Malissa Lee

Volunteer at Swim England's National Winter Championships

Malissa Lee was one of two Loughborough students volunteering at Swim England's National Winter Championships. The National Winter Championships is the biggest English swimming meet of the winter months, with Britain’s top senior swimmers often involved.

Held at Ponds Forge Sheffield, 5-8th December 2019, the event offered a Christmas feast of fast swimming with the ASA’s historic and prestigious swimming trophies handed out to event winners. Two Loughborough Students were recruited for roles on the Field of play Team assisting the Field of Play Manager to ensure all activities and movement that happens on deck follows procedures and runs smoothly.

What was your role at the Winter Championships, and what did you do within your role at the event?

My role was Field of Play which means helping with the running of the competition. For the first two days, I helped with arranging the swimmers into a right order and leading the swimmers to their position. On the third day, I helped with coordinating a group of children to collect the personal belongings of the swimmers. Then on the fourth day, I was responsible for managing the medals for the prize winners.

What was your experience like volunteering whilst at the Swim England Winter Championships?

The event was well-organised. Even though the schedule was fully packed, every staff and volunteer knew their position well and run smoothly. I really appreciated the way they bring up the finalist in the evening session of each day. First, with the lights black out and call out each of their name with spotlight on them. Also, filming everything with professional shots and put it live in the call room. That allowed me to follow the progress from the backstage of the game. It was really a great experience to take part in a national scale competition.

How has being involved with this event helped you develop and progress (personally and professionally)?

I experienced a lot in that four days. Being the only Asian, I felt a little bit nervous at the beginning. However, later in the day I found the staff and other volunteers were really nice and willing to share. I have been more confident to take the initiative to communicate with them.

Besides, this is my first-time volunteering in a large scaled sport event outside my home country. I learnt about their style of working and organising an event. For example, the different check-in system that I used in previous experience and the work distribution among volunteer. That allowed me to realise the importance of briefing because not every volunteer are used to the same style of work. Also, when I looked at the leader walking around in the field to make sure everyone is fine, I think this is a very encouraging behaviour that I want to learn from.

What motivated you to take up this opportunity?

I took this opportunity because I want to open-up myself to the various sport culture in the UK. Back in Hong Kong, we do not have national competition but a similar kind of inter-school competition. I want to experience the atmosphere of a national event. Additionally, I want to meet more people to learn from their experience. For example, I met a really nice volunteer who had over 50 times volunteer experience and interesting life experience. We shared a lot during that four days and kept contact after this event.

Were there any personal highlights from the event, or something you enjoyed most about it?

Malissa with two colleagues at a Christmas dinner

I enjoyed the Christmas Dinner which Swim England organised for us the most. They booked the hotel restaurant and offered us a great night. As well as the delicious food, they prepared a pub quiz, funny decoration, and thank you card with our name on it. This was very thoughtful, and I really enjoyed their spirit as a team. felt so comfortable with the stay, and they arranged a high-quality hotel with three meals. That made me feel energetic as well as relaxed after a long day of volunteering.

Feeling inspired?

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