THE late Jack Calder, who was chairman of Musselburgh Amateur Swimming Club, has been presented with a posthumous award for his “significant contribution” to disability sport.
He received the Elspeth Watson Trophy at the recent Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) annual award ceremony in Stirling.
The accolade is given to an individual outwith SDS who has contributed significantly to disability sport.
Mr Calder was the much-loved chairman of MASC, also known as Musselburgh Marlins, for more than nine years until his death on June 5.
Gill Downie, club secretary and caretaker president, described him as “one in a million”, adding that the award was a “fitting tribute” to “a remarkable gentleman”.
She said: “His personal interest in and dedication to the development of disability swimming, coupled with his strong leadership and friendly demeanour, meant he was instrumental in creating the welcoming, supportive, family-orientated and wholly inclusive culture which now exists within the club.
“Thanks to Jack, MASC is widely recognised within East Lothian and beyond as one of the leading clubs in this regard, where both mainstream and disability swimmers are given equal opportunities to trial with the club and, if successful, benefit from expert coaching tailored to meet the needs of each individual to ensure every athlete can reach their potential and progress along their respective swimming pathways.
“The success of MASC’s disabled and para swimmers is directly attributed to Jack. He actively mentored and encouraged his club coaches to open their minds and consider alternative drills/training methods to benefit disabled swimmers and attempt to minimise the impact of their level of impairment in the water.
“It is without doubt that Jack’s sensitivity, enthusiasm and determination to iron out any teething problems for disabled athletes transitioning into a mainstream club have enabled MASC para swimmers to thrive, resulting in a steady stream of MASC athletes joining regional and Scottish national squads over the years.”
And she added: “Jack was often witnessed shouting encouragement from the gallery or poolside to swimmers at Lothian Disability Sport galas, regardless of which club they were representing, bringing a smile to not only the athletes but all in attendance.
“The support he offered extended beyond the swimmer and this remarkable man always had the whole family’s interests at heart and frequently called parents and guardians for general updates and to offer guidance on any matters his wealth of experience could assist with.
“He played a significant role at Lothian Racers and additionally at Lothian Waves Disability Swimming Club, helping to provide coaching and opportunities for all disabled athletes to develop and have the opportunity to compete competitively. The outpouring of grief following Jack’s death is testament to the loss felt by everyone who had the privilege of knowing this highly respected and likeable man.”
Neal Herbert, SDS’s East of Scotland regional manager, said: “MASC are one of the most inclusive clubs in the east of Scotland both in terms of welcoming swimmers with a disability but also ensuring that an inclusive approach is embedded within their coaching structure.
“This was born from Jack’s passion for para swimming and keen approach to creating the right environment for all swimmers.
“Jack ensured that coaches were given the opportunity to learn from more experienced para coaches and encouraged they attend the SDS regional squads to increase their knowledge and understanding of disability swimming. The regional squad have been lucky enough to benefit from the input of both current and previous head coaches from the club.”
East Lothian Courier