TRURO - All Miranda Bates wanted to do when she took over the head coaching duties of the Truro Centurions was to give back.
She's done that in spades. And now she's being recognized for it. The Truro native who grew up as Miranda Elliott, was recently named Swim Nova Scotia's development coach of the year for her work with the Centurions program in the 2013-14 season.
"It's pretty awesome," Bates said. "It's nice to get recognized and I'm just humbled and surprised."
Her athletes, however, aren't in the least. They love having Bates lead them through training and urge them on during competitions.
"She cares a lot about us and she is really motivating," Anna Payson said.
Her teammate Laura Brown agreed.
"She's a really good coach and she's really nice."
Bates, and the six other winners of Swim Nova Scotia awards, will be formally presented with the honour next month at the Ken Dunn Memorial long course meet in Halifax.
Bates was nominated for the award and coaches from across the province voted on the winner.
Bates grew up as a swimmer in the club for 10 years. After finishing her competition days and leaving town for several years, she connected back with the organization upon her return to the Hubtown.
"I wanted to give back to something that gave so much to me as a child," she said. "I got to travel and meet people and it opened a whole world for me and I wanted to continue offering that to the community."
So she joined the staff as an assistant coach under Chris Roberts. But when Roberts moved away four years ago, Bates stepped up to take on the head-coaching role. At the time the Centurions were struggling to attract members and were operating out of Centennial Pool, which was unable to host any meets.
Bates oversaw the team's move to the Rath EastLink Community Centre, where the Centurions hosted the junior provincial championships in February. Enrollment has also increased and finishing results for the athletes have been on the rise. But Bates wasn't about to take any of the credit.
"It's nice the club is getting recognized for all the hard work it's putting in," she said. "The coaching staff, the executive, the parents and the athletes have all put in a lot of work and it looks like we're doing something right."
But Bates doesn't coach for accolades. He does it simply to help her swimmers grow and develop.
"A lot of kids who don't fine their niche in other sports come here and they flourish," Bates said. "It's great to see them gain confidence and grow within something they like and enjoy."
On Twitter: @tdnmatt