STA is proud of its history and traditions that date back over 90 years; this includes a long line of Presidents and Member Awards, which all have a historical connection with the original founders of the STA in 1932. Our online Wall of Honour celebrates and remembers all of our current and past Presidents, as well as the holders of some of our most prestigious awards.
The STA President is responsible for leading the board; ensuring the smooth running of board meetings; promoting good governing among fellow charity trustees; providing support to the CEO and acting as a figurehead or spokesperson when required. The President also acts as Chairperson of the board, ensuring that matters being considered are of a strategic nature rather than an operational nature. They need to be aware of the longer-term plans of the charity and to ensure they align with the charity objectives.
Current President: Ali Beckman
On Ali’s appointment in October 2021, Dave Candler, STA’s CEO, said: “Ali has been a fantastic STA Trustee for three years now, and over the years she has supported STA in so many different ways – and what she doesn’t know about baby swimming, as a Director at Puddle Ducks, is not worth writing about! She is fully deserving of this new position and I’m really looking forward to working with Ali as our new STA President.”
The President is responsible for leading the IFSTA board and upholding good governance with the association’s member countries. The role also involves providing support to the CEO and acting as a figurehead or spokesperson when required. The President also acts as Chairperson of the board, ensuring that matters being considered align with the charity’s objectives.
Current President: Lesley Donovan
Leslie Donavan is President and CEO of the Starfish Aquatics Institute based in the USA. Leslie received a degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin/Madison and her law degree from Northwestern University School of Law. She practiced corporate and commercial law for many years.
Drowning prevention is her passion and Leslie has taken the SAI mission of ‘Saving Lives, One at a Time’ around the world over the past decade. In addition to helping create the pilot project for USA Swimming’s Make a Splash initiative, SAI has worked to create water safety programs that are accessible to everyone under Leslie’s leadership. Leslie’s efforts were recognized by Aquatics International in 2018 when she was named as a Power Award winner.
Henry Pike Award
This is named in honour of Sir Henry Pike who played a crucial role in the early days of the STA as Honorary Secretary, and is awarded to someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the STA over the last 12 months.
Current Holder: Emma Holden
The 2023 recipient of this award is Emma Holden. Emma has been incredibly supportive, positive and a true ambassador for the STA. More recently she also became a Baby Swimming diploma tutor, and is a welcome member of STA’s focus group. She has also committed so much of her time this year to create and deliver a host of free Aquatic Roleplay workshop webinars for STA.
Cross of Merit
This is awarded by STA’s Trustees to a member who has provided a long and fulfilled service to STA and to the world of swimming in general.
Current Holder: Dave Bushen (posthumously)
The 2023 award was awarded posthumously to Dave Bushen, and was received by Mel Davies who paid homage to her long-time business partner and friend on behalf of the family.
Ross Eagle Award
This award was created by STA last year for its 90th anniversary in celebration of Mr Ross Eagle, who is recognised as the actual founder of the Association. The award represents his pioneering vision and his dogged determination to improve swimming at a time when he faced such opposition, and is awarded to an individual who has gone above and beyond for swimming during their career – someone who has been determined in their efforts and made a real difference to grassroots swimming, be it in their local community or on a larger scale nationally or internationally.
Current Holder: Lisa Bousted
The 2023 recipient is Lisa Bousted, who has been teaching swimming for a quarter of a decade, is an STA tutor and Train the Tutor. Lisa has trained hundreds of teachers over the course of her career and continues to work tirelessly to support other swim schools. Lisa is also an amazing ambassador for STA and has travelled all over the world to make a difference in grassroots swimming – notably in China where she helped build links between China and the STA.