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Three aquatics coaches selected for UK Sport Female Leadership Programme

Swim England News

Three of Britain’s aquatics coaches have been selected for the second edition of UK Sport’s ground-breaking female coaches leadership programme.

The programme is part of a wider plan to more than double representation in the Olympic and Paralympic high-performance community in the three years between Tokyo and Paris.

It is also designed to help some of the brightest female coaching talent in the UK hone their skills as well as aiming to position elite Olympic and Paralympic coaching as a viable career path for women.

Emma Collings-Barnes, director of swimming at Mount Kelly, and Zoe Baker, head of performance of Winchester City Penguins will be part of the 24-strong cohort.

Additionally, Edinburgh Diving Club’s performance coach Jen Leeming has graduated from the 2021 edition and will now become one of the programme’s five coach leaders.

The same podium coach role was held previously in 2021 by diving and swimming stalwarts Jane Figuerido and Mel Marshall.

‘Continue to develop as a coach’

Baker, who currently coaches World Junior Championship medallist Kayla Van Der Merwe, said: “I’m really excited about being part of this programme, which I feel will develop me further as a high-performance coach.

“This opportunity will allow me to gain insight into the roles and responsibilities of a podium coach and learn from those who operate at the highest level.”

“My hopes for 2022 are to continue to develop as a coach domestically and internationally. I would like to enable my athletes to achieve success nationally, on British teams and at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.”

‘Develop my mindset and skills’

Collings-Barnes, who previously coached two-time Olympic champion James Guy, commented: “It’s a pleasure and a privilege to be selected on to this programme.

“I hope the programme can help further develop my mindset and skills in a performance environment, and I am thrilled to be surrounded by successful professionals to assist me with this.”

Speaking on her progression within the programme, Leeming said: “The programme taught me to consider my future, where I wanted to go and how to get there.

“It taught me to consider even the small, everyday steps and how they work towards the bigger picture.

“Now I have been asked to be a Podium Coach on the programme, I hope to be able to support and challenge my mentees with their own big picture. I look forward to both sharing my experiences and learning from their own.”

The new set of coaches have been identified by UK Sport as having the potential to coach at the summer and winter Games in Paris 2024 and Milan-Cortina 2026 and beyond.