Diving Coach Figueiredo And Marshall Start UK Sport Programme To Boost Female Leadership

Adam Peaty, Mel Marshall and Luke Greenbank: Photo Courtesy: Mel Marshall

Mel Marshall and Jane Figueiredo – coaches to Adam Peaty and diver Tom Daley respectively – today marked the start of a new UK Sport leadership programme seeking to more than double female representation across the Olympic and Paralympic high-performance community by Paris 2024.

UK Sport announced in November that Marshall would be one of six women heading the leadership initiative with Figueiredo one of a further two coaches selected to the six-month project, providing key support and development opportunities for the next, aspiring generation of elite coaching staff.

Marshall has stellar credentials having begun her coaching career at City of Derby following her retirement from competition in 2008.

It was there she met a 14-year-old Peaty and the rest is history – Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth titles plus world records over 50 and 100br all in the armoury.


Photo Courtesy: Mine Kasapoglu / ISL

Marshall, now the Lead Coach at the National Centre Loughborough, is also coach to Luke Greenbank who won bronze in the 200 back at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju before leading off the 4x100m medley relay that won gold as Duncan Scott produced the second-fastest split in history on the anchor leg.

Both Peaty and Greenbank were pre-selected to Team GB for the Tokyo Olympics and Marshall will now pass on her guidance to climbing coach Leah Crane, Monica Greenwood in cycling, Sarah Kelleher in hockey and athletics coach Coral Nourrice.

Marshall had said on being appointed to the leadership role in November:

It’s important that people see what is possible and I am honoured to be part of this project with UK Sport and with a group of extremely successful female coaches from across the Olympic and Paralympic environment.

“We have to talk about opportunities for women in high-performance coaching and we shouldn’t be afraid to have those conversations, talk about our ambitions and challenge those not supporting them.

“UK Sport are leading the way on this through their ambition and I am extremely excited to be a part of the project and am looking forward to sharing my knowledge and experiences with up-and-coming coaches as well as everyone else involved.”

Figueiredo has guided Daley to Olympic and world medals since the pair first collaborated in 2014 and the High Performance Centre head coach is passionate about mentoring women in sport, saying:

“I’m so humbled and honoured to be a part of this UK Sport leadership programme, aiming to add increasing representation of female coaches in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“It speaks to my passion for mentoring and helping female coaches, in all sports, realise their dreams of coaching at the highest levels.

“I can’t wait to have a positive influence with the female coaches and share my knowledge and experience with them, so they may someday be at the top of their profession.”

Tom Daley and Grace Reid after winning 3mtr Synchro in London

Tom Daley and Grace Reid after winning 3mtr Synchro in London; Photo Courtesy: British Swimming

Figuiredo will guide Christine Bloomfield-Harrison (athletics), Jody Kime (artistic gymnastics) and Lisa Letchford (hockey).

Danielle Brayson, who is assistant performance coach at City of Glasgow Swim Team and oversaw Louis Lawlor’s efforts to claim S14 100m Backstroke bronze on his World Para-Swimming Championships debut in 2019, will be mentored by British Triathlon’s lead paratriathlon coach, Bex Milnes.

Brayson said:

“It’s a real privilege to be on the programme. I strongly believe that female coaches can have a big role on the world stage, and I’m looking forward to challenging boundaries, including my own, and learning from some outstanding role models and mentors across a number of sports.

“This is an exciting opportunity for me and I can’t wait to get started.”

Edinburgh Diving Club’s performance coach Jen Leeming will work under the guidance of judo’s Kate Howey.

Leeming counts European medallist James Heatly and FINA Grand Prix medal-winning duo Gemma McArthur and Lucas Thomson among her current athletes, having coached Grace Reid to Rio 2016, the Scottish diver now working with Figueiredo.

For Leeming, the opportunity to experience perspectives from other sporting disciplines is one she hopes to learn from.

“I’m delighted to have been picked for this female coaches leadership programme. I think it’s great that UK Sport are looking at ways to increase the number of women working in high performance sport,” said Leeming.

“I’m very excited about working with my assigned coach, Kate Howey from British Judo. I hope to get an insight into other sporting environments and cultures, and to challenge my beliefs and practices along the way.”


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