Head coaches selected for first online National Development Programme

Head coach selections for the Swim England National Development Programme have been confirmed.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the first phase of the programme has moved from poolside and will be conducted via Zoom on the weekend of the 3 and 4 October.

Six head coaches have been chosen to lead each of the six zonal camps.

The coaches will mentor and support their team of eight skills coaches, working collaboratively with specialist Sport Science and Medicine practitioners to offer a fantastic learning experience to more than 400 swimmers.

During UK Coaching Week 2020, Swim England would also like to thank all head coaches for their incredible support, adaptability and positivity during this time.

The head coaches that have been selected are:

  • Chris Alderton – Head Coach, Team Bath Aquae Sulis Performance Swimming Club
  • Greg Buck – Head Coach, City of Milton Keynes Swimming Club
  • Karen Pinniger – Head Youth Coach, City of Norwich Swimming Club
  • Mandy Bell – Head of Performance Swimming, Stockport Metro Swimming Club
  • Chris Reekie – Former Head Coach, Tynemouth Swimming Club
  • Joe Stanford – Swim Coach, Nova Centurion Swimming Club

Super opportunity for swimmers and coaches

The coaches are excited to be part of the programme and are looking forward to helping others.

City of Norwich Swimming Club coach Karen said: “I’m over the moon to be a part of the National Development Programme again.

“It’s great that the Swim England Talent Team have been able to make this happen under the current circumstances. This programme is always a super opportunity for swimmers and coaches to learn from one other.

“The added dimension of being online is going to expand on the skills we’ve developed in lockdown. It will also support the athletes in their return to the pool, focusing and reframing high standards of performance in the post lockdown training and racing environment.”

Team Bath Aquae Sulis Performance Swimming Club head coach Chris said he couldn’t wait to build connections and build towards success.

He said: “It will be a great privilege to work with and learn from such a high performing group of young athletes.

“I am excited to make new connections and learn about the goals these young athletes have and how we can help guide them.

“We are certainly in new territory delivering the programme online, but it is a great opportunity to focus on building the athletes’ knowledge in areas that are not always the most highlighted or highest priority.

“That was my focus with my own team during the lockdown period – building strong connections and all of us taking the opportunity to learn more about the fundamentals that will build our success in the future.”

Insight and learning

Former head coach of Tynemouth Swimming Club Chris described the concept of the online programme as ‘really positive’.

“I am happy to have been selected and excited to be involved with the National Development Programme again this year,” he added.

“The camp is going to be different to the previous camps I have worked on, but I am looking forward to working with the team of presenters and the swimmers on hopefully delivering an informative and beneficial day for everyone involved.

“The swimmers have been heavily impacted and had big disruptions to normal swim training and competitions due to Covid-19.

“It is really positive that swimmers, although having to do this online, are still getting the chance to do camps like these.”

Stockport Metro’s head of performance Mandy said: “Swim England has created an innovative way of bringing a large group of swimmers and coaches together for these camps.

“It will prove to be a successful strategy for navigating our current situation with Covid-19, while continuing to service the educational needs of our future performance swimmers.

“My aim is to facilitate a day of insight and learning for the swimmers. One they will enjoy and feel challenged.

“I look forward to working with a new and diverse group of swimmers and coaches. While it may be in a different format to what we are all used to, it will still prove to be a positive way of connecting and learning from one another.”

Continued success

Nova Centurion Swimming Club’s Joe is looking forward to helping the young athletes build for future success.

Having been involved for 10 years, the coach has seen the programme adapt, change, and develop over the years.

Joe said: “Going online will be a new experience for everyone.

“However, it’s a fantastic opportunity to explore the individual areas the athletes feel they need to develop in their swimming.

“I normally work with older athletes on a daily basis, so I am excited to see what this age of athlete feels they need to improve on both in and out of the water for continued success.”