It is not often that I am overcome with emotion, but the experience I witnessed this Week through sport, led me to such pride. You all know of my continuous work and relationship with Stockport Metro. This, the most successful swimming club in UK history in terms of medals.
Pre-Christmas, 2015, we succeeded in a crowdfunding campaign for this same Club, to fund talented athletes to embark on a much needed training camp in South Africa, in preparation for Rio 2016 Olympic places. My Company, ACROBAT | FCSM, made a pledge in this Campaign and was promised a ‘reward’. The reward my Son, Kaya (aged 9), received was an hour’s personal training in the fabulous Grand Central Pool, home of Metro and operated by Life Leisure (with whom I was Non-Executive Director for nearly 12 years). Not only this but, a bespoke Stockport Metro’s “Wolfpack” T-Shirt (as worn by the squad), “SM” Swim Cap and entry to a dedicated Olympic Raffle.
On arrival the reward exceeded all expectations. Naturally, it was honouring the nature of our pledge – but the people that led this experience were impeccable. The athlete leading tuition and accompaniment in the pool was Harry Needs. He knows first-hand what it is like to train at the pinnacle of Olympic sport and has recently taken over as the Strength & Condition Coach of Stockport Metro High Performance Centre, inspiring the next generation. Harry is married to Olympian, Rebecca Adlington. Furthermore, the Coach who encouraged the activities throughout was the experienced Bulgarian, specialist, Alex Markov.
The tone and congeniality was flawless – such elite sports people offering time and genuine compassion to assist my Son, a good sportsman, but not a regular swimmer nor member of any swimming club (he did however learn to swim via Stockport Metro’s swimming lessons as do many a child from Stockport, Manchester and Tameside).
So the story of this ‘customer satisfaction’ has been written, completed by: an improving performance through expert guidance in a mere hour; the whole experience being videoed underwater using the incredible ‘fish eye’ technology (with a video to retain for lasting memories), Harry’s iphone took photos galore, and Rebecca is forwarding a signed photograph just for Kaya.
Could it be any better – I doubt it! My personal favourite stroke was when Harry and Kaya took turns doing the ‘dolphin’. One would be the arms up front, the other holding his feet, and being the flipper and kicking – a role that they reversed in the sequence.
Sport and life together as one. I hope that this short note helps a reader or two to think that they might like to have an introduction to the work of Stockport Metro – as a partner or sponsor – opportunities abound. Or if you know someone that could equally appreciate such a gift, in whole or part, just get in touch and we’ll see if we can help?
p.s Harry gave Kaya his, expensive looking, googles on departure…..and has since written to me saying: “Kaya was a pleasure to work with and I personally was inspired by the amount of progress he had in the hour. Such a charming lad with flawless listening skills.”