Author: Alison Finlay

NEW: Fundraising made easy

Welcome to Gateshead and Whickham Swimming Club

100+ years of competitive swimming.

NEW: Fundraising made easy

Shop for Christmas and help raise funds for the club

The EasyFundraising scheme is a great way to support the club financially, without any extra cost to you. By joining the scheme, every time you make an online purchase at any of the retailers who are part of EasyFundraising, the retailer will make a donation to the club.

There are over 4000 retailers registered including Amazon, Argos, M&S, Aviva, AA,, Tesco, Sky and many more.

To support the club, all you need to do is download the EasyFundraising app or register on the website at 

All you have to do is access the online retailers website through EasyFundraising and then shop in your usual way.

It is easy to create an account – for help, use this guide to get started. 


GAW swimmers selected for National Programmes

Congratulations to three of our swimmers selected for the Swim England National Development Programme.

Anna Finlay, Daniel Barrett and Rebecca Allan have all been chosen to take part in the third step on the Swim England Extended Talent Pathway – the first on the national framework.

Read more about how Anna, Daniel and Rebecca achieved their spaces.


NEW: Steven Speight is new GAW Chairman

We are very pleased to inform you that our new chairman is Steven Speight. Having been at the club for seven years with his son Patrick, Steven knows the club inside out and is a very welcome addition to the team.

He brings a vast wealth of knowledge and expertise with him from his daytime job as a project leader of an engineering company providing services to a global internet provider and has a strong background in leadership and risk assessment.

Steven is looking forward to helping the club during this challenging time and getting to know parents and swimmers from all squads.

UPDATED: Back to pool information, guidance and schedule

All members of the club have been sent relevant training schedules for the coming weeks.  Schedules for the Christmas period will be sent as soon as they are confirmed.

Should you wish to view them, all of the following documents can be found on Club Organiser.

  • COVID-19 Advice and FAQs for Parents
  • Gateshead and Whickham Return to Training Covid-19 Guidance
  • GAW Covid-19 Risk Assessment: Version 9
  • GAW Back to pool scenarios 
  • Jesmond Pool Normal Operating Procedures and Emergency Action Plan
  • Elswick Pool Risk Assessment
  • Benfield Pool Risk Assessment
  • Benfield Pool Covid-19 Risk Assessment
  • Benfield Pool Normal Operating Procedures
  • Benfield Pool Emergency Action Plan
  • Return to Swimming Questions and Answers

If you have any problems accessing Club Organiser please let your squad rep know. Please also speak to your squad rep if you are unsure of which sessions to attend or have any general queries.


NEW: Much loved coach Joan Edwards retires

Joan Edwards has decided to retire as coach for the Competitive Development squad.  She had planned to resign at the end of this year anyway, as she is now 63 and wants to focus more on her own swimming, which is hugely important to her.  She also needs to spend more time looking after her mam, as well as having more time for holidays when the restrictions end!

Joan decided to bring this decision forward due to the lengthy pool closure period.  This meant that when swimming returns, there would at most only be a few months left before she was planning to retire, which would have been difficult for any new swimmers who might join that squad.  Joan will really miss the young swimmers in her group and wishes them all well for the future.

We would like to say a huge thank you to Joan for all of the great work she has done with the Competitive Development squad and we are pleased to say that she will continue to provide cover coaching to support the other coaches.  We know that her swimmers will miss her very much.




NEW: Club chairman resigns

Club Charman Emrys Pritchard has resigned from the club with immediate effect.

We thank Emrys for his leadership and all the good work he has carried out since he took up the role last December, particularly the lead role he has played in our preparations to manage the Covid risk when we return to swimming.

If anyone is interested in taking up the role of Club Chairman please email expressing an interest before Friday 21 August.

NEW:Gateshead to Budapest Challenge completed

Half-term fundraising challenge raises whopping £6,318 for new state-of-the-art starting blocks

From 23rd May to 28th May GAW swimmers and coaches accepted the challenge to collectively walk, run or cycle the distance from Gateshead Leisure Centre to Budapest, a total of 1,167 miles.

Our athletes surpassed themselves and smashed that original total forcing the challenge to include miles back again too, and they didn’t stop there with the final total being the equivalent distance of:

  • GLC to Budapest and back again
  • GLC to London Aquatics Centre and back again
  • GLC to Tollcross International Swimming Centre, Glasgow
  • GLC to Ponds Forge International Swimming Centre, Sheffield
  • Circular tour of Gateshead pools X3

A huge total of 3,316 miles!

Our top traveller with an astounding 181.8 miles travelled was Max Murray from Performance Group 1.

