2012 hopefuls graduate from Apprenticeship programme

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22 Jan 2011

Britain’s aquatics athletes, many with dreams of medals in 2012, have graduate from their Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE).

In total, 102 athletes from the world of swimming, diving, water polo and synchronised swimming graduated from their unique apprenticeship.

These include British Disability Swimming athletes Eleni Papadopoulos (City of Manchester Aquatics) and Louise Watkin (City of Salford SC), both of whom competed at the IPC World Championships in the latter half of last year and where Watkin clinched a gold medal ahead of Paralympic legend Natalie Du Toit.

As part of the AASE programme, all athletes are required to undertake qualifications of an academic and vocational nature, with the aim that it will help them gain employment following their sporting career.

Watkin has said that after swimming she wants to go to university although she admits she’s “not sure what to study”. And the qualifications will also come in handy for British record holder Papadopoulos because she wants to be involved in “something to do with history” once she finishes her swimming career.

Michelle Shillabeer, the ASA’s Apprenticeship Manager, said: “We are excited that a number of our apprentices are already well on the way to London 2012 and are delighted many more have been able to stay involved in the sport they love, as well as building for a future outside career.”

Advanced Apprentice of the Year

The graduation ceremony, which was held at Colwick Hall in Nottingham and hosted by bronze Olympic medallist and BBC commentator Steve Parry, also saw the Advanced Apprentice of the Year crowned for the five disciplines. The winners were:

“It was great. I really wasn’t expecting to get the award so it was a nice surprise," said Adam John.

“I put in a lot of hard work, met the deadlines and went through some tough times last year trying to get over Athlete Immune Depression which stopped me swimming a lot.”

While Watkin added: “It was great to win the award for top Apprentice especially given the other athletes that took part. It‘s a reward for all the hard work I put in over the past two years.

“Being part of AASE has been a really good opportunity to develop my skills both in and out of the water. I have been able to use things such as the nutrition classes and apply them to improve my training and recovery time.”


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