Name: Ian Wilson
What I do: Head of Operations
How I got here: I was an international swimmer, winning medals over 1500m Free at World and European Championships, and I finished fifth at the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992. When I retired from 15+ years of international swimming in 1999, I joined the UK Sports Institute as an Athlete Career & Education Advisor, managing the ACE UK Programme in England. In 2002, I joined sports coach UK and held a number of roles over six enjoyable years, which included Coaching Development Officer, Head of Governing Body Support and Head of Coaching England. I then spent five years working for British Swimming over the London Olympic Quad and started back at sports coach UK as Head of Governing Body Support in January 2014.
Greatest Coaching Achievements: I took my coaching qualifications while I was swimming and have helped coach youngsters at City of Leeds and City of Sunderland clubs. I am a life member of City of Sunderland ASC and when I visit family a couple of times a month I help out at the club, supporting the Head Coach and his programme.
People I have enjoyed working with: Anyone who is passionate about sport and coaching and who wants to help try to make a difference.
Sporting Hero: I do not have a hero per se, but the Australian distance swimmers were so dominant during my career; swimmers like Glen Housman; Kieran Perkins; Grant Hackett all stand out for me. (my claim to fame was being the fastest non-Australian in the World in 1994 over 1500m Free after I had finished fourth behind three Aussies at the 1994 Commonwealth Games!!)
Name: Amanda Allman
What I Do: Strategic Lead: Product and Service Development
How I got here: I have worked in various industries including public health, nutrition supplementation, construction & data management for financial services organisations; where my roles have given me experience in marketing, client account management, creating training programmes, business process management, enterprise architecture & product management. Much of my life outside of work is spent being active, so I wanted to work in a sector where I can use my skills in an area I am passionate about. My job is to work with teams developing products to support coaches to do the best job they can - to encourage the diverse athletes in their care: from young athletes trying a sport for the first time; weekend warriors; sporting veterans; and potential Olympians of the future. What a responsibility and great opportunity!
Greatest Achievements in Coaching: I'm not a coach myself, however I have benefited from receiving coaching support, most significantly for open water swimming. I recognise the vital and diverse role a coach plays in a participant's life.
Sporting Hero: My sporting passions include fell running, cycling (roadie & MBT) and triathlon so I have heroes in each sport – Bradley Wiggins, Chrissy Wellington, the Brownlee brothers and Joss Naylor would be my top picks.
Name: Esther Jones
What I Do: Project Manager
How I got here: I am a former (Paralympic) Athlete, and began my career in sport at Sport England East Midlands when training for the Sydney Paralympics. When I retired from competition I joined the English Federation of Disability Sport in the East Midlands, running a programme to support disabled people into coaching. I then become a sports coach UK Coach Development Officer in Nottinghamshire in 2004, and have been with sports coach UK in various roles ever since
Greatest Coaching Achievements: Whilst I was fortunate enough to be part of the coaching staff for UK Athletics at the Athens Paralympic Games in 2004. However, my greatest coaching achievements were working with younger athletes helping them to reach new personal bests and goals, and in some case move into funded talent identification programmes.
Sporting Hero: Daley Thompson – he was tough, confident and single minded in pursuit of his goals, which is something I really wanted to emulate in my training and attitude to competition (and I love his sense of humour – well his interviews made me laugh..).