Competition Winner

Local Western Sydney dad wins the Philips Community Sports Dad of the Year award

President of the Blacktown City Swimming Club and father of three Richard Galea has been announced as the winner of the 2017 Philips Community Sports Dad of the Year Award. The award recognises fathers in local communities from all over Australia who have been making a positive impact through their involvement in local sport.

Karen Smith a local parent and member of the club who nominated him said "Richard has worked without complaint to rebuild Blacktown City Swimming Club. It is once again one of the biggest clubs in the district. He’s hired coaches, fundraised, done the books and looked after all the finances. Many, many hours of hard volunteer work. At the same time he has also represented the sport of swimming as the president of the the Metro South West swimming area. This has also taken hours of his time”.

After receiving his award and befitting his nature Richard was modest in accepting the award. 

"It is a great honour to be selected as this year’s Philips Community Sports Dad of the Year.  I am very grateful that members of my club felt strong enough that my contribution deserved nomination. Seeing the kids smiling and having fun is the biggest reward for any volunteer.  When you see someone as young as 3 jumping in and having a go to swim 12 metres, its all the motivation you need! I always enjoy at the start of each year the kids come in and tell me how well they went at their school carnivals and for new kids just being able to participate at a school swimming carnival is such a big achievement. It really makes you feel very proud”.

Richard who has been a part of the rebuilding of the local club for over 4 years added “We work very closely with Blacktown Aquatic Centre and Blacktown City Council and without their support the club could not survive.  Blacktown Aquatic Centre has some of the best facilities in the State and our swimmers are very fortunate to have these facilities to train and pursue their goals”.

Richard’s son Matthew who is 15 years old and a top 10 national swimmer went onto say "My Dad gets up 5 days a week at 4am to drive me to training, he then goes to work all day and is then back again at our swimming club every night and on the weekends to help run events and carnivals. He is a legend”.

Richard’s prize was a $5,000 rebel sports voucher which he will donate to the club. "I advised the committee at our recent meeting of our success and there were lots of screams of enjoyment.  We have many ideas in respect to equipment, gifts for raffles which are very valuable fund raisers and gifts for our annual presentation day"

Finally, Richard shared some encouragement to all community volunteers “Keep up the great work because without you our kids may not have the opportunity to participate, compete and pursue their passion and thank you Philips for getting behind such a wonderful award”. 

2017 Winner

Richard Galea - donated $5,000 voucher to Blacktown City Swimming Club



We sat down with Richard and his family to ask then some questions about his win;

How do you feel about being the 2017 Philips Community Sports Dad of the Year winner?
It is a great honour to be selected as this year’s Philips Community Sports Dad of the Year.  I was completed surprised when I heard as I knew nothing about the award.  I am very grateful that members of my Club felt strong enough that my contribution deserved nomination.

Tell us about Blacktown City Swimming Club and the local community?
BCSC was established in 1961 and is one of the oldest swim Clubs in NSW.  We provide swimming coaching for kids of all ages.  Our minimum requirement is that the kids can at least swim 25m freestyle and 25m backstroke, otherwise we refer them to the Council Learn to Swim program.  Our top level swimmers compete at National level and this year travelled to Adelaide in January to compete in the Australian Open Water Championships and then Brisbane in April for National Age Pool Championships.  These kids are great role models for the younger kids at our very social Friday night Club races.

BCSC works very closely with businesses in the local community who support the Club. Our sponsors Steggles, Woodcroft Meats, Aqua Shop, Bocini are great supporters of the Club.  While all of these sponsors make life a little easier we would welcome and other business that would like to be involved.

Finally, we work very closely with Blacktown Aquatic Centre and Blacktown City Council who without their support the Club could not survive.  Blacktown Aquatic Centre has some of the best facilities in the State and our swimmers are very fortunate to have these facilities to train and pursue their goals.
    
What motivates you being part of the local sports community?
The Club holds races most Friday nights all year round.  Seeing the kids smiling and having fun is the biggest reward for any volunteer.  When you see someone as young as 3 jumping in and having a go to swim 12 metres is all the motivation you need.  They will tell you how well they swam.  At the start of each year the kids come in and tell me how they went at their school carnival.  For new members, just being able to participate at a school carnival is a big achievement.  Then they say with the help of the Club and our coaches they made zone, you feel very proud.

