Jennifer Gray MBE
My journey in swimming started when I was ‘talent spotted’ by the Slough diving coach Nellie Wood who suggested I joined the diving club. In 1961 I became the Berks and South Bucks Ladies Diving Champion a title I proudly held for 5 years. I never could win the junior title! My diving took me to National Championships in Blackpool and Crystal Palace and only came to an end when, my head and the diving board had a very close relationship and I discovered I was better at Synchronised Swimming.
In 1968, I was selected to swim in the first Great Britain Synchro team and swam for Britain until 1973 at the first World Championships in Belgrade.
During this time, I qualified as a PE teacher as well as a swimming teacher and synchro judge. In 1975 I was appointed ASA National Development Officer for both synchro and diving, a job that took me all over Britain introducing the coaching qualifications for both sports.
After leaving the ASA I joined the staff at Westminster College Oxford working in the training of teachers. I am still working, very much part time, with trainee primary teachers. When the college joined with Oxford Brookes University I started the Sports Coaching Degree, the first in the country, and remained chair of this course until my retirement 10 years later.
My synchro ‘career’ has taken me, as a judge, to 2 Olympic Games, 4 Commonwealth Games and 5 World Championships. I served the sport for many years as the Chairman of the National Technical Committee and also on the LEN and FINA committees. I am still involved in the training of athletes, coaches and judges at home and throughout the world. When home, you’ll find me most days on the poolside.
In 2016 I was awarded the MBE for my services to Synchronised Swimming and in 2018 the Paragon Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Florida.
I very much look forward to my year as President of Swim England South East and to meeting everyone involved in every discipline of our great sport.
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