Sutton Swimming Club stalwart Lee Bunker retires

Sutton Swimming Club head coach Lee Bunker has taken the difficult decision to hang up his stopwatch after over 10 years on poolside as a helper, assistant teacher/coach then head coach.

Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 3:31 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 3:32 pm

“I have enjoyed my time as head coach and thank all swimmers and parents, past and present for their support and for their efforts to help make the club the best it could be,” he said.

“I would like everyone show the same support to the new coaching team.

“I appreciated all the gifts I have received and, while I will miss everyone, I am also looking forward to having more spare time to spend with my wife and family.”

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Lee receives a signed and framed club tee-shirt from club chair Paul Jones.

His journey with Sutton Swimming Club goes back to when he was a young child and joined as a competitive swimmer.

Lee regularly represented the club in a variety of competitions up until he left school and started work when he decided to give the sport up.

However, when Lee became a family man and had two daughters with his wife Kay there was only ever going to be one swimming club that he took his daughters to.

Both Sophie (now 22) and Ellie (18) would both go on to be stalwarts of the club's competitive teams, both frequently representing the club from eight or nine years of age and both still represented the club at the 2022 Nottinghamshire County Championships Relay events.

It was around 2012 when Lee took the decision to become more than a swim parent and to start volunteering to help in the running of the club.

He helped with timekeeping at club sessions, then qualified as a Level 1 judge and then a Level 2 judge as well as joining the committee and becoming kit officer and welfare officer.

In 2012 head coach Gren Greaves asked Lee to help with the teaching and coaching of the younger swimmers and he steadily increased the amount of time he spent on poolside, shadowing Gren Greaves and learning everything he could from him.

In 2014 Lee took over the head coach position on a permanent basis, going on to achieve level 2 coaching accreditation.

It is no coincidence that since Lee began, the club has had unprecedented success in so many competitions as a team and individually.

The titles came thick and fast with the strength of the competitive swim squad at Sutton becoming the strongest it had ever been since it was formed in 1927.

By 2015, after two promotions, they were Division One champions of the Notts Sports Centre League and retained it for another four years.

It was 2018 that probably marks one of Lee’s greatest achievements when Sutton qualified for the final of the West Midlands Arena League Premier Division and finished fifth in that final to finish fifth in the league overall.

Sutton SC won a variety of Notts ASA league competitions and Top Club awards at multiple Open Meet competitions.

Lee also coached record numbers of individual swimmers to achieve qualification times to compete at County, Regional, National and British Championships.