Amazing career of Sutton’s ‘Mr Swimming’, Allen Urch, is celebrated

'Mr Sutton Swimming', 88-year-old Allen Urch, with his leaving present.
'Mr Sutton Swimming', 88-year-old Allen Urch, with his leaving present.

A celebration of an extraordinary career in the sport by Allen Urch was the highlight of the annual presentation night of Sutton Swimming Club.

Club president Urch, who is 88 years old, has been teaching and coaching competitive swimmers at Sutton for a total of 54 years.

But ill health has now prevented him from continuing his poolside duties, so the club presented him with a photo album containing all the many fantastic memories of his years of service.

He also received hand-written retirement messages from swimmers and officials from across Nottinghamshire.

Urch’s efforts began when he coached his own son, Martin, and daughter Judith to compete at national level.

Remarkably, he has played some role in every successful swimmer the Sutton club has produced since 1965, including Paralympic champions Sam Hynd and Ollie Hynd.

Urch was head coach at Sutton for more than 25 years before handing over to Gren Greaves, another stalwart of the club.

He continued to teach and coach on a voluntary basis four times each week, first under Gren and then under the current head coach, Lee Bunker, and was only forced to call it a day just before last Christmas.

In 2008, he was named president of the Nottinghamshire Amateur Swimming Association and, in 2012, he was awarded the MBE for his services to competitive swimming, receiving the honour from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.

He remains president and a lifetime member of the Sutton club and will continue to help with the administration of local galas.

Club chairman Andy Quinn said: “All at the club wish Allen a long, happy and healthy retirement from his poolside duties.”

The presentation night reflected an exceptional year for Sutton, with numerous individual and team achievements at county, regional, and national levels.

For the first time, the club qualified for the final of the West Midlands Arena League, finishing fifth and cementing itself as one of the top clubs in the Midlands.