DAVE Evitts not only created one of the top swimming clubs in the country in a golden age for Bolton but he is now also helping Great Britain’s paralympic swimmers achieve success.

Born in Worsley 57 years ago, Dave got into swimming early through his father, Brian, also a coach. “My earliest memory, though, is of going to Burnden Park with my dad to see the Wanderers on a dads’ and lads’ ticket,” he recalled. “I was about seven and I’ve followed the Wanderers ever since.”

Young Dave was an excellent swimmer. He trained at a Manchester club and by the age of 12 was winning national championships in butterfly. “But by the time I was 14, I wasn’t training as hard and I was more interested in girls,” he laughed.

He attended Walkden High School and, apart from swimming, his main interest was in joining the police. So, at 17, he became a cadet in Greater Manchester Police “at a time when the Chief Constable was desperate to beat The Met police at swimming,” said Dave. “In fact, he recruited four of us who were top swimmers and we went to London and absolutely battered The Met team! And, yes, he was quite pleased.”

After four years in the police, however, Dave felt it wasn’t for him and left. He got a job as a swimming pool attendant in Swinton and also began coaching there. He later joined the staff at Horwich Pool where one of the pool attendants was comedian and presenter Paddy McGuinness.

Dave had already begun establishing his coaching reputation and, after seven years, he joined Bolton Metro’s sports development department. Here, he was made wet sports’ co-ordinator and his coaching really took off.

Within a short space of time, he had set up a centre for swimming excellence as Bolton Metro Swimming Cub – this at a time when nearby Wigan Wasps had an awesome national reputation. Suddenly, Bolton was a swimming town in contention.

Dave’s natural enthusiasm, dedication, knowledge and ability to motivate young swimmers brought results. He negotiated pool time early in the morning and late into the evening for his young swimmers and within six months of setting up the club, the club had 130 youngsters.

Two of his swimmers – Rob Greenwood and Anthony Howard – were particularly successful and were selected for the British Olympic team.

He worked for Bolton Council for 27 years, 19 of those in sports development, and undoubtedly was the key player in creating an impressive national reputation for Bolton in the world of competitive swimming.

Sport England had already recognised his skills so when they wanted to launch a regional campaign to further develop swimming, Dave was a natural choice. The resulting project was very successful, but costly and when this finished Dave went to work for the Amateur Swimming Association, which became Swim England, as regional development officer.

He became a Commonwealth Games’ coach for England in 1998 and in 2000 travelled to Sydney as a support coach for the British Olympic team.

Dave was at a training camp in Tenerife when he got a call asking him to help spearhead paralympic swimming, working with podium athletes and swimmers with Olympic potential. This is his work today, and he loves it.

He travels around the world with the squads and was in Rio for the 2016 Paralympic Games. “They are such brilliant athletes – you don’t even think about their disabilities. They are lovely kids and just amazing,” he said.

Dave is a big fan of motivational skills and, if asked, will modestly put his successes down to that.

On a personal level, he pays tribute to his wife, Tara, for her unstinting support over the years. Away from swimming, he describes himself as a “massive Status Quo fan” and has seen the group live 34 times.

The couple have two children and Dave particularly values what he calls “chlorine-free time with my son Antony, watching the Wanderers together.”