Meet the Committee Series 9

Here is the 9th installment in the Meet the Committee series

Brian De-Alker

Q: What is your role at the Club?
A: Treasurer, Swim England membership and ‘boring’ stuff (after a year bringing things together that Amanda used to do, we will be looking for volunteers post Covid!). Includes the other things we have to do to operate as a club; club insurances, DBS and Safeguarding, HMRC, Gift Aid (please tick the box in Swim Manager – it costs you nothing but means the club can gain more from your membership!) and Swim Mark (we are assessed every 2 years by Swim England). We have worked hard to bring in new tools like Swim Manager which, Covid aside, help greatly in reducing the burden on volunteers. I’m also signed off on time keeping am a Swim Teacher and Team Manager amongst other things.
Q: When and why did you join Kingfishers?
A: In 2015, after moving to Scarborough I was looking for a swimming club for my daughters that also swam Open Water. Kirsty DM did a very good sales talk and explained all that the club did. They started in the pool and Elisha was also given a great welcome at the Lake by Paula, Maureen and Amanda, soon joining the 2017 Channel Relay Team. Also there was cake!
Q: How did you get involved and eventually join the Committee?
A: Kirsty and Ginny got to know I had set up a swimming club with a group of families when living abroad and I deliberately declined repeated invitations to join the committee for a year, based on previous learnings, to see what went on and how the club worked. Amanda later found out, then there was no escape. Ginny wasn’t easy to avoid either. I joined in the year running up to the move to the Sports Village and did the membership renewals in 2017, later became an officer and eventually left for a short period after 3 years as Chair, in 2020. I returned last February to assist with administration.
Q: Are you a swimmer?
A: Yes – but not enough to be a great front crawler – mainly breaststroke (as the family grew up life got busy). In the years BC (before children) I moved around with work and swam open air in the sea where it was always 28 degrees (yes, that was the water temperature) and the open air pools did not need to be heated! After moving to Ireland, much more bracing in the Irish Sea with Elisha (summer only) and in a (heated) pool. I currently swim at Ryedale Swim and Fitness before or after work.
Q: Occupation / favourite pastime / All time hero?
A: Currently Duty Manager at Ryedale Swim and Fitness and manager of the swim scheme. I am a Swim Teacher, Rookie Lifeguard instructor and Lifeguard and look after pool plant. I love to cook Asian food, walk and swim. Hero … difficult one but as a breaststroke swimmer it has to be Adam Peaty. Can he go any faster?
(Disclaimer: For the record, I don’t get involved in meetings or negotiations with the pool operator for the club. They are always dealt with by the Secretary and Colin who report to the full committee).
Q: What annoys you and what makes you happy about Kingfishers Swimming Club?
Start with Happy! Kingfishers is a great community with a strong spirit going back years – and for those wanting to give something back it is a great place to be. It supports swimming members and volunteers and encourages them to gain skills and work with others The planned enhancements to the youth development and leadership programme with Swim England will also give opportunities for younger members to step forward and be supported.
The negatives are not all ‘bad’ – a lot has changed in recent years. The club used to be run on paper and not have membership emails and this took ages to change, first internally with Microsoft365 then externally to members with Swim Manager last year.
Like most clubs factions can develop from time to time that tend to be, with the best of intentions, inward looking and somewhat self focused. I encourage anyone with an issue to get involved and see the bigger picture and look to make change, building on what is already in place rather than being negative and looking to criticise the good work of our volunteers, who give their time unquestionably in good faith to keep things going – especially during this very strange time. If an issue is approached on a positive and inclusive basis it should be discussed on its merits and changes can be made, if it is the right thing to do for the greater good. The club secretary is the first point of contact.
Whilst it is true several open water past parents stepped in a few years back to help the club reform its governance, with several retirements and a lack of new faces at the time, it is my opinion that we are in debt to them for what they achieved to get us where we are today.
Please remember the club is one, and is bigger than we each are individually. It is here for everyone and not just one swimmer, one squad or one parent.
If you have a great idea for change or you want a problem looked at, get involved and don’t let it fester. The committee works for the benefit of all members rather than just a select few and will debate and support all good ideas and make change if it can – for the benefit of all our swimmers!

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