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Work is well underway to prepare for Commonwealth Games 2022

There might be an Olympic Games and more than three years until the 2022 Commonwealth Games begins but planning is well underway. To mark Commonwealth Day 2019, Ian Whadcoat found out more.

It may be another 1,234 days until the opening ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 but work on preparing for a home Commonwealth Games has already begun for Swim England.

The dust had hardly settled on the 2018 Games on Australia’s Gold Coast when thoughts turned to Birmingham.

The Swim England Facilities Team are working closely with the Sandwell Aquatic Project Team to create the pool that will host the swimming and diving competitions.

And while the swimming and diving teams won’t be finalised until weeks before the Games begin, logistics around the training camps and who will lead the squads are already being discussed.

Grant Robins, Swim England Head of Talent for Swimming, had the honour of leading Team England’s athletes to the Commonwealth Games last year.

He has been tasked with finding a training base for the swimming team ahead of them joining the Games Village days before the competition begins on 27 July 2022.

“Part of the challenge is that Canada and Australia are already looking where to house their teams in 2022,” said Grant. “We will end up doing the same and have to find somewhere this year ready for three years down the road.

“As a motivational factor, an inspirational thing, will holding one in the country serve its purpose? There’s a possibility of going abroad but we know what we have to find and will explore all options.

Very exciting opportunity

“We’re creating a job description for the team leader and will appoint one in the near future. It’s such a privileged position to be in.

“If I was leading, I would want it to be the best Games ever in terms of medals won in every category. A home Games is a great opportunity to put swimming at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

“Because it’s a home Games, we can maximise it for everything possible, whether that’s for Learn to Swim, the talent pathway, performances centres etc.”

After the team leader is appointed, Grant said the Tokyo Olympic Games would become the focus before attention turns back to Birmingham.

“Once we have secured the team leader and holding camp, in terms of the Commonwealth Games team we can sit back for a while,” said Grant.

“The athletes will get the Olympics out of the way and then it will turn into the Commonwealth Games cycle. Next summer, we’ll be two years away and it will come round pretty quickly.”

Meanwhile, work is also taking place to ensure the Games leave a diving legacy.

The aim before and after the competition is to encourage more people to take up the sport in the region and a Commonwealth Games legacy officer will work closely with local communities to help create new clubs and diving opportunities.