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Para-swimming development day is hailed 'a success'

Para-swimmers have been given top tips on how improve their skills in and out of the pool during a ‘successful’ development day.

The event, staged at the Plymouth Life Centre, gave clubs, coaches and athletes the chance to take part in training workshops and learn more about the Swim England Para-swimming Talent Programme.

It was the second development day organised by the South West region and plans are already being put into place to host another in the near future.

Martin Lees, Swim England para-swimming development manager, said: “The development day was a huge success.

“It gave coaches and para-swimmers the opportunity to work together and enhance their knowledge and skill set.”

Former Paralympic swimmer David Hill, who made his Paralympic debut in Athens at the age of 15, gave advice and guidance to athletes and coaches at the event.

David, who works closely with the Swim England Para-swimming Talent team, said: I’m passionate to ensure that athletes who reside in the South West have access to the provision of high-quality coaching and resources without being farmed out of the area. 

“It’s a pleasure for me to draw upon my experience of 15 years in elite sport to support the athletes of the future.”

Events at the development day included a land training workshop to help improve athletes’ movement patterns, before swimmers went into the pool to test out what they had learned.

It was carried out by Steve Batchelor, the strength and conditioning lead for the Swim England Para-swimming Talent Programme, who said: “It was great to help the swimmers develop new movement skills and to see them improve over the course of the day.”

Swim England talent coach Carl Cooper added: The combination of land training workshops delivered by Steve, and the opportunity to put that into practice in a land training session and pool session with the athletes, helped to reinforce to coaches how land-based activity can enhance and support what the athlete does in the pool.”

Fantastic to see so many coaches and athletes

A para-swimmer in the pool at the South West development day in Plymouth

Sam Towers, the secretary of South West Para-swimming Committee, was impressed with the session.

She said: As a coach who has been involved in para-swimming, I cannot express enough how valuable, informative and helpful Steve Batchelor’s workshop was.”

Stephanie Gabb, who recently started as the Club Development Officer for the South West, spoke to clubs and para-swimmers during the day  – and said the event had helped strengthen para-swimming in the region.

She also helped with the swimmer ID session, where 13 new swimmers were identified for the Swim England Para-swimming Talent Programme and another four signed off to go on the classification waiting list. 

Stephanie said: “It was fantastic to see so many coaches and athletes here – there seems to be a real appetite from the clubs to learn more about para swimming.

“Hopefully they can take the knowledge they’ve learned back to their clubs to help develop para-swimming and encourage more para-swimmers into the talent pathway.”

Simone Cater, a coach at Dinnaton SC, also found the development day helpful.

She said: “It was very useful and I found the views from all useful to develop para-swimming at our club.”

Plans are now in place to stage another development day in the South West region and anyone interested in attending, or finding out more about para-swimming, should email the Swim England para-swimming team.

Meanwhile, there is still time to enter the South West Regional Para-championships on Saturday 9 March at Horfield Leisure Centre.

The closing date for entry is Friday 22 February.