NORWICH, U.K., February 24. THE swimming community in Norwich, England, is in mourning after the sudden death of the Penguins' former coach Steve Purchase at the age of 44. The sad story was first reported by The Norfolk Eastern Daily Press.
Mr Purchase, who coached the Penguins for 11 years after joining them from the City of Leeds club, died of a heart attack.
A junior English international swimmer, his competitive career was cut short by injury in 1980. It was then that he first moved into coaching, initially with Walsall Swimming Club, discovering Olympic medalist Nick Gillingham, before moving on to City of Leeds.
It was in 1991 that Mr Purchase, then 31, became Norwich Penguins' head coach, staying with the club until 2002. In his time with Penguins, he helped produce a string of international swimmers – among them Nick Baker, Ellie Comer, Kerry Jiggins, Stuart Wells, Adam Woods, Louise Appleby and Alex Yaxley – as well as steering club teams to many national finals.
At the same time, he was involved in coaching the England international team and the Great Britain youth team at European junior championship level.
Interviewed soon after his arrival in Norwich, Mr Purchase summed up his coaching philosophy by saying: "You don't get anything for nothing. The more you put in, the more you get out. It's all down to a good attitude and basic hard work."
Fred Furniss, current City of Norwich swimming coach, said: "I had known Steve since the late 1970s. He was a very good coach – very methodical, a thinking coach. He always wanted the best for his swimmers and that was demonstrated by their results. He was very single-minded. This is a great loss to the profession."