London Aquatic Center To House High Performance Program; Lisa Bates Tapped As Coach

LONDON, England, June 3. THE London Aquatic Center, the site of the 2012 Olympic swimming and diving competitions, will be the home of a new high performance training group that will be led by rising coach Lisa Bates.

Bates is currently working at the Middlesbrough Swimming Club, but will start her new job as head coach of the London Aquatics Center Performance Program on September 1. Bates will take the summer to search for worthy athletes to join the new group, but one has already been selected.

Aimee Willmott, a member of Great Britain’s 2012 Olympic team currently training with Bates in Middlesbrough, will follow her coach to London in the fall. Willmott is preparing for the Commonwealth Games.

Since the Olympic Games, the London Aquatic Center has undergone a retrofit that removed most of the spectator seating and replaced them with windows. Other than that, the deck and pool configurations have remained largely untouched. The pool has not featured a major swimming competition since the Paralympic Games.

Full press release from the ASA:

Lisa Bates has been appointed Head Coach of the new London Aquatics Centre Performance Programme for swimming.

Based at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, Bates will deliver tailored coaching programmes for high performance swimmers and create a clearly defined pathway to support swimmers from across the region to develop their potential.

Currently Director of Swimming and National Performance Coach at Middlesbrough Swimming Club, Bates brings a wealth of experience working with junior and senior athletes.

Commenting on her appointment Bates said: “The London Aquatics Centre was built with performance in mind and we saw the very best athletes compete here in 2012. History runs through the whole park and to be part of this moving forward is extremely exciting.

“To have the chance to nurture our nation’s talent in our home Olympic pool, the best facility in the country, is a privilege.”

The London Aquatics Centre Performance Programme has been developed through a partnership between the ASA, Sport England, LLDC, GLL, University of East London and London Swimming.

It will link local swimming Clubs to a high performance programme, maximising opportunities for swimmers and creating a recognised pathway within local London boroughs and the wider area.

Bates will work in partnership with the GLL Learn to Swim programme, swimming clubs, schools, colleges and local universities to identify swimmers to join the programme.

Through tailored coaching, Bates will work with these athletes to develop them towards international representation and podium success.

The programme will be further enhanced through the relationship with the University of East London who will offer sports scholarships to high level swimmers and provision of sport science and athlete conditioning services, whilst also overseeing the operational management of the programme.

The programme has already attracted high level performance swimmers such as British Champion and European medallist Aimee Willmott who will move to the programme following the Commonwealth Games.

Karen West Head of Sport and Health, London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “We have always been committed to delivering a legacy Performance Programme at the London Aquatics Centre and we are very excited about this new appointment. This will strengthen swimming in London and we look forward to working with our partners to develop more talented athletes in such a prestigious world class venue.”

GLL’s Deputy Managing Director, Peter Bundey, said: “As operators of the London Aquatics Centre we are delighted to be working with Lisa Bates to deliver the Swimming Performance Programme. Her wealth of experience will be integral in delivering a legacy programme that will create a step change for competitive swimming in East London.

“As a Charitable Social Enterprise, GLL will be working with the performance programme by creating a talent pathway from the Learn to Swim programme and prioritising pool time to ensure its development at the London Aquatics Centre.”

David Cosford, Director of Sport at the University of East London, said: “We are incredibly excited about the future of high performance swimming in London and look forward to supporting Lisa in her role as Head Coach to make this one of the best programmes in the UK.

“As a University we invest a great deal in supporting high performance sport and our involvement in the London Aquatics Centre Performance Programme will ensure top level swimmers can maintain their studies whilst training as an elite athlete.”

Bates began her career as a National Age Group Coach under international coach Dave Legge. She later led the University of Bath’s Youth Programme where she successfully built on its reputation.

In 2011 Bates moved to Middlesbrough where she coached Willmott to the London 2012 Olympics. She continues to coach the 21-year old who broke the English 400m Individual Medley record and won four medals, including two golds, at the British Championships earlier this year.

Bates will begin her new role as Head Coach on 1 September 2014 and will be joined in London by Willmott. The full London Aquatics Centre Performance Programme will roll out from October 2014.

The world class London Aquatics Centre was opened to the public in February 2014 and houses two 50m pools as well as diving pool with boards and platforms up to 10m.

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Author: Jeff Commings

Jeff Commings is the Senior Writer for and Swimming World Magazine. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism and was a nine-time NCAA All-American.

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