Growing up your coach can have a real impact, both in sport and life.
I was lucky enough to enjoy the coaching of Eileen Adams for almost 5 years during my best years as a swimmer. I have no doubt it was her influence and training that made those years so successful.
Now as a senior athlete in a different sport I can look back and see that she was fundamental in my progression, at 21 I am now a better athlete and a better person because of her.
For the past 4 years she has fought a long and hard battle with cancer, never once letting illness take away from what she loved to do. In that time she took her most successful athlete to the Beijing Olympics and witnessed her years of work come full circle, never missing a day on poolside and making every training session...more than most of her swimmers could manage.
Early this morning she finally lost her battle.
To say she helped shape a generation of swimmers does not begin to do her justice, for me she was like a mother away from home, there for me through the ups, the downs and the in betweens, every day, every morning, rain or shine.
The world has lost an amazing woman, coach and friend. Never one to accept anything but the best from people I have no doubt she has left an impact with many people, no more than me.
In memory of my long time coach, Eileen Adams, I write with tears in my eyes, she will be missed.