Swim England

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Swim England appoint inaugural members to its new Oversight Committee

Swim England has appointed eight members to its brand new Oversight Committee.

The committee will report directly to the Swim England Board and will manage and oversee the national governing body’s safeguarding, welfare and culture plan – Heart of Aquatics.

Independent experts as well as athlete, judicial and culture representatives will sit on the committee alongside members of the organisation.

It will be led by Andrea Chilton, an independent Chair, who will initially hold the position for a four-year term.

The group will provide direction to the evolution of the Heart of Aquatics plan as Swim England learns more from its members and stakeholders.

The plan will then be delivered by an implementation team that will be led by Swim England’s Senior Leadership Team and heads of service from across the organisation.

You can find out more about each member of the new Oversight Committee below.

Andrea Chilton – Chair of the Committee

Andrea is currently the Chief Executive and Senior Safeguarding Lead at the English Schools’ Football Association (ESFA), a role she has held since 2015. At the national governing body, she implemented its ‘Safeguarding Operating Standard’ plan and reformed its strategic plan to help increase the ESFA’s participation numbers.

Andrea is a true sector expert, excelling in governance, strategic planning and has a proven track record of organisational development.

She also has an extensive career in further education where she was a governor at South Staffordshire and the deputy Chief Executive at New College Nottingham.

Neil Booth – Swim England Board Representative

Neil has been involved as a member of his club for more than 25 years and successfully carried out various officer roles at the club.

He was a founding member of the management board for the North West Region and since his retirement in 2007 – from a long career in the police service – he has evolved into a ‘full time’ volunteer within the sport.

Neil is a British Swimming Referee and is currently involved in developing material and delivering training for swimming technical officials.

Dr Karen Gray – Culture Representative

Karen is an accomplished organisational development practitioner and specialist culture consultant with more than 20 years of experience.

She has supported leaders in operational roles to develop their organisations across a number of sectors, including high performance sport.

Karen has a Doctorate in organisational culture analysis from Tavistock & Portman and has worked with the likes of the Premier League and UK Sport in developing their culture.

With a coaching mind-set, she uses her built-in passion to support people and organisations to reach their full potential.

James Gyselynck – Judicial Representative

James is a senior lawyer at UK Sport having previously worked at leading London law firm Clyde & Co for 10 years.

He is well respected for his understanding and knowledge of regulatory and disciplinary frameworks, both in the sports world and more broadly. His experience in governance, project management and strategy allows him to use his expertise to serve the sporting community.

As the judicial representative he’ll use his judgement and legal knowledge to support the committee’s decisions.

James Hollis – Athlete Representative

Paralympian, world record holder and Commonwealth medallist James Hollis is one of two athlete representatives on the committee.

Hollis has recently retired from his 15-year swimming career which was highlighted by representing Great Britain at London’s Paralympic Games in 2012 and recently coming out of retirement to win bronze at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Away from the pool, James also has a career as a Performance Lifestyle Practitioner at the English Institute of Sport, a mentor at Loughborough University and has held a number of coaching roles.

His work in supporting athletes gives him the ideal platform to work with the committee to support the people within aquatics.

Lois Jarvis – Swim England Leadership Team representative

Lois Jarvis joins the committee as the representative of Swim England’s Leadership Team.

Lois is currently Swim England’s Director of Legal and has more than 15 years of experience within legal positions in sport.

Throughout her career she has held positions both in-house and within private practice across a range of different sports. Alongside her role at Swim England, Lois is currently Independent Non-Executive Director at British Ice Skating.

She joined Swim England in February 2022 where she carries out essential tasks related to the national governing body’s business operations.

Cassandra Patten – Athlete representative

A winner of a bronze medal in the 10km Open Water Marathon at the Beijing Olympic Games, Cassandra has always had a passion for the water.

She has a deep understanding of the sport, not just through her years as a competitive swimmer but through her distinguished coaching career.

Cassandra has worked with multiple sports charities, including the Dame Kelly Holmes trust and the Youth Sports Trust where she works with organisations and schools to help use sport as a catalyst for positive change.

Currently, she has her own coaching company – Wavecrest – where she delivers training sessions to swimmers in the south-west and the Cotswald region.

She’s also previously held the position as Director of Swimming at Sevenoaks Swimming club and has a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education.

Joan Wheeler – Chair of the Sports Operations Committee

As Chair of Swim England’s Sports Operations Committee (SOC), Joan will represent the SOC on the Oversight Committee.

Joan was a competitive swimmer as a child and renewed her involvement in swimming when her children joined their local club.

For nine years, Joan was Club Chair before progressing to become a County Secretary, was a Regional Chair for eight years.

As a qualified swimming referee she continues to volunteer at competitions.  Although now retired, she is a qualified project manager and worked as a middle manager in a range of governance and policy development roles.

You can read Swim England’s full Heart of Aquatics plan here.