Spoken like a true coach, Andrew ‘Herbie’ Howard has credited his relationship with Paralympian Grant ‘Scooter’ Patterson, as well as the team at Central Cairns Swimming, for his most recent honour.
In front of more than 250 guests at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre at the weekend, the committed coach was named the ‘Multi-Class Coach of the Year’ by the Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association (ASCTA).
Herbie and Scooter share a special coach-athlete bond.
“Receiving this award from ASCTA is a huge honour and one I am very proud of,” Howard told Swimming Australia.
“It was great to be recognised in front of fellow coaches and teachers and to have some of my family and friends there made it a great night. Also, to have Wayne Lawes (my old swim coach) in attendance made it even more memorable.
“It is however a team effort and any result could not be successful without the support of Central Cairns Swimming, all the coaching staff at Herb’s Training and Swim School and Cairns Personal Trainers.”
Since 2007, Howard has guided Scooter to multiple Australian teams and has seen him achieve positive results throughout that time.
“This award is a result of an 11-year partnership between Scooter and me,” Howard said.
“My main aim has always been to get Scooter on the Australian team and ready to race fast, and we have achieved that eight times now.
“His results and PBs at the Para Pan Pacs in Cairns were massive rewards for Scooter for all his hard work. The bonus was that he could race in front of his home crowd and teammates, and I could watch him compete live on the international stage for the very first time.”
'Scooter' won three gold and one silver medal at the 2018 Para Pan Pacs.
After a longstanding relationship, Howard highlighted mixing things up, trying new methods and techniques was a way to stay inspired and driven.
“We are always trying to do things differently and change things up to keep Scoot motivated and to find other ways to build strength, range of motion and improve his technique. He is a unique athlete and we are learning all the time,” Howard said.
Herbie Howard won ASCTA's Multi-Class Coach of the Year.
“Two gym sessions a week, more specific afternoon sessions and a change in diet have all contributed to Scooter swimming faster than he ever has.”
These new training methods have paid dividends for Scooter, who successfully qualified for the Australian team which will compete at the World Para Swimming Championships in the United Kingdom in September – a feat his coach is very proud of.
“Scooter has again made the team for the World Champs and we are currently working hard towards finishing on the podium in London, which means keeping him fit, healthy and happy.”
There’s one more aspiration for Scooter and Howard, and that’s securing Patterson a medal at the Paralympics. With Tokyo 2020 around the corner, there’s no doubt the duo will be doing everything in their power to accomplish this ambition.
“Scooter’s ultimate goal has always been to get a medal at the Paralympics; this we have yet to achieve. First, we have to place him on the team, and then anything is possible.”
Photo Credit: ASCTA