Top traveller in each squad:

Academy 1: Alexander Watson

Academy 2: Winnie Renwick and Charlie Shaw

Competitive Development: Isla Murray

Potential Group 1: Matthew Stovold

Potential Group 2: Lewis Richardson

Performance Group 1: Max Murray

Performance Group 2: Hannah Brown

Masters: Martin Connelly

Coaches: Ross Bradley

There were some outstanding totals but the joint fundraising champions, raising over £400 each were Winnie Renwick from Academy 2 and Conan and Millie Swinney from Performance Group 1 and Academy 2.

We have been overwhelmed by everyone who got involved in the challenge and by how much has been raised.  Thank you very much!

Thanks also for sending great photos and videos of swimmers enjoying the challenge – watch the final video here.

The club would also like to extend its huge appreciation to Nicola McPherson who may think twice about sharing the fact she ‘has an idea’ in the future!  She has done an amazing job, keeping everyone motivated and interested – thank you Nicola!


SAD NEWS: Passing of GAW coach Jim Davison

“Big” Jim Davison 

It is with great sadness and regret that I inform you of the passing of Jim Davison, a much loved figure for generations of GAW swimmers and parents.

In his two spells coaching at Gateshead and Whickham, Jim transcended that role with his larger than life personality and passion for the sport.  The word “loved” is possibly overused when it comes to coaches, but this really does accurately describe Jimmy for the hundreds of children he coached for over three decades. 

Ushering in the new era of the Professional Coach, Jimmy was often paid in Mars Bars and bacon sandwiches! One Mars bar per PB and a bacon sandwich wrapped up on the morning of a gala!  Jim’s selflessness meant that he was content to play an important role in countless swimmers reaching their goals, before they moved on to other squads. 

Often coaching athletes between the ages of 10 and 13, Jim had that ideal mix of technical knowledge and overriding enthusiasm required to both keep those swimmers in the sport and also to progress them towards fulfilling their potential.  He would happily list the number of regional and national champions in whose swimming development he’d played a vital role.  Jim took enormous and well-earned pride in this, but also in the successes and achievements of countless other swimmers that he had coached.  Jimmy will be missed not just by those involved with GAW, but also across the region.  There isn’t a gala I attend to this day without being asked by other coaches or officials as to Jim’s well-being.

Jimmy lived the role of a coach but was also much loved in the wider community, continuing his love of swimming with his daily visits to Blaydon Pool.  Well into his 70s and battling illness, Jim would lament that he’d “only” got in 100 lengths that day!  He continued his coaching in public sessions at Blaydon, and would happily encourage (or bark at!) any and all of the swimmers he shared the pool with.  His larger than life, enthusiastic persona meant that he was respected and loved in equal measure by all that were lucky enough to have known him, and he leaves behind many, many friends.

Martin Connelly also remembers how fundamental Jim was in helping to save the club during his first period as club chairman.  Martin managed to persuade Jim to come back to coach again after he had retired, and feels strongly that “pulling him out of the pool at Blaydon, to get him to coach for his second stint, was one of the best things I did.”

In all honesty, Jim would hate all the fanfare, and hard as it is to believe for those that witnessed him poolside, Jimmy was actually quite a shy and unassuming character.  He had to have his arm twisted to attend his own retirement party and didn’t want to have any fuss when N&D recognised his achievements at his last County Championships.  Though he would happily remind you, at least on a fortnightly basis, that he was the N&D champion, 60 years ago, when swimming in a river!

That said, I believe it is important that we all recognise Jimmy for his contributions both to Gateshead and Whickham ASC, swimming in the region, and also to the wider community.  He enriched so many lives, was very much loved and respected, and will be sorely missed by all that knew him.  Our heartfelt sympathies go to his family at this time.


Paul Armstrong and the GAW family

NEW: Update from our Chairman

I hope everyone is keeping safe and well during this very difficult and challenging time.

You will know we have had to cancel our May gala which I understand is frustrating for swimmers, but unfortunately we are all in the same boat.  Home galas are a much needed source of income for us but we are exploring other avenues to keep us robust.

I would like to say a huge thank you to all parents for your continued support. As a club we are working hard behind the scenes to ensure your club is in a good position when we are allowed to start training again. 

I would also like to say a huge thank you to our coaches, whose continued support and land training advice is very much appreciated.

There are training exercises regularly added to our Performance Page and Swim England has a useful YouTube page which features suggested exercises as well as various helpful presentations including nutritional advice.

If anyone has any questions please get in touch with myself, your squad rep or any other member of our committee

More importantly, stay safe everyone and I look forward to providing an update to say that training is starting again.

Best wishes

Emrys Pritchard


Friends of Team GAW

Some superb level X and Friday night racing across the whole club this evening! Back for more level X tomorrow afternoon. Keep up the good work everyone! #TeamGAW

About 5 days ago from Gateshead and Whickham Swimming's Twitter via Twitter for iPhone