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New era dawns for British Development Swimming

A group of 28 swimmers from the British Swimming Development Programme, powered by British Gas, will travel to Serbia this summer for what will be the high priority of the year – the European Junior Championships.

And the event will also be the first major competition with Mark Perry at the helm following his appointment as British Swimming Development Coach which will run alongside his role as British Swimming Open Water Coach.

The European Junior Championships is still the priority event on the British Swimming development calendar, Perry said: “It is highly regarded within the international swimming community and we are judged by performances at this event.”

Perry is hoping to utilise his previous experience as a coach on deck to put his mark on the future of British Swimming at the Serbian event and beyond to 2016.

“Our primary aim is to facilitate the best possible development of talented young athletes while providing strong racing opportunities to give the perfect grounding for our next generation of elite athletes.

“The team is smaller than previous years but is brimming with quality and potential. We have a strong tradition at the event and we’ll be prepared as best we can. We can dictate our own form but we can’t control what the other nations are going to go.”

In advance of the competition there will be an orientation camp that will involve all coaches on the development programme.

The national camps will provide an opportunity, away from major events for all involved in the programme to gather and share best practice, ideas and background.

Many of them will be hosted here in Great Britain so more athletes and more coaches can be involved and developed.

“The camps will be based on a race–train-race philosophy”, explained Perry. “We’ll race on shore and analyse performances to identify areas for improvement. These will be addressed during a training camp before we then race again to see that improvements have been adopted.

“There will be sport science support at the camps and will work with the coaches to see how findings can be practically used.  Together they will work as a team to ensure continuity of the development of our athletes.

“A great deal of work is being done on starts and turns with our elite athletes and British Swimming is also introducing this at an earlier stage within athlete development.

“The world has moved on so much in these areas and we’ll be talking to coaches about extra resources they may require.”

Perry sees the biggest gains coming from the development of coaches within Britain.

“I’m a firm believer in coach education as being a key to delivering best possible long term results and this will be a focus of the programme. It is something I feel passionately about,” said Perry.

“In Britain we have some of the best coaches in the world and we need to make sure their knowledge and expertise is passed on to others as we continue to grow as a swimming nation.

“At the recent British Gas Swimming Championships we saw a marked improvement in this area and we’ll be asking some of the prominent coaches responsible to share tactics and training methods.
“You can educate one athlete and they will do a good job. But if you educate a coach they can educate a hundred athletes and the results speak for themselves."

There will also be a focus on parent education - something Perry says is an important part of the development triangle of athletes, coaches and parents.

"Parents are an integral part of the process”, he said. “We’ll be informing them regularly of programme developments as well as key components such as nutrition, and sports medicine.

“Our primary aim is to facilitate the best possible development of talented athletes whilst providing strong racing opportunities to give the perfect grounding for our next generation of elite athletes.”

Perry understands the importance of his programme for the future of British Swimming.

“We have to maximise the potential for athletes to travel along the British Swimming World Class Pathway and at the heart of the development role will be three components: to build strong relationships with coaches of athletes within Britain; to ensure the development progamme channels athletes into the World Class Pathway through the home nations and British swimming; and to ensure all elements, athlete, coach, parents, are involved in a complete approach to athlete development.

Clubs that flourish within the development of young, British athletes will be recognized and supported to continue the good work.

“The Athlete Pathway Club Recognition award has been designed to help bridge the gap between the junior and senior teams by recognising clubs that offer real development opportunities for athletes and place them within the pathway system.

“This came about after consultation with coaches and clubs, illustrating our commitment to the philosophy of listening to coaches to shape the future of British Swimming.”

Development of any athletes is about not only understanding them but also what the rest of the world are doing and where they are moving to.

“We are now looking at a lot of new ideas, exploring radical thinking and the targeting specific events within Britain as we look to the future of the programme.

"Whilst we are looking at developments in the UK, we are also analysing what is taking place across the globe so we can position ourselves at forefront of swimmer development.

“What we instill today, the work we undertake and the messages we provide out athletes will stay with them throughout their careers.”

The British Swimming Development team, powered by British Gas is:

Craig Benson Warrender
Myles Crouch-Anderson Northampton
Grant Halsall Plymouth Leander
Ieuan Lloyd City of Cardiff
Gareth Mills City of Leeds
Thomas Moss Stockport Metro
Joseph Patching Plymouth Leander
Joseph Parker Plymouth Leander
Matthew Parks City of Manchester
Adam Rowe Royal Wolverhampton
Felix Samuels Ealing
Sam Van De Schootbrugge Nova Centurian
Dan Wallace Warrender
Georgia Barton Gallica
Fiona Donnelly Nova Centurian
Jessica Fullalove City of Manchester
Jodie Hawksworth Derventio
Emily Jones Garioch
Phoebe Lenderyou City of Newcastle
Jessica Lloyd City of Manchester
Danielle Lowe Wirral Metro
Amelia Maughan MIllfield/British Gas ITC Bath
Siobhan-Marie O'Connor British Gas ITC Bath
Lauren Quigley City of Manchester
Molly Renshaw Derventio
Elena Sheridan Romford Town
Chloe Tutton City of Cardiff
Rachael Williamson Kingston upon Hull


European Champs 2016