Are there any future Olympians swimming at the Centre?
I don’t think there is a child in Australia that swims that doesn’t dream of one day making the Olympics.  We have very young swimmers with the average age of our swimmers being 11 whereas the average age of a swimmer of the Australian Dolphin team is approx.. 22yrs.  So we try and keep things in perspective and not place pressure on the kids.  The worse thing you can do as a volunteer or parent is place pressure on the kids.  Let them enjoy their youth. 

With our older more serious swimmers, the Head Coach set milestones at the start of each season, i.e. Summer and Winter for the kids with the ultimate being nationals.

With all of that said, my son Matthew who is 15 finished 10th in Australia at the Australian Age Championship earlier this year.  His goal for this summer is to improve on that result and qualify for the Australian Open Championships, which double as Commonwealth Games Trial.  The experience would be tremendous to compete at that level at just 16yrs.

Any words for all the other dads out there in Australia that help their local sports communities?
I am sure that there were many nominations and any one of those could have won this award.  Keep up the great work because without you our kids may not have the opportunity to participate, compete and pursue their passion.  You are truly valued members of your local community. 

I’m sure the club is excited to be receiving the $5000 Rebel Sports Voucher.  What do you think the money will be spent on? 
I advised the Committee at our recent monthly meeting of our success and there were lots of screams of enjoyment.  We have many ideas in respect to equipment, gifts for raffles which are very valuable fund raisers and gifts for our annual presentation day.  We won’t rush into anything and think things through to ensure we get the best value for our prize. 

What are you going to be doing on Father's Day and what would you like as a gift?
I will most likely be at the pool at 6am for my sons training before going home and having breakfast with the family.  As the summer calendar is very busy with various swimming events, I will probably try and get the garden in order as the trees are well and overdue for a trim.

Richard went on to thank the following people;

  • Philips as the major sponsor in supporting volunteers.  While sport can’t survive without parent sponsors, Clubs can’t survive without the support of big business. So for Philips to put back into the community is fantastic;
  • My wife and children who support me when I am away from home so much.  Often I am asked how Matthew swam at a meet and as I have been volunteering all day I have no idea.  We catch up in the car going home;
  • Everyone who nominated me.  Without your support, I would not have won and the Club would have had to raise $5,000 more;
  • My employer Westpac Banking Group for providing me with the flexibility to balance my career and passion of volunteering; and
  • To all of the volunteer dads, congratulations on your great work, keep it up and enjoy Father’s Day

How do you feel about your husband winning this years Philips Community Sports Dad of the Year?
I am absolutely thrilled and humbled by all the families at BCSC who nominated my husband and my best friend Richard for the Community Sports Dad of the Year Award 2017. When I found out on the phone I cried with happy tears and then after getting off the phone, I may have even done the happy dance around the house with my eldest daughter Cassandra , I was so excited for Richard and our swimming Club. Richard has given up pretty much every weekend volunteering over the last 4 years with helping to rebuild the Blacktown City Swimming Club. When I rang Richard to tell him what everyone at the club had done and that he had won as he wasn't even aware he had been nominated, Richard was so overwhelmed that all the families at BCSC had thought of him and taken the time to nominate him for this amazing award, the next thing to come out of his mouth was WOW, we get to spend a $5000 Rebel Voucher on all the Kids and families at Blacktown City Swimming Club. This award in my eyes could not have gone to a more deserving man, Richard you are my Hero. - Samantha

What makes your Dad so special?
My Dad will go out of his way to do or help anyone in the sport of swimming, he has been an inspiration to me with his kind, caring attitude and willingness to promote the BCSC Club within the Sport of Swimming. Growing up he has been my Role Model that I aspire to just be like. - Cassandra, 20yrs

My Dad gets up 5 days a week at 4am to drive me to training, he then goes to work all day and is then back again at our swimming club every night and on the weekends to help run events and carnivals. He is a legend. - Matthew, 15yrs

He loves me and buys me things and because he is bald if he was a swimmer he wouldn't need to wear a swimming cap. - Olivia, 7yrs

Sports Dad of the Year 2017
 
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