Guest blogger David Brown has given us an insight into what it is like to be a Coordinator at the National Speed Championships. Here he shares his experiences of the weekend…

My name’s David and I’m the 2012/13 Championships Coordinator for the British Universities’ Life Saving Clubs’ Association (BULSCA). I recently travelled down from St Andrews to the RLSS UK National Speed Championships, in Sheffield and I wanted to share my experience with you all.

A couple of years ago a friend and I competed at Speeds and had a lot of fun. However, this time I experienced the other side of the event; I was shadowing the organisers, with the aim of picking up ideas for the BULSCA Student National Championships the following weekend.

Arriving bright and early on Saturday morning, I set about learning what I could about running such a big event and very quickly picked up some great tips, one point was the need for the organiser to jump in and help out where needed. Manpower, or lack thereof, is a big issue for large competitions to deal with, and extra hands are usually more than welcome.

The next task was making sure the risk assessment was being followed and collecting t-shirt orders from the officials. Once that was done I spent some time at the competitor liaison desk where any issues from competitors or team managers could be dealt with. Then most of the day was spent helping out the equipment team, and in the process gaining a new found respect for the amount of work that goes into setting up for each event. There’s a lot of equipment to be moved and put in the correct locations, including hauling manikins around (which I did a lot of) which is tiring work!

The rope throw was the last event on the Saturday, and I ended up slotting in to fill a vacant timekeeping space. On a personal level this is one of my best events, so it was great to be able to watch the fastest line throwers ply their trade. The best moment, and my highlight of the weekend, was the final heat of the men’s open category, in which I got a front row seat as a new UK record (and unofficial world record) of 8.80 seconds was set. It was amazing to watch, and something I’ll remember for a long time.

Sunday saw more of the same and I again spent much of the day pulling manikins up and down the pool, and at one point even getting into the pool to help with reset for 100m tow with fins.

The weekend ended with the spectacle of the medley relay, and then it was all hands on deck to get everything packed up; there are a lot of jobs to be done!

I really enjoyed my second trip to the Speeds, and learnt a lot about the amount of work that goes into organising, and running, a large-scale lifesaving competition. I’ve been competing for years, but until now I had never really appreciated just what goes into creating a successful event. I fully intend to return next year; whether it’s as a competitor or to help out remains to be seen, but hopefully I’ll see some of you there.