BIG THANKS: Coach Gail Smail has been awarded Coach of the Year in a popular Australia-wide sporting magazine.
BIG THANKS: Coach Gail Smail has been awarded Coach of the Year in a popular Australia-wide sporting magazine.

Stanthorpe’s swimming sensation recognised for efforts

SWIMMING: A ”phenomenal” swimming coach has been rewarded for her dedication to athletes over the last 30 years, awarded Coach of the Year for a popular Australia-wide sporting magazine.

In a competition with more than 1000 entries and 30 finalists split between eight categories, Gail Smail’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed.

“I feel very honoured,” she said.

“It is very special and I am absolutely over the moon.”

The many early starts and late nights at the pool across her coaching career have all been worthwhile, but that’s not the motivator for Smail.

“I don’t do it for the awards, I do it because I love it.,” she said.

Despite the cancellation of the awards ceremony planned to go ahead in Sydney later this month, Smail said receiving the award in the mail was just as good.

“It came in the mail the other day and I had to record a little spiel and sent that through to them for their website,” Smail said.

Gail Smail in action at Stanthorpe pool.
Gail Smail in action at Stanthorpe pool.

Stanthorpe Swimming Club president Shannon Armbruster, who nominated Smail, said she has been in the game for so long and is a ”true resource” to both the sport and the community.

“She is absolutely phenomenal at what she does,” Armbruster said.

“A true resource that people can tap into.”

Armbruster said in a sport where coaches are male dominant, Smail takes it in her stride, knowing she has a job to do.

“She just gets out there and gets the job done,” she said.

“She always treats everyone the same no matter how old they are.

“She has such a gentle approach and is always straight to the point.”

Having known Smail for the last 14 years, Armbruster said the swimming club is more than fortunate to have a coach of her ability.

“She has coached both of my kids from learn to swim right up until now with Ben.

“I have seen her coach so many kids over the years and she is exceptional.”