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This annual award honours a graduate from Deakin University's Sport Management program who has contributed to the advancement of sport through their excellent managerial and/or administrative skills. The award is supported by the School of Management and Marketing and the Bowater Trust.
Gary Barclay, graduate of Deakin's Master of Sport Management, was appointed as the first General Manager of a Swimming Club in Australia in 2003.
Gary's nominator wrote:
"Gary was appointed as the first General Manager of a Swimming Club in Australia in 2003. Since taking on the position he has transformed the club in areas of governance, human resource management, financial management as well as business and swimming performance. The Nunawading Swimming Club is recognised as becoming the national benchmark in the way swimming clubs should be managed. The fact that this has occurred in one of Australia’s most important Olympic sports should not be underestimated.
Through Gary’s management initiatives, the Nunawading Swimming Club has been transformed from a local swimming club to a sporting organisation run as a professional business. Gary’s initiatives are providing Swimming Australia with a case study of where and how swimming clubs in Australia could be positioned in 10 to 20 years time. Along the way, Gary has consulted with many of the top clubs around Australia to assist them create a similar business model for their club. Gary has guided the club to streamline its governance structures, with the Board reduced from 13 to 5 members. The Board then introduced a new Swim Committee and Social & Fundraising Committee to coordinate day-to-day club activities.
The club has increased turnover from $1.5 million in 2002/03 to $2.12 million in 2005/06 and is on track for $2.3 million this year. Staff numbers have increased from 75 to more than 150 in the last two years. The club has moved from a ranking of 47th in Australia into the top 10 Clubs in Australia in three years. The swim school business caters for nearly 4,000 children each week, up from 2,500 three years ago. There are more than 230 swimmers who train four or more sessions each week to compete at State and National level. The club is now seen as a leader and innovator in Learn to swim and Competitive Swimming in Australia.
Gary’s commitment to the club and his position has made an impression on all involved. Swimmers are achieving at the highest level, coaches are working on State and National programs and staff are employed in a stable, nurturing environment".