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Swim England looking to inspire next generation through Team England Futures

Swim England will look to utilise the Team England Futures programme in a bid to inspire the next generation of aquatics athletes.

The programme, which is run by Commonwealth Games England, SportsAid and supported by Sport England, will provide a selection of young athletes and support staff with the chance to experience Birmingham 2022 in unique ways.

They will take part in online workshops, gain amazing behind-the-scenes experiences and visit various athlete training and accommodation facilities.

Some of the inspirational ambassadors and Team England athletes will also be on hand to interact and share their wisdom and experiences.

One of which will be Olympic and Commonwealth silver medal-winning diver, Leon Taylor, who is the Lead Ambassador and Athlete Mentor for Team England Futures.

Leon, who has been Tom Daley’s idol throughout his career, has described this opportunity as a ‘fantastic experience’.

In a video for the programme, he said: “I had the honour of representing Team England at three Commonwealth Games – Kuala Lumpur, Manchester and Melbourne.

“They were all incredible experiences and times that I look back on very fondly.

“Kuala Lumpur holds special memories as it was the first senior medal that I’d won on an international stage and Manchester will always stand out as it gave me the opportunity to compete at a home Games.

“Winning a silver medal in front of a home crowd still gives me goosebumps to this day.

Unforgettable experience

“I’m extremely proud to be sharing my experiences through my role as Lead Ambassador and Athlete Mentor for Team England Futures.

“This programme will allow talented young athletes and aspiring support staff to go behind the scenes at Birmingham 2022.

“This will offer unique insight into a multi-sport, multi-games environment and everything that it entails.

“We want to help prepare the next generation of Team England athletes so that when the time comes to represent their country at the Commonwealth Games, they feel like they’ve had a head start.

“I can’t wait to meet the athletes and support staff in 2022 and I know Team England Futures will be a fantastic experience that they will not forget.”

The three Commonwealth sports – swimming, para-swimming and diving – will be the initial areas of focus, with potential opportunities also arising for artistic swimmers and water polo players to be selected.

Suzie Collins, Swim England Talent Development Officer for diving, said: “We are glad to be involved in the planning process and we are looking forward to helping inspire the future generations of our sports.

“Leon has been a fantastic role model for all our young divers and we hope that this work with Team England Futures will help the athletes on their journey to success.”

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