BERNIE Buck, coach at Sudbury and District Swimming Club, has been named as Coach of the Year by the Suffolk ASA.


This is the first time he has won the award, which was presented by county president Bobbie Wilson at the county championships.

Bernie was nominated by his club and was aware of this when a panel of judges from the county visited a Sudbury training session.

"It came as a complete surprise when I won it," he said.  "I knew I had been nominated, but normally this award goes to coaches from bigger clubs."  He was away from poolside, doing some work as county championships secretary a job he shares with wife Vicki - "when someone said I should come out.


"I heard my name on the tannoy and was overcome by the reception I got. I haven't stopped smiling since."
Bernie has been the coach at Sudbury for the past 11 years, although his first involvement in competitive swimming came at Dereham.

When the family moved to Suffolk in 1989 he joined Hadleigh Swimming Club before moving to Haverhill where he took up coaching.

"Working with the outstanding Allan Lee at Haverhill was a wonderful learning curve.  Allan was a guide and mentor, and although he has since given up, his influence has always remained."
While at Haverhill Bernie set up the annual Haverhill Open Meet, now one of the major swimming events in Suffolk and the Midland District.

Since his move to Sudbury, the club has enjoyed a lot of success. First division status has been achieved in the London Speedo League, and with successes, in the Suffolk Winter Leagues, the club has become a force in county swimming.

There have also been many individual triumphs county championships, district championships, qualifiers for national and district events, plus records a remarkable achievement given the limited amount of pool time available compared to other clubs.

Alongside his coaching duties, Bernie is a Suffolk ASA executive committee member, a district officials tutor, and joint county championships secretary. He was County ASA president in 1997. 
His award has come after years of hard work and commitment, not only for the Sudbury club but for the county as well. Bernie is proud of the club and its success. 

11 April 2003