New coach leads Falcon to glory

FALCON FLIERS -- the swimmers who starred at the county championships.
FALCON FLIERS -- the swimmers who starred at the county championships.

A wonderful first year for the new head coach at HUCKNALL FALCON SWIMMING CLUB has been capped by success at the county championships.

Former footballer Ian Melvin took over the reins at Falcon in April 2012 after a spell in the doldrums for the club that followed the departure of popular ex-coach, leading Paralympian Callum Lawson.

Now Falcon can safely say they are back on track after Melvin oversaw a terrific performance by 17 of the club’s swimmers at the Notts ASA Youth And Age Group County Championships, which were staged over a four-week period.

One of the swimmers, Ellie Barker, was crowned 800m freestyle county champion in the ten-year-olds’ age group.

But many others finished high overall in their age groups, while no fewer than 66 personal-best times were clocked from 78 swims.

Barker finished fifth overall in her age group, while Sophie Hutson was ninth in the same ten-year-olds section, Sam Murden was ninth in the 14-year-olds, Kyle Raison 11th in the 13-year-olds and Ryan Patel 14th in the ten-year-olds.

Other notable placings included: Harvey Green 24th in the 11-year-olds’, Sophie Melvin 26th in the 13-year-olds, Jai Raison 29th in the 11-year-olds, Jake Biggs 31st in the ten-year-olds, Emily Butler 32nd in the nine-year-olds, Ellie May-Gunn 40th in the 12-year-olds, Elise Connor 49th in the 12-year-olds and Madison Moss-Hayes 41st in the ten-year-olds.

Three other Falcon members, Chloe Melvin, Daniel Terry and James Terry, also competed to within touching distance of their best in the youth category, which does not award overall placings.

To take part at the championships, swimmers had to achieve a qualifying time. And in the event itself, they gained points for each race.

Some Falcon swimmers qualified for only one or two races, but others tackled all available to their age group.

Commented a club spokeswoman: “It’s a great achivement by the swimmers and by Ian.

“We would all like to thank him for his efforts in his first year as coach. His dedication really is fantastic.

“The kids love him because he works with all of them. He watches, encourages and supports and he interacts brilliantly with them and their parents.”

Melvin himself was a county swimming champion as a boy. But he gave up the sport to concentrate on football after joining the academy at Notts County.

He represented Nottinghamshire schools from the ages of nine to 16 and hopes were high that he’d forge a professional career after he switched from County to Nottingham Forest on his 14th birthday.

However, he had to leave Forest two years later because of injury. And despite trials with other clubs, he drifted into the non-league game and spent 18 months at Hucknall Town before quitting football at 20.

As his daughters took an interest in swimming, he joined Falcon in 2009 and was soon gaining his coaching qualifications.

Melvin says his motto is “believe and you can achieve”.

“I want to move Falcon forward,” he said. “I strive for perfection in technique and race craft, and I push the swimmers beyond their expectations.”