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Our Coaches

Performance Group 2

Lead Performance Coach Paul Armstrong

Paul started swimming for Gateshead and Whickham ASC at the age of nine and fondly remembers winning swimmer of the month in May 1992.  He continued swimming at the club until the age of 13, reaching national standard in 100m butterfly and also later competed with GAW masters for a number of years.

Paul has been dedicated to GAW coaching at the club for 10 years through various roles including C2B, Assistant Head Coach, B squad coach, Age Group Performance Coach and now Lead Performance Coach.

During his time as junior and age group Paul coached athletes to over 200 county medals and over 100 regional medals, topping regional age group medal tables on two occasions.  He’s also trained a British Age Group champion, an English Nationals medallist and multiple national finalists.

He was awarded the top accolade of Gateshead Sports Coach of the year in 2015, testament to his commitment to his role in the success of athletes he had coached thus far in his career.

Paul has also led GAW’s Junior League team to two county titles and had teams placed fifth and sixth in the UK at the National Junior Arena League finals. 

 Performance Group 1

Assistance Performance Coach Ross Bradley

Ross has been both a successful swimmer and coach for Gateshead and Whickham ASC over a number of years.

As a swimmer, Ross competed from the age of nine until his early 20’s, reaching national level.  He also competed at water polo for Northumbria University.

Ross began his coaching career with GAW in 2014 as C+ coach, developing young swimmers who would go on to attain county and regional success.  In that time he assisted with the Junior League squad and helped propel them to two county titles and successive 6th and 5th positions in consecutive national finals.

After a very successful stint at Tynemouth ASC (2017-2018) where he again helped the Junior League team to successive local titles as well as coaching junior athletes to individual county successes, Ross accepted the invitation to return to team GAW and join the Performance team as Assistant Lead Performance Coach. 

Potential Group 2

Lead Potential Coach  Sue Thorpe

Sue Thorpe (nee Gibson) joined Whickham ASC at the age of 10, training twice a week. After a year she was invited to join Gateshead Metro enabling her to train five mornings and five extra evening and weekend sessions, (seven days a week).
Sue competed up to Regional level and then took her Teaching/Coaching awards in the early 1980s.  After working with Whickham and Blaydon swimming clubs she left to join the RAF. After spending 11 years in the RAF and competing in tours to Gibraltar, Malta, Barcelona and New Zealand, Sue returned to ‘Civvie street’.
Settling in the south, Sue was Head Coach of the Hertsmere Flyers for nearly 10 years, developing swimmers from Counties to Nationals. She then moved to Watford SC to work alongside Terry Davies for a short while, before being asked to join the Barnet Copthall coaching team. 
Returning to her native North East in 2016, after just two weeks away from the pool, Sue made an impromptu visit to Gateshead and Whickham and met Coach Ken and the rest as they say is history!!!!!!! 
Competitive Development:

Joan Edwards

Joan Edwards joined the Gateshead and Whickham coaching team in 2018 and already feels like part of the club’s fabric.  Indeed the Edwards family, on Joan’s husband’s side, were actually founding members of Whickham Swimming Club in the 1960s and still swim regularly to this day.
In 20 years of dedicated coaching Joan has regularly taken athletes to county and regional level, and is a welcome and invaluable addition to the GAW coaching team.  As well as moulding our younger swimmers on poolside, Joan also proves an inspirational figure in the water, continuing to swim competitively at an international standard today, recently smashing European and British Masters records in a range of freestyle events.
Honours as a Youth swimmer include numerous national as well as international accolades with Joan representing Great Britain at The European Youth Swimming Championships as a 15yr old. Joan retired at 18yrs, but not before winning the prestigious Northumberland and Durham Swimmer of the Year in 1976, the year inwhich she just missed out on Olympic selection.
Joan returned to swimming (with Masters) in the late 1980s and continues to compete at a national and international level to this day, as well as inspiring future international prospects through her dedicated coaching. 
Academy:  Paul Armstrong 
Ross Bradley   Karen McCallum
Learners: Sue Thorpe


Masters: Matthew Grant
  Occasional Coaches  
Martin Connelly Monica Clark  

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