LONDON, England, June 21. BRITISH Swimming board member Alan Clarkson became the first person in history to receive a long service award from the British Olympic Association (BOA).
The 69-year-old former swimmer was presented with the inaugural award by HRH The Princess Royal at the BOA Annual General Meeting at the Royal College of Physicians in London today.
Clarkson, who today stepped down from his position as BOA Swimming Representative after a 21-year stint, was overwhelmed to receive the award in front of his peers.
"I am absolutely delighted and honored to receive the award," he said. "It came as a total surprise.
"I have had a very enjoyable run on the BOA committee and have some wonderful memories. With London 2012 just five years away I feel it's time to stand down and let someone more involved in swimming, who can provide the commitment and knowledge required to make the Games a success, take my place."
Clarkson, a former Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) President and a current Honorary Trustee, represented England at the 1958 Commonwealth Games and was a member of a Great Britain team in an international match against Australia.
He went on to support a series of British and English squads as team manager, accompanying athletes to three Commonwealth Games from 1970 to 1978, as well as the Olympic Games in 1976 and the World Championships in 1973, 1975 and 1978.
Clarkson is well regarded on the international swimming circuit and has enjoyed a variety of roles on committees for both the European (LEN) and international (FINA) swimming federations. The qualified accountant has been a member of the FINA Technical Open Water Committee since 1992, and was chair of the group until 2005. Prior to 1992 he was a member of the FINA Technical Swimming Committee for 20 years.
In Europe, Clarkson was a member of the Technical Swimming Committee from 1990 to 2004 and has been a member of the LEN Bureau since 1994.
Closer to home, Clarkson has been a member of York City Baths Swimming Club since 1951, where he has competed, coached and captained the team. He was awarded an OBE in HM The Queen's New Years Honors 2004 in recognition of his contribution to the sport of swimming.
His family is also heavily involved in swimming. His wife, a former Olympian, is an active swimming teacher, while his son is a former water polo player and his daughter is a former swimmer and current swimming teacher.
British Swimming Chief Executive David Sparkes was delighted to see Clarkson recognized and was keen to praise him for his unprecedented commitment to swimming,
"I can think of no one more deserving than Alan for this award," he said. "This is the first time the award has ever been made which goes to show the commitment he has shown. Alan has devoted his whole life to swimming, as a competitor, coach, team manager and administrator, and he continues to serve with distinction on the British Swimming Board.
"Having been fully involved with the BOA for 21 years as swimming's representative, and some of that time on the BOA Executive, his contribution to the Olympic movement and swimming is beyond parallel."
Special thanks to British Swimming for contributing this report.