The increasingly successful swimming program brewing at the University of Stirling in Scotland earned yet another sporting accolade, as coaches Ben Higson and Steven Tigg were recognized as Sports Scotland’s High Performance Coach of the Year award.
Just over a month after receiving Team Scotland’s Coach of the Year award, both Higson and Tigg earned the Sports Scotland honor, recognizing the many hours dedicated to helping squad members participate and progress in sport, both locally and internationally. Each coach received a trophy, certificate and £300 towards their professional or coaching development.
At just 30 years of age, Higson has an impressive portfolio of athletes under his tutelage at Stirling, including Olympic medalist Robbie Renwick, European Champion Ross Murdoch and European Open Water Champion Danielle Huskisson.
For Coach Tigg’s part, his most accomplished athlete to date is teen star Duncan Scott, the youngster for whom Tigg has provided guidance since Scott just 7 years old. Now 19, Scott wowed the world as an integral member of the Scottish squad’s silver medal-winning 4x200m freestyle relay in Rio. Scott was also a member of the men’s silver medal-winning 4x100m medley relay, a powerful foursome that included World Record Holder Adam Peaty. Scott turned heads yet again in Rio by making his very first Olympic final in the men’s 100m freestyle.
Of the Sports Scotland honor, Higson said, “I have been involved in swimming since the age of eight. I was a competitive swimmer up until 2008 and then I transitioned into coaching – I wanted to give something back to the sport that I got so much from myself.
“I’m really lucky to have Steve to work with, his attention to detail is second to none and that speaks volumes in the success that we have achieved. We definitely complement each other.”
Tigg concurs, stating, “I joined the local swimming club in Stirling about 25 years ago. When I gave up performance swimming, a local coach asked me if I would come and help out at his club and I began my coaching career from there.
“We have differences in our approach to coaching, but that’s great and it gives the athletes a real balanced programme. It’s amazing to be recognised at this year’s sportscotland awards. It’s as much for our support team as it is for us as individuals.”
From an athlete’s point of view, Scott says, “Both Ben and Steve have amazing qualities, they bounce off each other and it works really well. Their hard work stands out beyond anything else.
“When we leave our training session at the pool, they are in the office analysing, making videos and putting in the extra miles – I feel like that makes the difference. I would not be where I am today without Ben and Steve, I have to pay a massive thanks to them both and hope our good times together to continue.”