NSW Surf Life Saving Coach of the Year - Downie Langthorne
On Saturday night Downie Langthorne, our club's Surf/Craft/Pool Rescue Coach was announed as 'Çoach of the Year' at the 2011 NSW Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence Night at Dockside, Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Harbour in front of 300 surf life saving members & supporters. Unfortunately Downie couldn't make it on the night due to work commitments with Club President Keith Caldwell accepting his award on Downie's behalf.
Downie is part of the new breed of surf sports coaches and will be the future of Surf Life Saving in Illawarra for many years to come. Downie began his surf life saving career as a young nipper with North Curl Curl SLSC many years ago and at the age of 31 is still putting in the hours as a competitor & coach in an organisation he loves being involved in. Downie is a great boach & ski paddler plus also is acknowledged as one of Australia's best pool rescue competitors, having made 8 Australian Surf Life Saving representative teams, the most recent being at Rescue 2010 in Egypt.
He is a current Level 2 accredited coach & looks after our senior surf/craft squad. 2 members under the coaching of Downie were selected in Surf Life Saving Australian U21 Development Team that travelled to the New Zealand National Pool Rescue Championships (Mitchell Fagerstrom & Sean White). A heap of our kids also made the Illawarra Branch Team that competed at the NSW Inter-Branch Championships.
Downie has great maturity beyond his years in dealing with young persons from the age of 13 years through to mid 20’s and also includes our masters athletes. The information that he passed onto these athletes including formalizing training sessions, commitment, nutrition, surf skills definitely enhanced everybody’s performances throughout the season. It is not only about winning medals but also helping athletes achieve personal goals and giving them self confidence in life as well, with the support of the club, Downie travelled the East Coast of Australia attending carnivals placing the senior surf/craft squad against the best. He must be doing something right as the medal tally over the past few seasons has been quite staggering and remains at a high total consistently.This season when the Illawarra Branch Team was selected he was selected as Assistant Surf/Craft Coach & helped conduct training sessions prior to Inter-branch and helped local club coaches at these training sessions to work on skills based training in surf/craft.
Downie really relates to our younger members, as a former school teacher he has the respect of parents and athletes. He takes interest in their social aspects of life and encourages them to participate in social gatherings and makes sure that they have life after surf club activities. One of his best qualities is his communication skills, this season he has put the belief in our senior members to be role models & mentors to our young surf/craft squad.The club believes that Downie’s personality and ability to get the best out of all athletes (including beginners, improvers, middle of the road, elite etc) has assisted the club in greater member retention this season.
Downie’s most outstanding achievement was the U17 female girls in the senior squad (6 girls). With Bonnie McGregor as a guiding light for the young girls on the ski's, Downie put the finishing polish on these girls. These girls as a group have gone from good average competitors to girls that now believe in themselves winning medals & making national finals. None of these girls had ever made a national final previously, so to see 3 girls in the U17 National Ski final, 1 girl in the U17 board final, 1 team in the U17 Female Surf Teams final, 1 team in the U17 Female Board Relay final and 1 team in U17 Female Board Rescue final was unbelievable.
At the WORLD LIFE SAVING CHAMPIONSHIPS with our Bulli team he coached Hannah Minogue (Open Female) who was a finalist in Iron-woman, Ski, Board & Swim & the Open Men’s Board Rescue team of Mitchell Fagerstrom/Jake Hogarth who placed 5th
A quick look at medals won by members under the guidance of Downie;
2010 Surf Life Saving New South Wales Pool Rescue Championships: 12 Gold, 8 Silver & 4 Bronze medals 2010 Surf Life Saving Australian Pool Rescue Championships: 8 Gold, 8 Silver & 8 Bronze medals 2011 Surf Life Saving Illawarra Championships: 41 Gold, 33 Silver & 35 Bronze medals 2011 Surf Life Saving New South Wales Championships: 3 Gold, 1 Silver & 3 Bronze medals 2011 Surf Life Saving Australian Championships: 1 Silver & 1 Bronze medals (members coached by Downie also made 18 finals)
In all a staggering medal count at Major Championships totalling 64 GOLD 51 SILVER 51 BRONZE
Whilst on the NSW Awards Night.......Congratulations also must go to Maria Caldwell (Volunteer of the Year), Keith Caldwell (Lifesaver of the Year) & Tom Dewey (Young Athlete of the Year) as being acknowledged as finalists in their respective categories on the night.
Maroubra SLSC won Club of the Year but from all reports our Club of the Year nomination wasn't far of the mark.