FEATURE: Former Olympic coach Mick comes out of retirement to help old club Maxwell

Mick Wakely and Marc Spackman
Mick Wakely and Marc Spackman

A former Olympic swimming coach is returning to take temporary charge of some junior lessons at the pool where his career began – right here in Aylesbury.

Mick Wakely, who officially retired following the London Olympic Games last year, is taking charge of sessions at Maxwell Swimming Club, which is based at Aqua Vale in Aylesbury.

Mick has been involved in the sport for almost 40 years and after starting at Hillingdon in 1972 played a key role in the opening of the Maxwell Pool in Aylesbury two years later.

He said: “I was involved in the opening of the pool in 1974, before I founded the Maxwell Swimming Club in 1978.

“At one time we were the most successful of all the local clubs in England.

“We had numerous international and Olympic swimmers who I trained at the pool.

“These included Robin Brew, who finished fourth in the men’s 200m individual medley at the Los Angeles Games in 1988 and Madeline Campbell, who competed at the Barcelona Games in 1992 in the women’s 100 metres butterfly.”

Mick also coached the Welsh Commonwealth Games team at Manchester in 2002, which included triathlete Helen Jenkins, who finished fifth in the women’s event at the London Games last year.

Mick said that one of the highlights of his career was his involvement in the Island Games.

He said: “I was head coach of the Jersey team at the 1995 Island Games, when we became the most successful Island Games team ever.

“We achieved a haul of 99 medals across the 14 sports and our swimming team included Simon Militis, the first ever national champion from Jersey.

“He also won a bronze medal at the 2002 Commonwealths in the men’s 20om backstroke.”

Mick will be working alongside the current head coach at Maxwell, Marc Spackman, who has been in charge for almost a year.

Marc said: “We are delighted to have Mick back on board. He is an excellent coach, a great role model for the kids and he has strong local connections.”

Marc is a former Olympic swimmer himself having competed in the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay at the 2000 Sydney Games.

There the team finished in fifth place in the final in a new British record time, missing out on a medal by 0.02 hundredths of a second.

He also won two silver medals at the World Championships, in Hong Kong in 1999 and in Perth in 2000 in the same event.

Marc has also coached several notable swimmers including Olympic finalist Elizabeth Simmonds, Paralympic gold medallist Robert Welbourn and Olympian Sophie Allen.

Marc has been coaching at Maxwell Club for a year and his current aims are to return the club back into its heyday.

He said: “We are holding a couple of open days next month on October 13 and 20 between 4.30pm and 6pm at Aqua Vale.

“We are inviting both aspiring swimmers who wish to take their first steps on the ladder and also existing swimmers who wish to step up and move on to the next level.

“The event is completely free, we just want as many people as possible to come down and try it out, and if they are good enough there is a chance they could gain a place with the club.”