Thousands of children go through the ASA’s club structure every year but only a handful ever progress to national squads. The ASA has a development pathway to ensure that once a kid’s talent is identified it is nurtured to help them reach their full potential.
As a sport it can take 10 years to produce a champion so in most cases a youngster will be 'spotted' within their club environment and nurtured within their club.
Clubs with swim21 accreditation (the ASA's quality mark) follow a Long Term Athlete Development plan to provide the template for every swimmer to achieve their full potential.
The ASA is developing Beacon Programmes to support the regional swim21 networks of clubs. The aim is for every sub-region to have a Performance club within its catchment where the clubs can access the athlete support services and workforce development programmes provided by a Beacon Programme.
Every Beacon Programme will provide regular access for a regionally selected group of swimmers to long course training, sports science support services and educational programmes as an enhancement to their club programmes.
The ASA also has a specific Talent Development programme that takes youngsters who have already shown promise and gives them access to quality coaching, athlete educational schemes and physiotherapy screening within a training camp environment that will prepare them for future international competition. More details on the development programme - England Talent Development Programme
Swimmers must achieve certain qualifying times for their age group at certain specified competitions to be selected onto the development programmes. They then receive varying support depending on their level but this will include training camps, anthropological measurements and lifestyle management. Swimmers who excel at the National level may progress to being selected by British Swimming to join their World Class development programme. The Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence Athletes can also access the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE), a NVQ programme that is aimed at developing professional sportsmen and women in a number of identified sport including Aquatics, Football, Rugby Union and Golf. It is aimed at young people between the ages of 16 and 19 years, AASE offers young people in all the aquatics discipline the chance to pursue their sport whilst continuing with their education.