After four years with Sevenoaks Swimming Club, Head Coach, Keiron Piper is leaving for a new role. We caught up with Keiron to find out more.
Where are you going and what are you going to do?
I’m off to Millfield School in Somerset, to join a fantastically experienced coaching team led by Euan Dale and Ryan Livingstone, and will be leading a squad of national quality athletes whilst assisting the performance group.
What will you miss about Sevenoaks?
The people! Committee members, volunteers, coaches and the swimmers!
You’ve picked up some fantastic awards in the four years, including Swim England 2021 Inspirational Coach Award & Kent Mental Health & Wellbeing Award. How did it feel to be recognised in this way through nominations from the Club community?
Very humbling and I felt so lucky and honoured to even be considered and put forward by members of the Club. Thank you again!
What have you achieved as Head Coach that you are most proud of?
I think it’s seeing the growth of the Club. We’ve grown from having around 6 youth regional qualifiers and 4 British National qualifiers to almost 40 Youth Regional and then 20 British National qualifiers. We’ve set Club Records at every major meet we’ve attended and have become one of the leading Clubs in the south-east; and becoming a big player at national level too!
Have you learnt anything that you will be taking with you?
My entire coaching philosophy has evolved and developed hugely in my time here. There are so many things that I’ve learned and developed that has let me grow hugely as a coach: technical, tactical, psychological, physiological and in developing relationships with athletes, coaches and all involved!
As a Head Coach there are always challenges. What would you say was the biggest challenge you faced & how did you get through it?
Definitely the pandemic. Keeping a Club as large as we are going, staying motivated and wanting to return to the sport was a tough ask, but one that I think we executed brilliantly as a Club!
At the Summer British Swimming Champs this year you were filmed celebrating in the stands when the girls relay team scooped gold. That was such an incredible achievement for the relay team, you and of course all in the club. How would you describe that moment?
Wow! What a moment! It was the culmination of everything; the whole season and the five months before that after returning from the pandemic. To take a large group of athletes to nationals, effectively one huge squad, and to have the fantastic success we had, to then win that relay with four amazing girls who fought with everything for each other. To win that against huge school and city programs, in the dying milliseconds. I’ve never experienced a chill, high or feeling like it. That’ll stay with me for the rest of my career and life; just wow!
Have you got any final words for the Sevenoaks Swimmers?
Dream big, work hard, listen to your coaches, thank your parents for their sacrifice and believe in yourselves! You’re all capable of so much more, don’t be satisfied with what we achieved together so far; I want to watch the Club continue to grow and have further success. You’re the driving force for that, make it happen!
Eva Okaro receives 1st international senior team call up
Sevenoaks Swimming Club were delighted to hear that swimmer Eva Okaro received her first international senior team call up. This is the Club’s first international call up and the club are so proud of her. Head Coach Keiron Piper said: “What an achievement. We are all so incredibly proud.”
Eva will travel to Berlin for the World Cup this month. Good luck Eva!! The Club and all of Sevenoaks will be cheering you on!
Swimming Coach receives late stage brain cancer diagnosis
Sevenoaks Swimming Club received some sad and devastating news in September regarding their Coach Kenny Hickey. Kenny was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 Multifocal Glioblastoma, a fast-growing and aggressive brain tumor, and he and his family need the community’s support.
Kenny’s wife Claire said: “This fundraiser is Kenny’s wish. I write for him and his last colossal effort to care for us, save our home and protect our son’s future.” Please help Kenny and his family by visiting and sharing their fundraising page at gofundme.com/f/swim-coach-kennys-brain-cancer-appeal.
Sevenoaks Swimming Club Championships 2022
Sevenoaks Swimming Club’s annual Championships has started with some fantastic results already. The Championships is open to all club swimmers aged seven and up and allows all participants, some of them for the first time, to compete in a range of strokes and distances. It is a great opportunity at the start of the new season for the club community to get together, for swimmers to get back in the pool and race, and for younger swimmers to gain experience in a competition.
Pictured above is Dakota Lynch competing in the 12 year old category, swimming the gruelling 200 metre Butterfly race, cheered on by his fellow team mates and spectators.
A special mention also goes to Harry Sweeting, who, after a long time away from swimming and nine weeks in hospital, was back racing in the 11 year old category. It was great to see Harry back.
As always the Club is extremely grateful to Head Coach, Keiron Piper and his team of coaches, all the volunteers and officials, and Sencio at Sevenoaks Leisure Centre who made this all possible.