‘It’s relentless… swimming in the morning, then gym then pool!’: UK Coaching Awards high performance winner Rob Greenwood on life at the top

Manchester Para-Swimming coach Rob Greenwood insists it’s both a shock and an honour to be recognised for his work after being named High Performance Coach of the Year at the UK Coaching Awards.

The national Para-Swimming head coach led the charge for Team GB in the 2016 Paralympic Games, helping the squad to 47 medals, with 16 golds seeing them to third in the medal table in Rio.

It’s a role which saw Greenwood honoured at the awards ceremony at Holiday Inn, Wembley, on Tuesday evening, sharing the accolade with gymnast coach Eddie van Hoof, a prize he was far from expecting to walk away with.

“I’m surprised but absolutely made up, firstly just to be nominated with a quite incredible group of coaches in a remarkable year for British Olympic and Paralympic sport,” he said.

“It’s quite unbelievable, I was surprised to have even got there but I’m absolutely blown away to be joint-winner. I came into the role in 2013 and it’s a fantastic group of people to be working with.

“From an aquatic side, coming off the back of London was a tough Paralympic Games for us. We under-performed in both the Olympic and Paralympic side at home so we were under a little bit of pressure to get it right heading into Rio.

“The group of athletes, practitioners and coaches is amazing, all of them from the national centre right the way through to the clubs have done a fantastic job with our culture and vision to deliver a peak performance when it really matters.”

The annual celebration, organised by Sports Coach UK, honours sports coaches and coaching organisations who have demonstrated outstanding success over the previous 12 months, with HRH The Princess Royal on hand to present the awards.

But while the bunting has barely come down from Greenwood and his team’s Paralympic Games success, the 37-year-old is far from keeping his toe out of the water, already gearing up for Tokyo in four years’ time.

Working full-time at the National Performance Centre in Manchester, it’s a job that certainly comes with its demands, enveloping a new performance culture within the team since his arrival three years ago.

But Greenwood, a former athlete himself, insists it’s just all part of the job, keen to get the best out of the country’s best Para-Swimming talent across the whole Paralympic Games cycle.

“It’s relentless, they’re swimming in the morning, then in the gym then the pool in the afternoon,” he continued.

“For some of our athletes that’s six days a week which is a tough balance, and balance is something we’ve got to do better as coaches, not just what we’re doing on a coaching front but what we do away from the pool too.

“We still have massive areas of development and growth opportunities as coaches. That’s for me personally, our athletes and the practitioners too. 

“We’re always striving to get better, you’re not going to completely be an expert, there’s always something round the corner or the next day and we’re on that development journey. It keeps us hungry and motivated to what we want to do.”

The UK Coaching Awards honours sports coaches and coaching organisations that have demonstrated success over the previous 12 months. This year’s winners came from 11 different sports – highlighting the very best of coaching from high performance to community, from children to disability. Find out more about coaching in the UK at

Related Articles