his retirement. Keep an eye on our social media accounts following the event to find out how he gets on.