Karen Garrad knows her way around a pool.
The Sunbury swimming coach has been listed as a finalist for the Community Coach of the Year Award for the 2019 Victorian Sports Awards.
Garrad, who teaches at Sunbury Swimming Club, said she was surprised at her success.
“It’s a bit of a shock,” she said.
“I didn’t know I was being nominated. I’ve been working in this area for 35 years and I have never received recognition, so it feels nice. Although I don’t do it for recognition, I do it because I enjoy coaching these swimmers.”
A physical education teacher by trade, Garrad is the head swim coach at Sunbury Swimming Club. She also spends her time teaching swimmers with disabilities.
“I started a group here in Sunbury because there was a need to coach people with a
disability,” she said. “I work with the individual swimmer. I go over the rules we have to abide by for international Paralympics and we work out how we can adjust the swimmer’s style to their best advantage.”
The “freedom of giving the swimmer an opportunity” is what Garrad enjoys most about coaching, while also doing the best she can to get the swimmer to their ultimate goal. “When they get in the water, so many of the swimmers go underwater and just move freely in the water,” she said. “Not everyone wants to be a paralympian but we do the best that we can.
“I do these things because I want to. Swim cheers you up.”
The 2019 Victorian Sports Awards winners will be announced February 26 at Marvel Stadium.