GOOD SPORT: Gail Smail (centre) with swim students Isaac Kay, Ben Armbruster and William Kay.
GOOD SPORT: Gail Smail (centre) with swim students Isaac Kay, Ben Armbruster and William Kay. Liana Walker

The coach of coaches

Swimming: Any award comes with honour, but there's something extra flattering about being told you're the best by your peers.

Gail Smail has taken home the Coaches Coach award from the Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association, as nominated by her fellow coaches in the Darling Downs region.

"It was a good honour, there was three of us from different regions, I was the Darling Downs one, there was one from Wide Bay and another from Brisbane,” Smail said.

"It was good to receive in front of all the other coaches because it's a very male dominated sport, the top coaches are nearly all male.

"The females usually get the learn to swim sort of awards so it's good to get the coaches coach award to be recognised by those in the industry.”

Smail has been coaching for more than 30 years and swimming even longer. But for her it's never been about the awards.

"I don't do it for the recognition, I do it for the love of the sport. Just to see the kids achieve.”

For Smail, those achievements vary from the moment a tiny tot can put their head underwater comfortably for the first time, to when a swimmer achieves a national age qualifying time.

"I'm always a believer of quality over quantity. So if they do a quality session they're going to benefit in the long run,” she said.

"It's so important that kids learn to swim and have that confidence around the water and the respect for water too.”

Looking forward, Smail will now focus on training her students for upcoming country swimming championships in Goondiwindi this month.

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