Mermaid Marshall takes on a new challenge
By Owen Bradley, BBC Blast Reporter, Derby
The City of Derby Swimming Club has a new head coach with a fine pedigree.
You would think that after a career of competitive swimming, the first thing you would do is take a break from the pool. That isn’t the case for Lincolnshire native Melanie Marshall.
"People think I’m mad actually because I used to spend my time involved in swimming and now I get to watch it, but it’s going great.”
Marshall retired from the sport in October 2008, relocating to Alvaston to take the job as Head Coach at the City of Derby Swimming Club.
"We have a really good teaching programme. We have six squads and they can basically go from not being able to swim at all to being competitive swimmers.
“We’ve got everything for everybody’s needs. Everything you need it, we’ve got it.”
As a double European Championship gold medallist, Marshall is well aware of the work involved in reaching the pinnacle of her sport.
And while she admits there are some youngsters in her ranks that could follow in her footsteps and represent Great Britain in the future, she insists there is a place for all ability levels in her squad.
“My goal is to make sure that everyone reaches their potential, whether that be to get to the county championships or whether it be to make the Olympics, I want to make sure they all get that opportunity.”
And her new coaching role may also have helped the two-time Olympian come to terms with the one omission from her trophy cabinet.
“I never got what I wanted, but I’m at a point in my life now where I’m okay with that.
“I’m okay that I didn’t get that elusive Olympic gold or I didn’t get that Olympic medal, I’m just happy to have got as far as I got, because I gave my best.”
Alongside her new role Marshall has also recently become an Ambassador for the Zambia-based organisation Sport in Action. After falling love with the country in 2004, she has now set up her own scheme, ‘Teaching Zambia to Swim’, with a charity ball organised for October.
Whatever her new challenges though, it is clear that nothing will ever fully appease the competitive spirit that resides within the ex-Loughborough student.
“I will always miss that feeling of standing up there when you’re in the best shape of your life and putting a GB hat on and racing for your county in the most pressurising arena you can come across at the Olympic Games.
“I’ll never ever stop missing that.”
last updated: 22/07/2009 at 15:34