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Water polo coach Simon Tomlinson selected for UK Coaching programme

Simon Tomlinson says he hopes to fulfil his ‘passion’ for water polo after being selected for UK Coaching’s Performance Foundation Coach Support Programme.

After enjoying a successful playing career at national and international level, Simon turned to coaching when his two daughters joined Taunton Deane.

Over the last 10 years, he has progressed through the ranks to become head coach of Swim England South West’s 2003 girls.

He also leads England’s 2003 girls, as well as being assistant coach of England’s 2004 girls and head coach of Exeter Ladies.

During the 18-month programme, Tomlinson will receive one-to-one support from UK Coaching.

He said: “I applied to further my development and learn from like-minded people, bounce ideas off each other and learn from their experiences.

“I’ve always been one of those people who has lived and breathed it. It’s always been my passion and only later in life did I think I wanted to go into coaching.

“I made my own pathway. It’s the classic scenario of making things happen yourself, putting yourself out there and making yourself available.

“I love it. It is my life really and I’m fortunate that I have a very supportive wife who is involved as well.”

‘My ultimate goal’

Tomlinson will also work with coaches from other sports, potentially including athletics, cycling and gymnastics, to share ideas about high performance.

City of Sheffield coach Chris Motley was selected for the programme in 2019 and Tomlinson hopes to use the experience to realise his career ambitions.

He said: “My ultimate goal is to take one of these squads all the way through to European Championships.

“I’d like to go with the 2004 squad to the European Championships in 2021 and then be head coach for the 2003 squad in 2022.

“I really enjoy the team spirit that comes with it and getting a group of players that really get on well and enjoy playing together. They ultimately perform well because they gel well as a team.

“That’s the bit I really get the most out of.”

Nick Levett, UK Coaching’s Head of Coaching Nick Levett, said: “We are excited to welcome this new batch of coaches onto our programme, the aim of which is to provide talent coaches with outstanding coach support.

“At UK Coaching, we are here for the coach, so I am proud that this piece of work is helping some of the UK’s most promising coaches feel more confident and competent in their abilities to help our very best athletes achieve their goals and ambitions.

Once again, it is pleasing to have such a variety of coaches from different sports on the programme.”   

Seven swimming coaches and five diving coaches have also been selected for the Coach Support Programme.