Coach Nick is already in the swim!

Nick Russell (right) with Craig Nelson

Nick Russell (right) with Craig Nelson


The Pembrokeshire Swimming scene has been boosted by the arrival of Nick Russell as Development Coach who will assist head coach Craig Nelson in maintaining the high standards already set by the elite swimmers from all corners of our county.

Nick has quickly settled in and whilst Craig was away with Rhys Davies at the National Para Swimming Championships in Manchester took our squad to the Welsh Short Course Championships in Swansea and looked after them well.

 High praise from head coach Craig

Craig told us,

“Nick is already proving his worth poolside with the Academy Squad and I had no hesitation in letting him take charge in Swansea because I have known in some time before he joined me and we work closely together.

“The talented swimmers we look after share our belief in hard work and he has committed himself to our early-morning starts alongside regular evening sessions – and can also be found at poolside on Saturday mornings, where we have a bit of a lie-on before our 6.30am start.”

Involved in swimming as a 12 year old . . .

Nick originally hails from Pentyrch, which can be found between Cardiff and Pontypridd, and was a relatively late starter as he joined Fairwater Dolphins in our capital city as a 12 year old who joined some school friends at the local leisure centre.

“I took to it fairly quickly and I really enjoyed it until I was hit by an ear infection which kept me out for almost a year. But I had caught the swimming bug as well and it wasn’t long before I was swimming competitively for Llantrisant Sharks from Rhondda Cynon Taff in breaststroke - and then in butterfly when I got a bit stronger.

“I competed at Welsh level and was thrilled when I started to pick up medals, continuing at the 50-metre pool in Swansea – and also competed in the first year at the University of Surrey before deciding to focus on coaching.

 . . . and coaching by 16! 

“I had started to help out at pool side when I was 16 on a voluntary basis in Llantrisant as a swimming coach and lifeguard, and really enjoyed my work with young people before I eventually started being paid expenses and then when I returned from university I was appointed to the club as its Development Coach.

His main work was with the club’s youngsters before he became assistant head coach in the Rhondda Cynon Taf area and continuedhis work with talented youngsters and working alongside some of the feeder clubs.

Soon settled in

It gave him the sort of experience that saw him join Craig Nelson in a similar role at the helm of Pembrokeshire Swimming in October and since then he has quickly settled in and earned the respect of both swimmers and parents.

"It was great to take our team to Swansea and in a high-class competition we came away with five silver medals," said Nick "and a pile of personal bests as proof of the way that hard work brings its own rewards.

"We have a terrific squad and it is a privilege to be involved with Craig (Nelson) and everyone else!"