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British Swimming Looking to the Future -- May 25, 2005

LONDON, May 25. THE future of British Swimming appears to be healthy, as a developmental system for younger swimmers has been identified. The program is designed to provide positive results at the 2012 Olympic Games and beyond.

The design calls for the identification of standout youngsters and their placement in a system that would allow them to move from Britain’s Age Group Program, to its Youth Initiative and, eventually, into the Senior Program. The Age Group program features females from 11-13 years old and males from 11-14. The Youth Initiative includes females 14-17 and males 15-18.

"We looked at the situation 12 months ago and weren't happy with the world rankings of our youth swimmers," said National Performance Director Bill Sweetenham, "However, we felt we were doing everything we possibly could to support that level.

“It was determined the problem wasn't with the youth section it was, in fact, in getting people through the Age Group program. The youth scheme was running very well but there wasn't a flow of athletes to it from the Age Group set up. We discovered a real lack of male swimmers coming through, especially sprinters."

Tim Jones will lead the program and will work alongside Jodi Cossor, the Sports Science Manager, and Chelsea Warr, a talent evaluator. Bill Pilczuk, a former American sprint sensation, will work with the male sprinters.

"The team will evaluate the program across three categories," said Sweetenham. "The skills of an athlete will be monitored as will the overall development of the swimmer. This will include coaching strategies, self-management, nutrition and other elements, and finally they will look and monitor the performances of the athlete.”

British Swimming’s Senior Program has also undergone changes, as Ian Turner was named the head coach. Sean Kelly has been tabbed as men’s coach and Ben Titley is women’s coach. Dave Champion is expected to help with the sprints.

"The swimmers are being given four years to prepare for the Olympics rather than a four month preparation," said Sweetenham. "The coaches themselves will be exposed to a wide variety of environments on all teams between now and the Olympics to ensure, come Beijing, we have an outstanding group of coaches underpinned by a wealth of experience."