Meet the Team
Get to know the AASE team members, find out more about their job roles and their career in sport.
Sarah Kirk - AASE Programme Leader
I have always been passionate about sport and fitness and started a career in the fitness industry from the age of 18. I worked as a fitness instructor teaching various disciplines and as a personal trainer. I then worked in a local college delivering sport and fitness education to 16-18 year olds. During this time I became involved with strength and conditioning programmes for elite athletes and mentoring programmes.
I have been involved within the AASE programme in Aquatics for five years now and have loved every minute and feel very honored to have worked with some very talented athletes and colleagues during this time.
The AASE programme has changed in so many ways since I started and I very much look forward to seeing more great athletes come through the programme and be inspired, challenged even further in their pursuit to excellence.
“You have a personal limit; chances are it’s nowhere near where you think it is” (Tanya Streeter, World Record Free diver)
Lindsay Dunn - England Programmes Officer and AASE Technical Lead
I have been working as an England Programmes Officer for the ASA Talent Team since February 2014. Within this team I have a specific remit as the technical swimming lead for the AASE programme. Previously I worked for seven years as the Assistant Head Coach and the Head of Strength and Conditioning and Sport Science within the Plymouth College/ Plymouth Leander Swimming Club partnership. I swam myself at National level but later developed a passion for Open Water swimmingcompleting a solo swim across the English Channel at aged 16.
I am looking forward to working within the AASE team to support the technical development of the programme, which will hopefully in turn contribute to improved standards of high performance swimming and facilitate professional career pathways in aquatic sports.
Andrew Ellis - AASE Assessor and Co-ordinator
Following a Masters degree in Sports Science, I was a Sports Science lecturer at FE colleges and Coventry University for 20 years. I then became the Educational Officer at Coventry City FC where I ran the AASE programme before joining my current role with the Institute of Swimming in 2012.
I represented Wales and British Universities at Football plus Wales at semi-pro level. I played for Woking FC, Newport FC and spent a year playing in Australia before spending time coaching in the USA.
I have no major sporting ambitions myself but enjoy helping people understand the opportunities that are currently available in sport and also working with them to achieve their goals.
Harry Mytton - AASE Assessor and Co-ordinator
I develop the AASE programme particularly the workshops and learning resources. I am currently the assessor for the swimmers in the North West and South West. I graduated from Sheffield Hallam University four years ago with a degree in Sports and Exercise Science and have been working on the AASE programme for two years.
Although I have never competed in any of the aquatic disciplines I used to play rugby to a good level. My sport nowadays is cycling. My main interest is strength and conditioning and I am currently working towards my UKSCA accreditation.
I really enjoy working with young athletes and playing a part in their development as both an athlete and a person.
Norman Leighton - AASE Assessor and Water Polo Talent Development Officer
I was a county and regional Swimming champion and part time polo player with Border City Water Polo club. Moving to Rotherham, I joined Sheffield Dolphins and later Nova Centurion to enable me to compete in National League. I was a member of GBR squad before turning to coaching at Rotherham Metro SC.
In my ‘day’ job I was a Leisure Manager for 25 years before joining the ASA in 2006 as a Talent Development Officer and AASE Assessor.
I find my job most rewarding when working with and observing the young players progress and mature into the best they can be.
"Pain is only the weakness leaving the body."
Connie Montgomery - AASE Assessor and Diving Talent Development Officer
I started diving at a summer camp in Halifax when I was 7 and had a competitive diving career with the City of Leeds Diving Club for 12 years. I completed the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) alongside my A levels and I hold a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science from the University of Leeds. As a student, I also qualified as a lifeguard, sports masseur, and swimming and diving coach and was responsible for Learn-to-Dive lessons and selecting and coaching part of a TID Squad at Leeds pool.
In 2012 I joined the ASA as Talent Development Officer and have worked closely with British Diving to deliver a seamless Junior Development pathway. The other part of my role includes delivery of AASE as a tutor assessor, mainly working with the divers on the programme.
“If there is a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.”
Karen Thorpe - AASE Assessor and Synchro Talent Development Officer
I was an international synchronised swimmer for 10 years and Captain of the GB senior team at many World and European championships, competing in both team and duet events. I am a Level 3 Synchro coach and have been coaching for nearly 20 years.
I started working for the ASA in 2006 as the National Development Officer for Synchro and have worked as part of the AASE team since 2008. My job role has changed significantly over the years and my ambitions within my working life are to help develop a sustainable programme for Synchro at club and national level and to grow and develop participation in the sport whether it be at elite competitive level or health, social and recreational level.
Darren Sims - AASE Assessor
I have been working in education and skills with apprenticeships since 2008 and specifically with the Institute of Swimming since 2012. My background in aquatics started initially as a swimmer, and then I pursued a career as a teacher and then a coach. I currently hold a voluntary position on the coaching team at Chichester Cormorants, West Sussex.
My competitive aquatic sporting career spans more than 20 years, with appearances in National league still continuing into 2014. During my earlier years competing annually in senior county, regional and national competitions.
"If you fail to prepare, you're prepared to fail." (Mark Spitz)
Helen Harris - AASE Assessor
I train for and compete in Masters swimming, both in the pool and open water, and I am a Level 3 Swimming Coach. I was originally a Veterinary Nurse before I had my son (now aged 22). I then changed direction and studied for my degree is in Sports Science, followed by a PGCE in Physical Education. I moved from teaching PE to lecturing at an FE college on the Sport & Exercise Science Programme several years ago.
I started working at the Institute of Swimming (IOS) in June 2014 as an AASE Trainer/Assessor covering the South Region. I work within a great team on the programme where we assist and support the apprentices in achieving their qualification.
Karley Cressor - AASE Assessor
After graduating from Leeds Metropolitan University in 2009 I began working at Darlington College in the Sport and Uniformed Service Department. During this time I worked across BTEC programmes and also delivered the AASE programme at Middlesbrough Football Club. I have been working at the Institute of Swimming (IOS) since July 2014.
I swam competitively up until the age of 16, swimming for City of Leicester, Market Harborough and Kettering. I now coach at Darlington Swimming Club, and have done since 2011 and play Netball for a local team.
My sporting ambition is to complete a full Olympic distance Triathlon.
"Never give up."
Rachel Weston - AASE Apprentices Administrator
I have been working in Apprenticeships Administration (including AASE) since I started at the organisation in May 2012. My role within AASE includes dealing with enquiries, sending out and collating information regarding Inductions, off-shore camps and workshops. I have also spent time working at another sporting body after graduating from Loughborough University (studying Sports Science with Management).
My interests include being a season ticket holder at Leicester Tigers and keeping fit (Indoor Cycling, Boot Camp, Swimming and Running!)
"Fail to prepare, prepare to fail."