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Swim England youngsters to take on international field in Nice

Twenty Swim England youngsters will receive expert coaching, a wide-ranging support network and competition from an international field when they take part in the FFN Golden Tour in Nice.

The annual meet in France gives some of the country’s top junior swimmers the chance to gain invaluable experience as they test themselves against the best from France and guests from around the world.

The 2020 edition takes place from 7-9 February and will feature 97 race entries from within the Swim England squad.

They will be led by head coach Amanda Booth, of Oxford, who will be supported by coaches Paul Lloyd (Maidenhead Marlins), Zoe Baker (Winchester City Penguins), Emma Collins-Barnes (Mount Kelly) and Greg Buck (Milton Keynes).

The swimmers will also be assisted by strength and conditioning expert Gemma Hathaway, nutritionist Jasmine Campbell, physiotherapist Lisa Sharratt, sport psychologist Hannah Stoyel and video analyst Luke Buxton.

Having access to such a variety of resources will help to get the swimmers accustomed to a professional lifestyle.

Richard Blackshaw, Swim England national talent officer, said: “Some of the swimmers will not have been away from their parents or away from their home coaches before, so it will be quite new in that sense.

“It’s important to try and affect swimmers’ daily training environments, so we try to get out there and help out, asking where guidance is needed so we can direct them to the right resources and all swimmers – whether they’re on the Talent Pathway or not – get the necessary information to help them succeed.

“This is about gaining experience, so when they get to the European Junior Championships and the levels after that, it’s not new to them.”

Getting a fast start

Six members of the squad – Adam Metcalf, Charlotte Rigg, Harry Noble, Pia Murray, Rachel Anderson and Samuel Osborne – competed at either the European Junior Championships or World Junior Championships in 2019.

The Nice meet will continue to prepare them and their team-mates for the competitive nature of global competitions.

One of the key goals for the event is ensuring swimmers produce consistent performances from heats to finals.

Richard said: “One of the great things about the meet is that the quality of the field in the A final will be extremely high, but there is also a B final and a junior final, so most swimmers will get the opportunity to have a second swim.

“We’ll see what they’re like in the morning. We’re trying to get them into the habit of swimming fast in the morning, because when you go to European Juniors or World Juniors, you can’t just have a heat swim and then swim fast in the final.

“You have to swim fast in both and we want that running through the lines leading up to the World Championships and Olympics as well.

“It’s helpful for them to know that they need to have their best performance in the heat and then replicate that in the final.”

Adapting to new coaches

Five swimming coaches have been selected to take part in UK Coaching's Performance Foundation Coach Support Programme

Each coach will take on a group of five swimmers, providing another valuable learning experience.

The Swim England coaches prepared for the meet by liaising with the respective home coaches, developing an understanding of each individual swimmer.

This also enables swimmers to adapt to new coaching methods, boosting their chances of success on international camps.

Richard added: “It is a really big thing, I think, for each swimmer to learn how to get the best out of their group coach, opening up communication before the meet and building that relationship.

“The group coach will communicate with the home coach and they will share information about the swimmers.

“We’re finding that swimmers now come to us with a more informed knowledge, so we’re trying to adapt our camps based on that.

“We have an open door policy from National Event Camps down, where any coach or support staff within clubs can come and see what we’re doing.”

Building towards 2024

As part of the swimmers’ continued development, they will work on key areas of the Optimal Athlete Development Framework.

The Framework, developed by British Swimming and the home nations, aims to develop the skills, characteristics and behaviours athletes need to succeed on the world stage.

Keep up with the live results here. 

Swim England squad for 2020 FFN Golden Tour – Nice

  • Adam Metcalf (Ellesmere College)
    – 50m Freestyle
    – 100m Freestyle
    – 50m Breaststroke
    – 50m Butterfly
    – 100m Butterfly
    – 200m Individual Medley
  • Alec White (Exeter City)
    – 50m Freestyle
    – 100m Freestyle
    – 50m Backstroke
    – 100m Backstroke
    – 50m Butterfly
    – 100m Butterfly
  • Angharad Evans (Ellesmere College)
    – 50m Breaststroke
    – 100m Breaststroke
    – 200m Breaststroke
  • Caroline Lewitt (Natare West London)
    – 100m Freestyle
    – 200m Freestyle
    – 400m Freestyle
    – 50m Backstroke
    – 100m Backstroke
    – 200m Backstroke
    – 200m Individual Medley
  • Charlotte Rigg (City of Birmingham)
    – 100m Freestyle
    – 50m Breaststroke
    – 100m Breaststroke
    – 200m Breaststroke
  • Harry Noble (Mount Kelly)
    – 50m Backstroke
    – 100m Backstroke
    – 200m Backstroke
    – 200m Individual Medley
  • Isabelle Goodwin (City of Leeds)
    – 100m Freestyle
    – 200m Freestyle
    – 100m Butterfly
    – 200m Butterfly
    – 200m Individual Medley
    –400m Individual Medley
  • James Hart (Plymouth)
    – 100m Freestyle
    – 200m Freestyle
    – 50m Butterfly
    – 100m Butterfly
    – 200m Butterfly
  • Jemima Hall (Wycombe District)
    – 50m Freestyle
    – 100m Freestyle
    – 200m Freestyle
    – 400m Freestyle
    – 100m Backstroke
  • Macy Lawrence (Mount Kelly)
    – 50m Freestyle
    – 100m Freestyle
    – 200m Freestyle
    – 50m Backstroke
    – 50m Butterfly
  • Michael Klimaszewski (Hatfield)
    – 100m Freestyle
    – 200m Freestyle
    – 400m Freestyle
    – 50m Butterfly
    – 100m Butterfly
    – 200m Butterfly
  • Pia Murray (Ellesmere College)
    – 50m Backstroke
    – 100m Backstroke
    – 200m Backstroke
    – 50m Butterfly
    – 100m Butterfly
  • Pietro Forconi (Portsmouth)
    – 200m Freestyle
    – 400m Freestyle
    – 200m Backstroke
    – 200m Individual Medley
  • Rachel Anderson (Millfield)
    – 50m Freestyle
    – 100m Backstroke
    – 200m Backstroke
    – 200m Butterfly
  • Robbie Jones (Mount Kelly)
    – 100m Backstroke
    – 200m Backstroke
    – 100m Butterfly
    – 200m Individual Medley
    – 400m Individual Medley
  • Samuel Osborne (City of Birmingham)
    – 50m Freestyle
    – 100m Freestyle
    – 200m Freestyle
    – 400m Freestyle
  • Sophia Wilson (Millfield)
    – 50m Backstroke
    – 100m Backstroke
    – 200m Backstroke
    – 100m Breaststroke
    – 200m Individual Medley
  • Sophie Maguire (Mid Sussex)
    – 50m Backstroke
    – 100m Backstroke
    – 200m Backstroke
    – 50m Butterfly
  • Thomas Watkin (Royal Wolverhampton)
    – 50m Freestyle
    – 100m Freestyle
    – 200m Freestyle
    – 400m Freestyle
    – 50m Butterfly
  • William Ellington (Millfield)
    – 50m Breaststroke
    –100m Breaststroke
    – 200m Breaststroke
    – 400m Freestyle
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