The former Olympic swimmer of the British workforce handed away “suddenly” on the age of 43.
Helen Smātas was a world-class aggressive swimmer and backstroke specialist who gained a bronze medal on the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur and silver medals on the World and European Championships.
After representing Great Britain on the 2000 Sydney Olympics, she determined to retire and turn out to be headteacher at Worsley Mesnes Community Primary School in Clifton Street, Wigan.
She has been described as “an inspiration to so many in the world of swimming” who was principally “the most amazing person”.
Alison Halliwell, chair of the faculty’s governing board, posted a press launch on Facebook: “It is with nice unhappiness and remorse that I’ve to announce the sudden dying of our beloved Principal Mrs Helen Smart.
After retiring from the sport, former Olympic swimmer Helen Smata has “suddenly” given up her 43-year-old age to turn out to be a head teacher.
Helen dives for her answer to the quickest time within the 200m backstroke heats on the XVI Commonwealth Games
“Our honest condolences exit to Helen’s household at this very troublesome time. I do know this information will come as a shock and trigger nice unhappiness to our neighborhood.
“I wish to reassure you that Worsley Mesnes School Board is working with the council and the college to make sure that our youngsters, employees and fogeys obtain the assist they want over the approaching weeks.
“Additional information/updates will be issued as they become available.”
Helen’s husband Craig Smart commented on the submission: “She liked the college, employees, youngsters and fogeys a lot.
“She was so proud to have achieved her aim of turning into a head trainer. She all the time instructed me she may by no means see herself at another college. He was Worsley Mesness by way of and thru!
“I keep in mind her saying final week that her aim was to make the college nice and he or she had the proper employees to attain that! I hope you all proceed to study like champions.
“Please learn from this and live your best life with no regrets, take lots of pictures, remember and smile like Helen always did!” Love to you all! X’
In addition to many profitable medals all through her career, Helen completed fifteenth within the 200m backstroke on the 2000 Olympics.
She was additionally a member of the Pemberton Old Wigan Band and was an integral a part of the Pemberton Old Wigan Band for over 30 years.
Some of Helen’s closest teammates within the pool moreover shared recollections of their “inspirational, dynamic, vivacious, kind, funny and kind” buddy, whom they affectionately known as DD.
Helen celebrates her victory within the ladies’ 200m backstroke, the place she broke the British file
Helen (proper) shares amusing with Australia’s Gianna Rooney after setting a model new Commonwealth file within the ladies’ 100m backstroke.
Helen pictured outdoors her school, Worsley Mesnes Community Primary School, the place she is head teacher
She swam on the 2000 Sydney Olympics beneath her youth title of Helen Don-Duncan.
Helen moreover acquired fairly a couple of medals all through her career
Rachel Ashcroft, who swam with Helen within the England Lancashire and Great Britain teams, mentioned she was fortunate to name Helen her buddy for 32 years.
“Helen was special, the kind of person you want your children to grow up to be,” she mentioned.
“I met her on the Everton Park Sports Center from the age of 11, I instantly appreciated her. I feel we bond over our barely uncommon and distinctive final names and naturally our love of swimming. I discovered her straightforward going, particularly once I was so nervous earlier than becoming a member of.
“Helena’s steely willpower and pure aggressive spirit have all the time impressed me. We have usually competed towards one another, however by some means it all the time felt like we have been competing with one another and serving to one another alongside the best way.
Her numerous British data, British titles, European, Commonwealth, World medals and attaining her Olympic dream have been the results of her self-discipline, dedication, dedication and self-belief.
Despite her success, she was all the time humble and balanced, all the time serving to others who had a nasty race or did not obtain what they wished as an alternative of specializing in herself. I do know she lifted me up a couple of occasions with bitter disappointment and made me snigger.
I’ve by no means heard a single unhealthy phrase about Helen and the way may it’s. She was all the time sort, thoughtful and took care of everybody, particularly me.
The finish of Helen’s swimming profession didn’t imply the top of her focus and energy.
Television interviews Helen and Katie Sexton after the race
Helen (far proper) arrives with different members of the Great Britain Swimming Team on the Gold Coast, Australia, for a pre-Olympic coaching camp.
From left to proper Sarah Price, Katie Sexton, Helen and Joanna Fargus earlier than the ladies’s 200m backstroke
Several different individuals posted on Facebook that Helen was “so caring” and “amazing”.
A selected particular person wrote: “Devastating news. I am grateful to have been taught by a great teacher and a beautiful soul.”
Tyldesley Swimming & Water Polo Club additionally paid tribute, saying: “Sad information over the weekend in regards to the sudden dying of Olympian Helen Smart. (*43*)
Helen was an inspiration to many within the swimming world. Our concepts exit to your whole Smart/DonDuncan family proper now.(*43*)
A spokesman for Pemberton Old Wigan Band mentioned: “We are all heartbroken and our love and ideas exit to Craig and the younger individuals.
With her enthusiasm and pleasure to take part, Helen was delighted because the group acquired the Section Two Northwest District title in 2022, which was achieved with a wonderful second place within the National Finals and promotion to Section One for the primary time within the group’s historical past. previously.
“Helena brought her champion spirit and inspiring teaching methods to every rehearsal and developed the next generation of players.”
Additional data has not been disclosed.