Athlete Profile: Leonie Cooil
Home town / Village: Foxdale, Isle of Man
Occupation: Secondary School Teacher
Sport: Swimming (Sports Director for CGA IOM).
CGA IOM Chef de Mission - Gold Coast 2018
Commonwealth Games Achievements:
Isle of Man 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games
Swimming Team Manager
Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games
Swimming Team Manager
Samoa 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games
Swimming Team Manager / Team Leader
When did you first represent Team Isle of Man at a Commonwealth Games?
My first experiences with Team Isle of Man was being appointed Swimming Team Manager for the 2011 Isle of Man Commonwealth Youth Games. This progressed to Swimming TM for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Samoa 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games and I was also Team Leader at the Samoa Games.
After being appointed as Chef de Mission for Team Isle of Man ahead of the eagerly anticipated Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, I am very excited and honoured to have been appointed in this position for the IOM team. The Isle of Man has so many talented athletes in a range of sports and I am looking forward to working with them, their coaches, team managers and our medical support staff over the next 2 years as we prepare for the 2018 Games. We will continue to represent the Island on the International stage and show the rest of the Commonwealth that we are a force to be reckoned with!
How did you first become involved with Swimming?
As a member of a well-known Manx swimming family, I have been involved in competitive sport from a young age. I joined Douglas swimming club from the age of 7, which progressed into representing the Isle of Man at the Island Games (Isle of Wight 1993, Gibraltar 1995, Jersey 1997 and Gotland 1999). After representing Manchester Metropolitan University Swimming team in the BUCS league I went on to pursue my teacher training at Leeds Metropolitan University. After completing my teacher training I worked in Derbyshire for 3 years before I came back to the island to work and began coaching swimming. I was then appointed swimming team manager for the 2011 Isle of Man Commonwealth Youth Games, the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Samoa 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games and was also Team Leader at the Samoa Games.
How does it feel to represent Team Isle of Man at a Commonwealth Games?
It is a brilliant feeling to be part of an international elite sporting event. With the Commonwealth Games being the biggest international multi-sport event where the Isle of Man is allowed to compete as an independent state, it makes me very proud to support an excellent team of athletes who are seen as a force amongst the larger countries. It is fascinating to see the Games image evolve, with regard to professionalism. We are now seeing a change amongst all sports with regard to the athletes and officials attitude, the demand to achieve very high standards, and the intensity of training preparation leading up to the games.
What has been your favourite sporting moment whilst involved with Team Isle of Man?
Seeing Grant Halsall win two silver medals and one bronze in the swimming at the 2011 Youth Games! Especially as it was in front of a home crowd and the atmosphere was electric!
It is also great to see all the athletes achieve their individual personal bests. Knowing they are continually working every day to improve, it is very promising for the Isle of Man.
What has been your ultimate achievement in sport?
My first ever race at the Isle of Wight Island Games in 1993, where I won a silver medal is considered my greatest personal achievement.
As a coach, however, it was brilliant to see that all 4 swimmers who competed at the 2011 Youth Games went on to compete at the 2014 Games in Glasgow, and they were joined by 3 more! All performed brilliantly and were a credit to the IOM.
What would be your advice for a young aspiring athlete aiming to represent CGA IOM?
Listen to your coach!
Don’t make excuses, take responsibility for your own progress.
Learn from your mistakes
You always have to strive to do your best in every competition!
Where do you see yourself in the future? What aims do you have?
I am very much looking forward to being Chef de Mission for Team Isle of Man at Gold Coast 2018, and it is excellent to see our athletes working very hard to achieve their standards! It promises to be an exciting games and I would like to be a part of Team Isle of Man for future Commonwealth Games. I am also an accredited advisor for UKAD, so this also expands the opportunities available to me within the sports industry on the Isle of Man.