Wigan Mourns The Death Of Former Head Coach

It is with deep regret and sadness that we have learned of the sudden passing of former Head Coach Keith Bewley.

In 1972 Haydn Rigby who was the manager of Wigan International pool which was one of only 5 * 50m pools in the country, had set a side and coached a handful of the Borough’s elite young swimmers, soon after it was clear more was needed if this was going to work, later that year a young Bootle lad an ex Commonwealth swimmer called Keith Bewley was appointed as Head Coach by the council. At the time this was very much visionary as Keith was now one of only a handful of Professional Full-Time Swimming Coaches in the country.

From the very start Keith was to continue the vision, he demanded the very best from his swimmers and those around him. His swimmers worked hard for his praise knowing that whatever happened they were going to be told how it was from Keith, no gloss, if it was bad he would let you know in no uncertain terms, however once said that was it move on and make it right.

Keith was very much a  visionary never frighten to challenge authority if he believed it to be for the good of the sport and Wigan, and it was not long before Wigan WASPS (Wigan Armature Proficiency Swim Squad) became synonymous in the world of competitive swimming. From 1976 onwards the squad went from strength to strength, and the rest of the country playing catch up. Keith drove his swimmers and set his expectations high, “If this year you train Christmas Eve next year it will be Christmas Day”

It was 1980 and Moscow where Keith had his first Olympic success with four swimmers selected on to the British Team and he was rewarded with a role on the coaching staff. In 1984 he was credited with 7 swimmers on the Olympic Team and inall through his unprecedented career he was credit with 16 swimmers to Olympic level, and had developed Wigan to a formidable swimming force.

Keith had a fantastic memory for facts and would talk about swimming for hours willing to pass on his knowledge to young aspiring coaches. So many Coaches Swimmers and parent, including myself owe him so much. On behalf of everyone from Wigan “WELL DONE KEITH AND THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING. WHEREVER YOU ARE REST IN PEACE.”

Les France

Head Coach