Article taken from East Lothian CourierDanny Kirkham, left, is congratulated on his new appointment by predecessor Cameron Smith.
MUSSELBURGH Marlins have welcomed back one of their top swimmers as their new head coach.
Danny Kirkham, from Port Seton, who swam with the Honest Toun club from the age of six to 18, is now back at the poolside, with hope of increasing the club’s membership from 160 to 200 swimmers.
He decided to take the plunge with his former club following the departure of former head coach Cameron Smith, from North Berwick, after three years to pursue work commitments.
The two coaches are friends and team-mates, having honed their competitive skills with East Lothian Swim Team (ELST) before moving on to train together with the University of Edinburgh performance squads.
Danny, 23, a former pupil at Cockenzie Primary School and Preston Lodge High School in Prestonpans, graduated from Edinburgh Napier University with an honours degree in sports science last year.
He is bringing his experience to training sessions at the six-lane pool at Musselburgh Sports Centre, which he is no stranger to.
As a four-year-old he started swimming lessons at Musselburgh Sports Centre with East Lothian Council before joining the Marlins, then ELST. He continued swimming as a member of Musselburgh and ELST for 10 years before moving on to the University of Edinburgh performance programme.
Danny represented Musselburgh at county and national level, competing in the British National Championships as well as several European championships in France, Germany, Portugal and Spain.
While studying for his degree, Danny, in addition to his swimming commitments, coached on a voluntary basis at Musselburgh, Haddington and Tranent swimming clubs. In the last year, he has been successful at Warrender Swim Centre in Edinburgh coaching the top age group squads.
Jack Calder, chairman of Musselburgh Marlins, said: “With many of our coaching team already knowing Danny well, they were delighted, as we all were, that he has chosen to return to his roots as our head coach.
“He and his family have been associated with Musselburgh Marlins for many years, with both his dad and uncle members of the committee and both have been club secretary.”
“I know that Danny’s ambition was that one day he would get the opportunity to take on the role of head coach at Musselburgh Marlins and I believe his appointment will result in further significant development and success for the club.”
Danny has been getting to know the swimmers since he recently took up his new role.
“With backstroke his forte, I am certain there will soon be a crop of youngsters very keen to emulate him,” added Mr Calder.
Danny was also delighted to meet up again with Lynne Orr, who used to take him for swimming lessons and is now a lifeguard at the pool in Musselburgh.
Asked how he felt to be back with the Marlins as head coach, Danny said: “A lot of the people have changed and all the swimmers have changed but it still feels the same, and you sense the team spirit.
“It is a great opportunity.”
A new activity on Friday evenings is setting aside lanes for parents and volunteers to train alongside the Marlins, who have also increased their pool time due to a rise in membership.
The club is keen to regain its title as winner of East Lothian’s Festival of Swimming at the Mercat Gait Sports Centre in Prestonpans next weekend, having celebrated victory in the past two years. Help from parents for duties such as time-keeping and attending competitions is welcome.